Update: This is a post from July 2016, where we summarised the challenges we faced and how we turned it around by 104% during Ramadan 2016. You may skip the Hari Raya pleasantries and go straight to the meat.
Before we go into today's post, we at Wok It would like to wish all of you - Selamat Hari Raya!
It's never too late to wish someone, Raya kan sebulan? 😉
Considering that it was Ramadan just a few weeks ago, we thought it'd be cool to share our findings for the Ramadan period ( June 6th-July 5th 2016).
It's been awhile since we last posted an Order Analysis post. The last time we did was for January!
It was our first Ramadan since we started operating daily. It was EPIC the last time we opened up during Ramadan at Roast & Grind (now known as Classic Rebel).
We sold 160 boxes in just under 4 hours that night.
But of course, we knew that was probably a one-off thing when we were still a pop-up.
We had high expectations based on this fact, but we knew things might not be the same this time around.
We've heard mixed reviews on how the f&b business is like during Ramadan from a few seasoned people in the business.
The common consensus was, it's usually Boom or Bust during Ramadan.
We were curious and excited to find out ourselves..
The Ramadan Plan Of Attack
We devised a plan together with Grind 22 on what to offer during Ramadan.
The plan was simple, to offer a special combo menu with refillable drinks and a buffet line selection of desserts (kuih melayu, kuih mat salleh, bubur lambuk, etc) - all for RM34.90 only!
We invented two new sides dishes to go with any two of our preselected Wok it box options with the plan to change the menu every week,
On Week 1, we made:
- Salted Egg Fried Rice or Mango Sweet Chilli Noodles
- Salt & Pepper Squid
- Stir Fried Kailan In Our Special Sauce
Enjoy these two sides with our Ramadhan set: 1. Salt & Pepper Squid 2. Stir-Fried Kailan For only RM34.90, you will also get: 1. Salted Egg Fried Rice/Mango Sweet Chilli Noodles 2. Refillable drinks (flavored Iced Tea) - from @grind22bangsar 3. A spread of Yummy desserts Offer valid from 6pm-9pm - Daily! Come through #WokIt #WokItMY #Grind22Bangsar #iftar #bukapuasa #ramadhan
Sounds pretty good right?
Not only that, we decided to close during the day and open at 6PM while extending our closing time to 1AM.
Thinking we'd cater to the sahur seeking dwellers.
We even drew up a plan to best serve every single customer - the most efficiently, even when we get really busy.
We opted not to offer our customisable menu during the period that our Ramadan special is on (6PM-9PM).
Just to ensure that we can deliver the "Wok It Experience" with our new menu - ready for everyone by Maghrib.
Sounds like a fail proof plan, right?
You'd imagine it would be a jolly good makan all night session every single night, right?
It totally tanked,
We had a total sale of..ONE! (Not a typo)
Why It Failed
In analysing what went wrong, we came up with a few conclusions:
- Our product offering didn't bring much value at that price point compared to other players.
- It was in the early days of Ramadan, most people would probably buka at home with family. Prolly Mom/Aunt/Grandma would be cooking something good the first few days.
- We didn't actually have an easily accessible Surau at our premises.
We could really go all day talking about why the plan failed.
The Turning Point..
But one key thing we noticed was..
People were actually asking if they could have the usual Wok It boxes instead.
They were asking on our posts promoting our Ramadan specials even!
That's when we realized, we had totally missed the point!
We weren't sticking to our core - which is to give our customers what THEY want!
It's what our main product is all about - customisable stir fries made the way YOU want it!
We should have stuck to our core rather than being so worried by what other f&b operators were doing.
We then decided to pivot and started focusing on our core once again.
We created a new campaign on Ramadan focusing on our core - making our customisable Wok It boxes available.
To sweeten the deal, we added Free Sides (worth RM5) for every purchase of 2 Wok It boxes.
We completely changed the direction of our Ramadan campaign.
We also analysed the the number of sales we made by extending our operating hours to 1am daily.
The take-up rate at those hours didn't quite justify extending the hours.
Again, we decided to pivot and open at the same time as we normally do - from 12pm to 10pm (1am Fri/Sat).
Can you guess how well we did after?
Our sales increased by a whopping 104%!
Yup, that's NOT a typo either.
It seems clear to us what the major lesson was..
We should always stick to our core - which is giving you what YOU want!
Another thing we learnt was to always trust the data - the data that we had collected ourselves.
Don't just simply act based on what other f&b operators are saying or doing (no matter how experienced they are or seem to be).
Always trust YOUR OWN DATA!
Other f&b operators' experiences, situations or even vision might not always be the same as ours.
The data will speak for itself.
We should be focusing on our customers and what THEY want. The data is what will tells us what they want.
The change in sales just about proves it.
Update: What We're Doing This Year (2017)
This year, we're starting our first delivery service. The late night sahur delivery which goes out at 10pm daily.
- We currently only deliver to places within 10km radius of our shop in Lorong Maarof, Bangsar.
- Delivery charges are: within 5km radius/RM5, 10km radius/RM10,
- Last order is at 8PM and payment by 9PM on delivery day.
- Payment can be made by a simple bank transfer.
What You Ordered During Ramadan
Speaking of data..
Here's an analysis and breakdown of what you guys ordered during Ramadan.
Step 1: Carbs
Considering that it's puasa, it wasn't much of a surprise that White Rice was the top pick at 29%
Sapa tak nak nasi kan? After a whole day of fasting.
In comparison, Noodles was the top pick (31%) and White Rice was fourth (16%) in our last order analysis in January.
However, this trend of White Rice and Noodles being at the top is still continuing now past Ramadan.
Step 2: Proteins
Chicken (35%) and Beef (31%) was the top pick for proteins during Ramadan.
It was Beef and Prawns that used to dominate the top two.
Could it be that Chicken and Beef are or perceived to be more filling than the rest?
While cockles was at an all-time low of only 1% when it used to be around 7%.
Which reminded us of the GoT reference we made about Cockles and Theon Greyjoy in our Wok Tour Analysis.
Step 3: Vegetables
There's not much surprise here, Mushrooms (34%) and Broccoli (28%) continues to dominate the top two picks for Vegetables even during Ramadan.
This trend has been consistent since back when we first started as a mobile kitchen.
Beansprouts has always been the least favourite option while the 3rd and 4th picks may vary between Capsicum or any other veges that we've had on our menu.
What do you guys think? Should we add a new option to our selection of veges?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Step 4: Sauces
Now, it comes to the big showdown - the Sauces!
We have a new winner in Salted Egg (28%) sharing the top spot with an old fave, Mango Sweet Chilli (28%).
It's nice to see that Salted Egg has really caught up in popularity, but we also think the Carbs selection also plays a role when choosing your sauce.
Considering that White Rice was the top pick, it's no surprise that Salted Egg had an edge over the rest.
White/Brown Rice is what we would recommend first when it comes to Salted Egg.
Another fave combo that we've found with Salted Egg was with Kway Teow - who would've thought?
Recommended #WokIt Combo: Salted Egg + Kway Teow
We also added a new sauce Rendang, which fared pretty well at 10%.
That's still more than Dry Curry which has always been the least favourite choice.
Should we remove/replace our Dry Curry sauce?
Share it with us in the comments section below.
We Still Won In The End
Ramadan was truly a journey of self-discovery for us spiritually and in business.
It was a blessed one despite the challenges.
One positive that we could take from this experience was that since we were already planning to offer different selections of sides every week for our Ramadan special combo.
We decided to simply test the recipes anyway despite the fact that we've pulled the plug on our Ramadan Special.
It seems to be a culture now for members of the Wok Squad (that's the people that gives you the Wok It Experience) to be experimenting on new recipes and ideas.
Not only on food, but we've been testing and studying on taking good food photography too!
We would take this new culture over making more sales in Ramadan, any day!
If you're lucky, you might even be a tester on one of those nights that we decide to mess about in the kitchen.
Some of our experiments might also just end up on our menu - permanently!
Have you had the Wok It Experience?
Have you had the "Wok It Experience" in the last 30 days? If yes, we would love to hear your feedback here.