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Footprints restaurant sees a rise in traffic with delivery service app

Making big moves: Footprints Cafe founder, Robert Gordon, says since joining the mobile food delivery service Uber Eats, he has seen exponential sales and business growth.
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One of Brooklyn’s popular Caribbean eatery chains — the famous Footprints Cafe, is seeing a boost in business since joining the food delivery service Uber Eats. The transportation platform, which provides food delivery to ordering customers, is the latest service of choice for patrons looking for quick ready-to-eat meals. The eatery joined the service a year ago to improve the way they serve customers, by giving them more options to receive food at a fast pace, said the chain’s founder.

“We have our delivery drivers but we also wanted better service our customers and wanted to get food to them in real time,” said Robert Gordon.

Originally he was uncertain of making the move, but added that it was a worthwhile action for his patrons and the business.

“I was initially skeptical because we had our own drivers and already a large delivery base, but it was a good decision and I’m ecstatic that we made it because it does work for brand recognition, and overall for our customers,” he said.

Since joining Uber Eats, the app has been responsible for the restaurant seeing more than a million in sales. Some of the most frequently ordered dishes are oxtail, shrimp, and their famed rasta pasta, according to Gordon. He says aside from pulling in more dollars, it has also been a great help in other important areas of business management.

“Being on the Uber platform has been great for us with brand recognition and customer satisfacti­on,” said Gordon. “Our wait times are much faster, we have more reliable service, and the fact we deliver much better product to customers we have less complaints.”

Footprints Cafe has three locations in Brooklyn. Its flagship location is in East Flatbush, and two additional locations in Coney Island and Flatbush — the latter an express version and the site of the most orders through the app, added Gordon.

Aside from Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx are the two boroughs that have also attracted a lot of interest. And weekends are the peak time for orders. But that too is changing. Gordon notes that lunch hours during the week are quickly growing.

The demands brought on by Uber Eats has positively shifted the business model, and now all three Footprints locations have teams dedicated simply for carrying out order requests from customers using the service, said Gordon.

“We’ve definitely had to redirect our labor resources into the Uber station and use less of our own drivers,” said Gordon. “What we’ve had to do is train more people to handle Uber orders and where we cut down on drivers, we’ve added more people in the kitchen.”

Gordon says he will continue to maintain the chain’s own delivery service on a smaller scale for his customers who are not technology savvy, and to handle phone orders. He says this staying on top of new and emerging trends in the food industry is a main concern of his.

“This is important for several reasons because the trend is now transportation, and what Uber Eats does is merge food with transportation — and it’s a perfect marriage because over the years these two industries have had a lot of impact,” he said. “It’s the single most dominant change in the restaurant business and how people eat and access food service. So if you want to grow, you have to adapt.”

Staying true to the customary way of food ordering is still a model Gordon says he will always support, but added that the only way for business growth is through adaptation.

“There’s nothing wrong with staying traditional but you definitely have to go the best way, and that’s the direction the industry going,” he said.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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