Local Heroes

How French restaurant Sweet Time saved its business with virtual brands

June 15, 2021

“Thanks to the excellent relationship I had with Jean (Otter Sales Executive), we created 4 virtual brands which allowed us to increase our turnover and receive all our orders on a single tablet.”

At Sweet Time, obsession with customer experience can be measured in kilos of chicken meat. Mickaël, one of the French restaurant founders, ate 4 kilos of chicken thighs in just a week to find the perfect marinade. “We make sure to try absolutely everything we put on the menu. We keep what works and learn from what doesn't.”

This dedication is reflected in their hundreds of reviews. With 4.9 stars on Google, the customer feedback speaks for itself: “Remarkable quality,” "Nice discovery," Superb taste, and “5 stars are the minimum for this restaurant” represent only a fraction of the restaurant’s positive reviews. Many customers also complimented Sweet Time’s homemade burgers and customer-first environment. In reference to their loyal customer base, Mickaël tells us, “Our top priority is the customer experience, we constantly try to please our customers and can proudly say we have been successful so far in doing so.”

A successful restaurant opened without previous experience

Until a few years ago, Mickaël had no experience in the foodservice business. “I was working in the public service sector. For eighteen years, I worked as an activity leader in a recreation centre for children of all ages.” In 2018, he decided to embark on a new adventure with his colleague Bilel, and from there, the idea for Sweet Time was born—a fast-food restaurant located in Saint Maur des Fossés in the southern suburbs of Paris.

“At the very beginning, it was difficult, really difficult.” Over the first months, Mickaël took the advice of his friends in the sector and changed the menu several times until he found the ideal formula. With the concept of "refined fast food,” Sweet Time specializes in homemade burgers and sells smash burgers, poutines, salads, and desserts. The restaurant sets itself apart from competitors by using quality ingredients: "our restaurant offers 100% homemade dishes prepared with fresh products".

Although the lack of experience resulted in a slow start, it allowed the duo to hone their concept and develop a close relationship with their clients. "We took our time and are now developing at a rate which, in the beginning, would have overwhelmed us.” Mickaël went from a single employee to several employees and apprentices. "Now we've reached the point where we can handle it all."

Surviving the COVID-19 Crisis and Finding Out about Otter

It didn't take long for Sweet Time to face its first downturn. In March 2020, COVID-19 hit everyone and struck the restaurant industry especially hard. Like many other restaurants, Sweet Time turned to delivery as its sole source of income. That’s how they started working with Otter.

"I found Otter on Google.” At the time, Mickaël's team was working with several tablets and printers and was about to add more to the list. “One of my printers worked with Deliveroo, but not with Uber Eats. It was a real pain.” Thanks to Otter's Order Manager, Sweet Time can centralize all of its orders and delivery platforms on a single screen.

“Otter's customer service is very responsive and efficient. They always solved my problems.”

Creating virtual brands to save your business

Beyond centralizing orders, what truly convinced Mickaël to join Otter was the appeal of virtual brands. "We had received an email from Uber Eats about this, but I had no idea what it was." Virtual brands are a delivery-only food concept sold exclusively on delivery platforms like UberEats, Deliveroo, etc. A single restaurant can operate multiple brands via digital showcases, all from one kitchen.

With the help of Jean, a Sales Executive at Otter, Sweet Time now runs three virtual brands at its main restaurant: Burger Factory, Poutine & Salad, and Sweet Cake. These brands qualify Sweet Time for more appearances on each delivery platform (three instead of one) and increase orders using the resources they already have: the same space, the same staff, and the same ingredients. Although Sweet Time is small in size, the restaurant now has no problem managing multiple brands, thanks to Otter. “With Otter, everything is simplified: one tablet, one printer.”

Successfully delivering despite commissions

Otter offers delivery channel management and optimization solutions for all types and sizes of restaurants. Our tools bring added value to family establishments, restaurant groups, and national chains. However, we know that not all businesses have the same needs.

At Otter, we’ve learned that small independent restaurants like Sweet Time want to be present on delivery platforms and are looking for a solution to simplify the delivery process. With limited space, capacity, and staff, most restaurants waste time and money dealing with multiple tablets. Otter centralizes all orders from apps like Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo into one single tablet.

Unlike large chains, smaller restaurants have to increase their sales to make a profit due to the high prices of service commissions. When the Otter team starts working with an independent restaurant, we take the time to understand its business in-depth: the issues at stake, the restaurant successes, and the areas in which the restaurant is willing to grow. From there, we build a personalized solution that allows the restaurant to optimize its home delivery operations and increase its sales despite the additional fees.

Otter isn't just an order aggregation solution - it's a plain digital partner. Our goal is to maximize every restaurant’s potential, regardless of its size. In the case of Sweet Time, menu optimization and virtual branding were the best solutions. “Since we started working with Otter two months ago, our turnover tripled,” says Mickaël. "We have no regrets and do recommend it to all restaurants."

"Tell your prospects to come to my restaurant, spend 2 hours on duty with Otter's tablet and printer, I'm sure they'll sign."

How to support Sweet Time

If you are in Saint Maur des Fossés, you can support Sweet Time by ordering your meals through Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and their own home delivery service. What dishes would Mickaël recommend? The homemade burgers (of course), the smash burgers, and the range of poutines.


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