Major Tom helps restaurants ditch delivery apps

The agency adds more services to its online store, including a marketplace for consulting services, as part of its pandemic pivot.

Milltown_bar_grillMajor Tom is helping restaurant clients set up their own online ordering system, the latest new service the independent agency has launched to create new avenues to bring in clients during the pandemic.

For the next two months, Major Tom and Dublin-based online ordering system Flipdish are waiving setup costs to onboard new restaurants in Canada and the U.S until July 1.

According to Major Tom founding partner Chris Breikss, restaurant clients appreciate the volume that has been generated by third party delivery apps, but were not happy with the commissions. UberEats charges between 15% and 30% for its commission rate, depending on the services a restaurant is signed up for, such as using their own delivery people. SkipTheDishes charges 20% commission, though it recently extended a relief program to reduce that by 25%. Flipdish charges a 7% commission. Breikss adds that, with third party delivery apps overwhelmed by extra volume, restaurant owners were also frustrated by simple things like being unable to update menu items expediently.

Flipdish can also be integrated with in-restaurant POS systems and Google Analytics, which allows restaurants to “own their data,” and do things like manage marketing campaigns and retarget customers, putting it even more in Major Tom’s area of expertise. Right now, Breikss says, it’s geared to more to the independent restaurants (like Vancouver’s Milltown Bar & Grill, pictured above), but Major Tom has two clients with multiple locations it is talking to about rolling it out.

The service is latest to be added to Tin Can, an online store Major Tom launched on April 1 that sells t-shirts, mugs and backpacks – alongside digital marketing services like mobile app optimizations, RFP consults and health checks for Amazon, Facebook and Google Ads accounts.

Breikss, ChrisBreikss (pictured, left) concedes that Tin Can has not led to as many sales as the agency anticipated, but the effort has still contributed to overall business at a time when many agencies are seeing budgets from clients get slashed or postponed.

“We are seeing pattern of behaviour where people are saying, ‘we don’t need this package, but we do need something custom,’” he says. “It’s also been great tool to showcase our eCommerce capabilities and integration into marketing,” citing the Major Tom-branded apparel and accessories sales the services appear alongside, which acts as something of a demo.

Breikss previously told strategy that 30% of Major Tom’s business was lost or postponed in the first month of the lockdown, and while Tin Can was meant to provide some short-term cash flow, it was also a way to take a look at things that could address some of the issues the agency sector was already facing pre-pandemic.

Also recently added to Tin Can is the Germ Fight Collective, featuring management consulting services curated from partners in Major Tom’s network, such as IT consults from Ook, leadership workshops from Bellrock Benchmarking and recruitment and interviews from Eleven Eleven Talent. It was put together because, while there are many options for retail businesses to move online, “these same needs in the professional services sector have long been overlooked,” Breikss says.

It is curated by a team at Major Tom called Artemis, which meets informally over Slack. According to Breikss, it currently sits at about 16 services but that it doesn’t want to cannibalize its own offerings, so things like remote interviewing and tech consultations have to meet a set of criteria in order to qualify.