Cate Triendl

Feb 28, 2023


32 min read

How To Drive Footfall Into Your Restaurant | Patrick Clover

How To Drive Footfall Into Your Restaurant | Patrick Clover

Tune into this exclusive podcast with our founder Patrick Clover and Chris Fletcher from Tech on Toast to find out how clever hospitality tech can help you drive more people through your door this year.

Topics covered in the chat:

01:06 – Stampede Intro

06:25 – The current state of customer retention in the hospitality industry

12:04 – The drawbacks of disconnected and disjointed customer data

15:52 – Brickhouse London & The Kitchin Group marketing campaign examples with results

22:51 – How to better gather feedback and keep control over reviews

28:35 – Unlocking the power of personalised marketing through data and the right tools

34:47 Patrick’s view on the evergreen problems in the hospitality industry


Chris Fletcher: Hello and welcome to the next episode of Tech on Toast. And this week we are very happy to be joined by Patrick Clover, founder of Stampede. Patrick, how are you?

Patrick Clover: I’m very good, thanks, Chris. How are you?

Chris: I’m all right. Not everyone asks me that. You’re very kind. So thank you. I’m very good. And where are you, Patrick? Because I always like to ask that to start. I’m based in Wales. And you are?

Patrick: So we are based in Edinburgh. At the moment I’m working from home but the office is in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Chris: Lovely place to be. If you haven’t been there, you should visit. It is a beautiful city. So before we get into it, tell us a little bit about you and how you’ve gotten to this point.

Patrick: So I’m Patrick, the founder at Stampede and I guess I’m a natural problem solver and I’d probably describe myself as a hardcore technologist. 

I love good experiences with technology, and I get so infuriated when I have bad experiences with technology. And I think the problem-solver part of me sees those things and says “there must be a better way of doing that.” 

So applying technology to solve real-world problems and it’s actually quite a stressful mindset to have, to be honest, because it kind of spans everything that I do.

Chris: I’m already thinking about your life, it must be exhausting because you’re constantly iterating, right? You’re constantly thinking: I need to change that.

Patrick: Totally. Or like, that thing could be better or there’s an opportunity here. So I guess just to give you a bit of the why. 

About nine years ago I was working for a company that was installing WiFi networks. It was an IT company and lots of our customers at the time were saying we want to use this free WiFi network to be able to collect customer data. And there wasn’t really anything that I was happy with, given what I just said that worked well enough. So we did try various things that were out there but most of them had a really poor customer experience. 

They seem to be very tech-focused. They wouldn’t recognise customers if they visited twice. The user experience was pretty weak and some of this technology still exists today in the airports, for example, and the whole process is pretty cumbersome and it just seemed like there’s got to be a better way of doing this. The upside was so massive because of how many people use those services. 

So I kind of pitched this idea to my boss at the time, and he said “That’s insane. That’s not our business. We basically fit boxes.” And so like three months after that, I quit my job and sort of started working on a prototype and built something and then just started pitching it to local businesses in Edinburgh. 

Funnily enough, just by chance and I learnt this recently, Edinburgh has got three times the number of hospitality businesses per capita than any other city in the UK, including London. So if one was to start a business selling into hospitality, Edinburgh is not the worst place to do that. For the first sort of three months, I was knocking on doors, just saying “This is what you’re doing at the moment…; this is how I think could be improved…” And I guess was quite successful in doing that. The product sort of spoke for itself and we then started to onboard a significant number of customers. 

Then we created this, I guess, second-order problem. Which was, we were now collecting loads of really great, rich customer data for customers but they didn’t really know what to do with it. That led to, I guess, what Stampede is, seven years on today. Stampede is a full-service platform for any tech that interacts with customers on the venue’s behalf. So bookings, WiFi, loyalty, reviews, gift cards, you name it. 

The reason that there are so many things there is that I’ve just been pretty frustrated with the offerings that exist out there. I thought there has to be a better way. This should be simpler for operators because at the moment you walk into a venue and you’re not recognised, even if you go there once a week. The front-of-house staff is always changing. So you’re always treated like a stranger. I guess in an ideal world, hospitality is: you walk in there and they’re like, “hey Patrick, welcome back.”

Chris: Yeah, it’s the ‘Cheers’ mentality. In Boston in every corner bar, they recognise you. You walk in, your beer flies down the bar.

Patrick: And so I think there’s this amazing opportunity for technology to enable that type of experience and not get in the way of operations. You know: the day-to-day stuff where it can just sort of work in the background and deliver an exceptional amount of value while allowing businesses to focus on what great hospitality looks like. So I guess that’s why we exist and a little bit about me.

Chris: I think it’s lovely. I’m just picturing everybody listening, packing their bags and moving to Edinburgh. Now, you’ve told them that. And I think QikServe is also based in Edinburgh?

Patrick: That’s right.

Chris: Daniel is up there and I think it’s interesting. It’s a great city and you’re right and I think you’re not on your own up there. But it is quite interesting that you can have a really good go at what you’re doing and get a good picture of what success looks like. It’s a great idea. They’ll all be on their way up on the train from London. 

You talked very briefly about that but customer retention and actually the golden goose of hospitality these days is gaining a new customer or keeping an old one. Gaining one takes a long time to do but losing one’s really quick, right? It’s really easy to upset people. 

How is Stampede supporting that? You did briefly explain it there, but just expand a little bit on how you guys can help support retention.

Patrick: So I think a large part of retention is just about the first-order problem: Do operators have visibility of their retention metrics? So retention is a problem in any business, by the way, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a hospitality business.

Chris: It’s an evergreen problem as well, I think.

Patrick: Yeah, totally. So it’s obviously more cost-effective to retain your existing customers rather than acquire new ones. And I think that is a truth that exists across the board. If you had to look at industries that I would say are more tech literate like SaaS or e-commerce, the retention tools that exist are phenomenal. 

For example: you can pull a report, we have it for our business where we can look at attrition over a period of months. We might say, what’s our attrition like this month versus last month or this year versus last year? And it will map out a whole cohort of this is what the customer behaviour is telling us. This is I guess when your retention points really matter. So that might be if you’ve got loads of customers coming in January. At what month do those customers start dropping out? What month do they stop visiting more often? 

So I guess the first thing that we do is we give that type of reporting to all of our customers. No matter if they’re a single site operator or they’re operating 100 units. The numbers are really interesting just on that.  I think once you have that set of customer data, you can then effectively deploy it. You have the insight to be able to deploy strategies to say, using the January example, we’ve got loads of new customers coming in January, but only 2% of them are coming in the month after. Then there’s a drop-off that says 0.1% of them are coming in the month after that and then you effectively never see them again. 

There’s really a time window. If that set of metrics is true for your business let’s do whatever we can to get them coming back in and then let’s look at whether that’s being successful or not. What we’re doing to help is we’re giving all venues the ability to see that set of data, and then we’re also giving them the tools. Retention tools to be able to say if your retention metric is below 2%, then send someone this email or whatever it is, send them an SMS or incentivise them to come back in. But on an individual basis. So really trying to help with a behavioural change rather than a business-as-usual type of environment.

Chris: Yeah, the old bounce back or the 2-4-1 or whatever before tech. I’m old when I used to be an operator that’s the kind of thing we would use but I think we’re still using that. But it’s in a digital fashion, right? So it’s much more interesting. 

You were going to mention numbers, but you call back from it. Can you give me an idea of the results around the January thing?

Patrick: So one of the things that we knew was going to happen, to be honest, because we’ve been doing this for a while. And the data is pretty true on an aggregate scale is that December in hospitality is exceptionally busy. Retention in January, February, and March is exceptionally weak, and then it starts to pick up again. 

One of the things that we see is that in January you have lots of new customers and repeat customers, which is great. But then, I can’t remember exactly what it is off the top of my head, but about 5% of them come back the year later. The window in between is I would say almost non-existent. Everybody should be creating campaigns to say, if we’ve seen someone in December, here’s a strategy over the next six months or here’s a workflow of emails, text messages or whatever the campaign is, to be able to drive those people back in. 

To make that behavioural change happen, at the moment it’s almost like business as usual. Seasonality is the status quo but people aren’t really doing a huge amount to buck that trend. And I think that I empathise with the challenges because we obviously speak to operators on a daily basis and December is all hell breaker and they are “all leave me alone”, you don’t want to do anything. I totally appreciate that but that is absolutely the time when all of those things should be engineered. 

It’s obviously a bit late talking about this now because we’ve got another x months to go but those trends kind of exists throughout seasonal events in the year. And you see a large amount of footfall going out and then the drop-off kind of happens naturally. So I think it’s about trying to engineer that data in a way that will change people’s behaviours. I don’t think that’s necessarily about offering huge discounts, 2-4-1 or anything. It’s more just about saying, hey, we’re here, this is what we’re doing this month to a subset of people that could be retained that currently aren’t.

Chris: One of my questions is about connecting the data because you’re gathering lots of data, which is a fantastic thing. If you can use it and if you use it properly and if it’s, I think you use the word rich before, about rich data. So is it valuable? 

I mean, how hard is that to do to actually then once you’ve gathered all of this data and then segment it and market to it properly?

Patrick: So I would say extremely difficult because data exists in these silos and we have this problem in our business as well. I think it’s true of every business where there are these pots of data that might be invaluable or might tell you something when added to another set of data that you couldn’t have come up with if the two things weren’t joined.

I think that’s one of the problems that exist, it’s like a 21st-century problem. Everybody’s been creating these tools to solve an individual-specific problem. I don’t know, for SaaS businesses, Calendly is a great example. It solves the problem of booking in time with someone. 

In hospitality, there are loads of solutions for tipping, ordering, and marketing. So it might be you’re using MailChimp for marketing, you’re using, I don’t know, something for sign-up forms, trying not to name names. You’re using something for ticketing but all of these bits of data kind of exist in different places. 

Piecing them all together is it almost becomes like a data science project and the resource that exists within hospitality doesn’t support that type of activity or talent. I guess just because, the salary of a data scientist could go from £300k to £500k for a hospitality operator, probably unless you’re in the thousands of units, it’s just out of the question. So I think in answer to the problem, connecting the data is exceptionally hard. And also when they’re all from different places, it becomes stale as soon as it gets passed over. So unless there’s a constant two-way sync…

Chris: I think someone called it a single-customer view. That was a great way of really looking at it. All in one place. All connected on the same customer journey rather than having, as you say, dipping in and out of different products potentially or different SaaS products. That was the way it was described to me.

Patrick: Yes. So that’s exactly how for the initiated person, how I’d say what we do works. So if someone’s using our marketing platform, booking platform, WiFi platform, reviews platform, all of that stuff is vertically integrated. 

So if you’re sending out an email about bookings, we can then track conversion on the number of bookings, on footfall generated, on retention cohorts or the number of reviews left. So all of that stuff comes for free effectively. There is no interconnect between any of these different systems. Obviously, we do have third-party integrations but naturally, we prefer our first-party ones. 

I would caveat that there are some exceptionally good software platforms within hospitality. There’s a product called TOGGLE which I would describe as one of those platforms. If someone was to say, are we going to use our gift cards over theirs, I would say, let’s use theirs all day, every day because it’s an exceptionally good platform. I think, unfortunately, there are few examples of where that is true. So that’s why we offer all of those various things.

Chris: No, that’s great. I brought up 2-4-1’s which most operators would be wincing at. You must get involved in quite a lot of campaigns or help design. 

Do you help design campaigns or how does that work? And give me some examples, I suppose, of good and bad without naming and shaming.

Patrick: Yeah. Well, I’ll focus on the good I think. Just to keep it nice and upbeat. We’ve got a campaign manager that’s customer-facing. If some of our customers, in December for example, are just too busy to run these types of promotions, we’ll proactively reach out and say “based on the data that we’ve got within the platform, these are some things that we think could work really well.“

We’ll basically provide the template, and the customer list and all we need is the approval from the customer to try and make that really slick. For customers that were using something like MailChimp, using our platform is a really great alternative so they can build out their own weird and wonderful campaigns, and any designs they want. It takes a few minutes and then they hit send on it. 

We’ve got a customer called Brickhouse that’s in Southend and they’re a really great use case for us. I’m going to give two contrasting campaign examples here. It’s casual dining type of food and every Monday to Thursday, they run a meal deal, which is a burger wrap, fries and a drink for £9.95. The email is really simple. It’s got this gif that kind of flashes and it’s like £9.95. Here’s an example of these three things and then the call to action is ‘book now’. 

From that campaign, which gets sent out once a week, they’re seeing an additional £10,000 worth of visit ROI. A number of people that we’ve tracked into the venue that wouldn’t have come into the venue had they not received that campaign, did then come in. Quite elaborate. And so they also get 106 extra bookings from that week.

Chris: Just put that on your website. That’ll do! 

I’m a restaurant guy who loves tech. It’s not the other way around and I find it riveting. I find it so interesting that the golden goose, as I call it before, is finding that new customer. Getting a new customer is absolute gold because if once you get them, you can do a great job, you can keep them right? And regardless of frequency, they’re yours for a while. 

Just being able to give that example of driving revenue through what you do, through clever campaigns. Is it a bit of discipline around marketing and a bit of discipline around the way you behave around your customer data? Because I suppose rhythm and everything like that is quite key, right?

Patrick: Yeah, I think so. And I think that people get into the flow of things, don’t they? And people don’t like change and so you do what you’ve always done because that’s the thing that you do. If what you do is you take a CSV from one place, you upload it into another, and your job for the week is to send out an email on a Friday. You do the things that you need to do in order to make that happen. Even even if it’s only tracking email, opens, clicks and number of sends. Which is the reality for I would say, 95% of operators. 

So yeah, I think that all of those things, ok fine, there’s a hygiene factor there. But actually, the thing that matters is: how many extra bookings are you getting? And how many people are coming back into the venue? And ideally, are they spending more money with you?

This will be true more and more in the next three years. If you can’t demonstrate those things using a platform, you’ll just get out beaten because the people that can do that, they’ll be able to use that as a lever to say, okay, well, this is what works on a Monday to a Thursday. This is what works on a Friday to a Sunday, using a really empirical data set that you almost like you just can’t argue with.

Chris: I think, as you all know, during the pandemic, a lot of people sold tech and a lot of things appeared and people bought off the shelf just to survive. Just to open and get it, get whatever done. You’re so right as the industry becomes more tech-savvy, as Tech on Toast keeps educating people and explaining more and more about products. People actually will start to understand that there are better ways of doing things. There are slicker ways to do anything, and there is a return. There is. I’m guessing people like you don’t waste your time just building stuff for fun, you know? So there is a return on building this stuff.

Patrick: Yeah, definitely. Everything that we do is centred on ROI. So when someone’s logging in to the platform, we’re constantly like, this is how everything’s performing. Here are some suggestions on how we think things could be better. And if a customer isn’t seeing I would say a 1 to 10 ROI In terms of how much they’re paying us versus how much we’re generating back, then we’re failing. We rarely lose customers for that reason which is obviously great. I’m going to give just another example here.

Chris: I interrupted you. I apologise.

Patrick: No problem. So this is like a polar opposite customer, which is the Kitchin Group. A Michelin star group of restaurants run by Tom Kitchin. So their customer is worth, going back to the previous example, the average customer value in that example is about £18. On the Tom Kitchin side, it’s ten times higher. So about £180 to £220. 

So they send out campaigns and the style of their campaigns is obviously very different and the content is very different. It’s more about talking about the experience. What specials they’ve got on their a la carte menu, what they’ve got in their tasting menu. So things that are aspirational that people see and they’re like ‘oh god, I’d really like to try that new thing or I’ve never seen that done before.’ For their campaigns, they generate a similar amount of ROI but the number of people that actually come back in is far less. For their campaign that they send out talking about the new tasting menu that generated about £11,000 worth of ROI within a week. So yeah, really great and that represents about 100, 200 people actually coming back into the venue. 

Chris: Wow. I’m blown away, actually. I do a lot of these chats, I suppose I should dig deeper. When I’m talking to people it’s great to hear that obviously most create a return on what they’re doing, but it’s really interesting to hear actual metrics around it. It’s cool.

And what about that then? So you’re gathering all this data, you’re assisting with campaigns and you’re gathering feedback, I presume as well, from customers. How does that all wrap up too, I suppose, to improve overall operations or customer engagement or one of those big tick boxes?

Patrick: Yeah. So on the feedback side, I think that there’s a predatory side to hospitality. I guess I would say that they’re big tech providers, right? I don’t mind naming these people because, you know, they are the true enemy, I would say. So talking about Google, Meta probably categorise Tripadvisor where the incentives that they have aren’t necessarily aligned with the customer in the same way that the customer thinks they are. 

So, you know, they’re creating these two-sided marketplaces and it’s what they’ve always done. Their incentive is actually to retain that customer for themselves, even if they were driven initially by the operator venue. I’m not saying to boycott those things. There’s obviously a place for them. What they’ve done is effectively taken away control from the operator, being able to have conversations and being able to have relationships with their customers directly. 

So I think on the reputational side if you go to… Let’s use a nightclub as an example because this is where we see a lot of great reviews coming in. If you go to a nightclub and you get kicked out for being drunk and disorderly, maybe, I don’t know. Maybe you’ve had a bad week before. Everyone’s been there. Everybody’s got a vice. And so you get kicked out and you think, oh god, I’m going to go onto Tripadvisor and I’m going to say this place is terrible for X, Y, Z reason. 

That exists out there on the Internet and it brings down the review score of that business. So for any new customers that are using those discovery platforms, they see that and it’s not necessarily representative of the type of experience that that business is trying to create and that can be detrimental to that operator’s ability to get new customers, or to be the place that people want to go.

Chris: It can be really circumstantial, right? That feedback can be really based on one, well, it is based on one experience by one person.

Patrick: Totally. The way that our platform works is we proactively ask everybody that’s been in the venue how their time was, simply 1 to 5 stars. It’s not a survey that’s like, tell me how well cooked your steak was. Tell me how the air conditioning was, you know, filling out your life history. It’s really to get a sentiment of how well the business is performing. 

A customer basically can go on to that if they leave the business because they were kicked out or whatever, they can go on and vent their anger. The feedback goes straight to the the GM that was working whatever night that was. Then they can decide how they want to respond rather than the new customers seeing that as an example of how they treat customers. So it might be that they reply by saying: “Look, really sorry that you had a bad night, but we’d love to see you again. For whatever reason, we’ve had a chat internally and you know, we either were too heavy-handed” or, you know, whatever the example might be. But it really gives the ability for operators to create that type of dialogue that I really think is necessary.

Chris: That’s what would happen at a table. For instance, if you’re having a complaint within a business, you’d have a two-way conversation, hopefully with the manager and fix it.

Patrick: 100%! And that happens all the time with hospitality, which is great. You’re at your table, then they’re coming over. “Is everything okay? Can I get you anything else?” But for some reason, when people leave, it’s like, we’ll give that capability to someone else that we don’t speak to. It might be Google, Tripadvisor, or Facebook, and it’s kind of crazy.

Anyway, we have that platform, and we generate about 8,000 bits of feedback a day. And then again, we created this second-order problem, which is there’s too much feedback to go through here. So we run all of the texts that get submitted through some pretty sophisticated machine-learning technologies. 

What it does on the output side is it basically spits out, “Here are things that you’re doing exceptionally well based on sentiment.” It might be that people are talking really positively about your ‘coffee’, ‘service’, ‘tables’ but they’re having a really bad time with the, I don’t know, ‘Guinness’, ‘heating’. It will call out what areas the business needs to improve on and then all of that stuff gets tracked over time. If the GM of the business, you could look at this within 5 seconds, you’d be able to say, okay, well, here are our priorities for the next three months: “We need to work on our speed, on our Guinness and on our service maybe.”

Chris: I love the fact you went down Guinness. But what’s interesting is that it’s personal, right? And hospitality, I always say, is a very personal business. There’s a lot of emotion involved there’s a lot of experience you mentioned as well, which is heavily part of what we do. But personalisation in marketing and actually in engaging feedback and then segmenting has become absolutely huge. 

You look at the monsters of McDonald’s and the fact that they’re scanning my number plate and telling me what my four-year-old wants to have for breakfast, breakfast sounds really bad. I don’t take them there for breakfast hah! But you know, they know what I want before I arrive and it’s really clever. 

How much are you incorporating that into Stampede and how important is that? I suppose, for the future of hospitality in terms of the way we personalise marketing and segmentation?

Patrick: I think personalisation is massive. We’ve got a CRM section of the platform which has got a pretty sophisticated segment builder. So, there are probably a million combinations that you could create. But as simple as “I want to create a segment of people who have spoken negatively about the business but have visited ten times before.” You could take that segment of customer data and you might want to send them an automated email saying like “This is a priority-one issue for the business” because there’s a really loyal customer here that, for whatever reason, had a really bad time. 

You could ping a notification for someone internally to deal with it manually, or they could have an automated process which says, “ Your next visit is on us and we want to rectify the problem that we had.” That could be totally automated within the system. 

Our platform is an enabler for all of those types of things. That’s an example on the review side but you might want to use an example on the WiFi side. We have the ability for people to do personalisation through a Tinder-style swipe left and swipe right tool. I don’t know if you have to use Tinder Chris?

Chris: No, not much anymore. No haha.

Patrick: Are you familiar with the mechanic?

Chris: I’m familiar with Tinder if she’s listening but I haven’t used it for at least 15 years.

Patrick: Okay. So for the uninitiated. How it works is on Tinder you swipe left if you don’t like someone, you swipe right if you do. We’ve taken that and we basically said our customers can create these cards, which might have a picture of a cocktail and say: do you like cocktails? Swipe left for ‘no’ and right for ‘yes’. If they swipe right on that option, we then know that there’s a customer that likes cocktails. That might also be true for: do you like rugby? Do you like Sunday roasts? Or whatever it could be. 

It’s a fun way of doing personalisation. And then all of that data can be used within our marketing platform. It might be that you want to promote a cocktail menu to people that have said they like cocktails and a beer list of people that have said they like beer. 

I think that’s really the way forward. People don’t want to go through a list of checkboxes. These are the things that I like. They want something that’s fun, and engaging, that’s what hospitality is. That’s kind of what we’ve tried to do on the personalisation front. We’ve seen it where people are: “okay if someone’s told us they’re a boy that means they like football.” For me, I hate football. If someone sent me an email about football, I’d be like, I am categorically not going back to that place after principal. They basically showed that they don’t know me and they were trying to push something on me. If that’s the type of people that go there, absolutely fine. But I’m opting out of that process.

Chris: Yeah, it’s kind of lazy marketing right now. I mean, you could argue not even ten years ago that was the way things were done. You know, it was that simple. But now there is the ability to be really accurate in terms of who you target.

Patrick: Totally. I think that there is the ability to be really targeted and it’s frustrating that not many places are doing it. But when you’re on the receiving end of that, you gave the McDonald example, it feels like magic. 

There’s no other way of describing it. Let’s say they have scanned your number plate and they know that you’ve got a child that’s four years old and you go in there for breakfast and they can suggest what you want. OK, invasive maybe but also what an amazing experience.

Chris: I think we experienced it through all the other tech we’re using. If we’re on Amazon and most of us are. I mean, I’m doing 60 to 70% of my shopping for Amazon for anything outside of food, I suppose. And that will probably change in the next five years. They know how we behave, the stuff that pops up in front of my face every day. Probably because I’ve got 17 Alexa in the house, I’m totally open. Everyone knows all about my life!

I think it is brilliant and I know it’s one of the reasons I love tech. I think it’s engaging, it’s enabling, and actually, it’s seamless if they got right and you don’t feel it.

Patrick: I think that’s the thing when it works and it is seamless it feels like magic. That’s the opportunity that I see for our business within hospitality. Certainly over the next three years is to bring that capability that customers now expect to the kind of masses that don’t currently have that functionality. 

So that they can create those magical moments where people go, wow. Even though, they chose obviously through GDPR and whatnot to give that information in the first instance. Ultimately it just creates a much better experience where customers feel known and they receive offers and promotions that are genuinely relevant to them.

Chris: Will you sleep easy then? Will you be happy once you’ve found that? Will your personality change?

Patrick: I think once we’ve solved that problem and got critical mass there, I will sleep easy. Yeah. But at the moment…

Chris: I don’t believe you. You’ll be on to the next thing. 

So you have been, Is it seven years? Eight years? Nine years? That Stampede has been going?

Patrick: Yeah. So we’ve been going for about seven years now.

Chris: I was just saying, you’ve obviously got a lot of experience in the industry. You’re working daily with a lot of brands and actually very different brands, which is quite cool. You’re seeing all the different parts of the sector, which is why most people love hospitality because they can be so different. 

What are the evergreen problems you’re seeing? I suppose on a final note. What things keep coming across your desk? And you’re thinking: “why am I still seeing this?” And then how are you approaching those? We probably discussed a few during the conversation but would be great to know if you see any movement in people learning.

Patrick: So I think the evergreen problems that we see are a lot more around the decision-making process within hospitality operators. Obviously, the bigger they are, the slower they move. I think that isn’t hospitality specific but there is currently a lack of education around tech, specifically within hospitality. 

There are obviously areas that hospitality does really well, like resourcing and menu design, for example. But just in terms of the adoption of the right tech and how that decision-making process is worked out, I think is a problem that existed seven years ago and is still very much a problem today. There are a lot of solutions and systems out there that probably haven’t been updated or maintained in ten years that are still being bought today. I think for those if there are any of those vendors listening like we’re coming for you.

Chris: So aggressive, so quick.

Patrick: Well, you know.

Chris: Friday afternoon, I shouldn’t have done this day, but.

Patrick: It’s been a long week. I think innovation is key. Hospitality venues have always needed to innovate. The vendors of products also need to be aggressively innovating as well so that we can get to that point where we have magical experiences [when] going out. So I’d say that that’s the first one. 

Another evergreen problem is the reliance on, we spoke a bit about it in the past, the reliance on third-party data or third-party platforms. Those two-sided marketplaces which have a really low barrier to entry but a really high difficulty to wean off. If you’re starting a new venue, there should be a strategy to go from relying on those maybe for your initial 10,000 customers to then having a strategy that says this is how we’re going to get off whatever that two-sided marketplace might be. It’s a real fight that’s happening in the background with tech specifically, a fight for control of that customer that’s visiting. 

Hopefully, three years from now, we will be in a world where that control exists 100% for the venue and the venue operators. It’s a problem that has existed for seven years and is still very much prevalent. Probably Deliveroo is a great example of that. Where they’re in this like the dichotomy of wanting to serve the customer and the operator and sometimes, yeah, you’re at their mercy, I guess.

Chris: And yeah, they don’t give you the data either. 

Patrick: You also don’t control the levers, right? So you can’t say, “okay, I’m quiet on a Monday, let’s get more orders through Deliveroo” unless you pay them an exorbitant amount of money for a customer that is, in theory, yours anyway.

Chris: It’s really interesting. One of the things we’re doing, we’re starting a thing called road test in the next month where we’re going to road test your tech. For instance on a webinar with a bunch of operators and have some fun with it and do the swipe left, swipe right. I’m trying to change the buying process. I really want people to understand actually that there are different ways to engage with what’s out there. Not just in tech, this could be done for a number of reasons. 

But I’m obsessed with this one and really want to help people, who are in my position I was in not five years ago, understand things better and make the right choice before jumping in; signing a three-year contract and getting down that road and going “Oh my God, what have I done?” And having to redo it all over again. Or the next ops director comes in and has to redo it, whatever it might be. Just to stop that because we have so many evergreen problems in hospitality and there don’t have to be. 

I suppose tech, in a weird way,  has created another one, right? But for the wrong reasons. So yeah, that’s what we’re going to do about it. And I love what you guys are doing. How do people find you if they’re interested?

Patrick: So head to our website Simple as that. That should hopefully describe what we do. Although I like the anecdote of just taking this is what we’ve done for one customer. That should actually just be our homepage.

Chris: Oh, that should just be your front page. You know, literally, if I was an operator and I went on your front page and it said, ‘Do you want £10,000 an extra month’. I’d be like, yes, where do I sign? So yes, that’s some feedback from me. 

Your product is complex in nature you do a lot of things right? But actually what you do is really simple but the results are fantastic. So yeah, there you go. I’m not a web designer. Please don’t take my word for it.

Great. And what about you? Can people stalk you on LinkedIn and find you there?

Patrick: Of course. So yeah. Patrick Clover on LinkedIn. I’m quite active there and I’m very vocal. So if I do have any frustrations with anything or, you know, we’re working on something new, I’ll share that on LinkedIn. Always looking to get engagement from people wherever possible. I’m a guy wearing a spacesuit because we’re on a mission.

Chris: I just want to explain that before you go, because I saw I was working for Deliverect a little bit last summer and they’re also obsessed with rockets and space. What’s your reason?

Patrick: It’s obviously my job within the business to set the tone. I talk about this three years from now. This is what the world should look like. And if we’re not making progress towards that, then we’re not succeeding. There’s a really great inspirational video of J.F. Kennedy talking about the space race. I’ll try and dig it out and I’ll share it.

Chris: I’ll share it in the link in the podcast. Actually, if you wouldn’t mind that’d be great because I agree. It’s fantastic.

Patrick: Yeah, of course. So what he talks about is how because at the time, which was I think in the 60s, there wasn’t the material science to actually be able to move a vehicle at the speed that they needed to in order to hit escape velocity. There weren’t the fuel efficiencies that were able to get people to the moon and back. There obviously wasn’t the technology. Everybody knows that there was a like Nokia 3310 powering most of the Apollo missions. If you were to look at it objectively, you would say this is impossible. 

But actually, this whole talk got people rallied around the fact that we do these hard things with technology and science, not because they’re easy and not because it’s the easy thing to do or the easy path to take. We do them because they are hard and they’re challenging. I think that oftentimes people forget that they revert to whatever the easiest thing that they can be doing is. I really love the notion of we’re doing this thing that seems impossible. 

You know, there are Goliaths out there and we’re very much the David. But we can achieve it through hard work and just like basic problem solving really and iteration. We will get to that point in three years. Perseverance, persistence. When you have a bad day rely on others to pick you up and really strive for better. So that’s why my avatar is a guy in a spacesuit.

Chris:  You’ve just inspired me. I really enjoyed it and actually probably could have done an hour quite easily, but we’re not allowed!

Anyway, very nice to meet you and we’ll see you soon. Actually, you’re on the marketplace if you need to find Patrick and Stampede, go and have a look. You can also review them there. I’m now embarrassed about my reviews because he’s going to be on there looking at the way I do it. So maybe I should have a conversation with Stampede. Thanks very much. Say goodbye.

Patrick: Chris. Bye for now.


Tech on Toast Marketplace

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