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Food For Thought: Internet Bagels Rock

A staple in Newton for over 40 years, Rosenfeld’s Bagels hasn’t changed much since it opened. Oh sure, the interior was redone (once – in 1990). Then, there was the time they upgraded to a touchtone phone. But more importantly, the thing that has not changed at all is their bagel recipe, and the way they make bagels – the very reason Rosenfeld’s has stayed in business so long.

Being reluctant to change doesn’t mean Rosenfeld’s is opposed to change, especially if it benefits the business. After observing a growing throng of younger customers immersed in their phones while purchasing Rosenfeld’s tasty offerings, they realized that having a presence online was now a must.

One of our partners, 108 Degrees, LLC, was already working with Rosenfeld’s to build their online brand through social media, and suggested we step in to handle the website project.

The general manager knew that his competition often had websites that were not engaging or even up to date, which was not his philosophy at all. He wanted to be more than a brochure in cyberspace — he wanted it to be an interactive experience for users, which meant the site needed to evolve.

Once the initial site was launched, FYWN began a monthly website maintenance program of events, updates, blog posts and store information to entice users to come back periodically to see what was new. This effort, coupled with an aggressive social media campaign, soon created strong awareness of with new audiences who had never before experienced their delicious products. This inevitably led to the next progression for the site: online ordering.

Rosenfeld’s had always taken phone orders, but who uses a phone to call anymore? Ironically, they knew that convenience was the key to growing and keeping their customer base, and a (smart)phone represented that convenience – by using it to order through the website!

Creating this ability for included some unique requirements. Where many restaurant websites offer online ordering, orders must be submitted for same day pickup and that’s it. Rosenfeld’s wanted orders to be placed for pickup no earlier than the next day, but also far into the future!

Rosenfeld’s also had a cut-off time for next day orders, and needed the days they were closed disabled for next day pickup. In addition, they had multiple coupons in use with certain time and quantity requirements. All these challenges, plus staying compliant with state, local and federal tax laws, made quite an interesting project.

The team at FYWN met all these challenges and has made the place to go when you want an internet bagel – or challah, tea roll, flavored ring, etc.

The ability to accept online orders has benefited both Rosenfeld’s Bagels and their customers in three important ways:

  1. Efficiency. Unlike phone calls written by hand, orders placed online are printed out and easy to read, minimizing mistakes. Employees feel less pressure while filling the order since the customer is not waiting for it several feet away. And, with the payment already processed, employees can serve each customer more quickly, resulting in more people served and customers spending less time waiting.
  2. Availability. Rosenfeld’s is a bakery — they typically produce their products early in the day and when they’re gone, they’re gone. Customers who order hours or days in advance have the luxury of getting what they want, when they want it — hot and fresh!
  3. Larger Orders. Whether it’s one person being able to privately order or a company rep who is getting breakfast for an upcoming event, people ordering online have usually purchased more items than people who order in the store.

All this sounds great, right? But you’re still wondering: did having an interactive online presence improve business for Rosenfeld’s Bagels? The answer is a resounding YES!

Rosenfeld’s new website and online store provided a user experience that generated exposure to a wider audience such as Gen Xers and Millennials, who otherwise would not have noticed that the shop existed. The shop has seen a marked increase in new customers both online and in the store while still providing convenience to their traditional neighborhood customers who have been coming for generations.

An online presence with the ability to process orders has helped Rosenfeld’s reach new demographics and appear cutting edge. Yet, they’ve been able to maintain their core business model – and increase sales.

With your business, you don’t need to change your model to offer online ordering; selling online can integrate seamlessly with your in-store operations and will benefit your enterprise in many ways. In fact, if you sell products in a store, you absolutely must sell them online. Unless, of course, you’re happy with your current sales volume.

Are you?