Beating the lunch rush
The lunch rush creates a traffic jam every day around 1:30pm. Customers can wait in long lines for up to 20 minutes. An unacceptable duration for what's supposed to be a quick food spot, Lemonis said.
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He suggests they offer discounts between off-peak times like 12:00 to 12:30 or a little bit before 2:00pm to unclog the bottleneck. And they could use an online system for customers to pre-order and pick up their food. Cooks could better prepare for the rush and wait times would diminish.
Smaller menu, bigger margins, more money
Besides selling Takumi Taco during the workweek, the Kaye's also set up outdoor tents at flea markets around Manhattan and Brooklyn on the weekends. The tents' menu lists very few items, yet the menu at the office building's cart has 39 options.
Debbie Kaye wants to keep customers happy, especially the many regulars who eat at the cart. But it's too many options; they should shrink the menu, Lemonis said.
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"I think there's margin expansion if you tighten it up," Lemonis said. "Just look at your sales register. Take out the bottom 20 percent and reprint."
Grab and keep customers
Of the building's 5,000 workers, a little more than 100 of them eat at Takumi Taco on a given day. That's less than 3 percent, which is an extremely low penetration rate.
"It's all about customer acquisition. And so you have to think about creative ways to do that. And it's all about what's my universe and what's my penetration in that universe," Lemonis said.
The Kayes have access to an email list of office managers but aren't using it. They should send out promotions and marketing materials online. They also should use their loyal customer base to spread word about the business by offering coupons or rewards in exchange for referrals.