Phil's field notesPhil here with this month’s Field Notes. Hope you’re enjoying at least a little bit of time with friends and family this Holiday season.

First, I’d like to announce my favorite Christmas gift ever. Dante Dumontet arrived on December 21st (Winter Solstice). Both Mom and the baby boy are doing great. It’s interesting how life changes and suddenly you have a whole new perspective about the future. 

We’ve had our share of changes in 2020, haven’t we? I think we’re all ready for the disruption and chaos rate to fall off a bit, but we know it’s not over. Is it ever? 

It’s critical to have a strategy for deciding what to do when you’re not sure what to do in such chaotic times. Good to Great author Jim Collins offers some timeless advice on the topic, using his concept of bullets and cannonballs. Here’s the gist:

“Picture yourself at sea, a hostile ship bearing down on you. You have a limited amount of gunpowder. You take all your gunpowder and use it to fire a big cannonball. The cannonball flies out over the ocean…and misses the target, off by 40 degrees. You turn to your stockpile and discover that you’re out of gunpowder. You die.”

Instead of shooting the cannonball first, Collin’s big idea is to use less gunpowder and shoot bullets to hone in on the target. In other words, make small bets before you make the big bet.

Here’s a real-world example

Restaurant subscriptions have become a thing and we decided to run an experiment. So beginning on January 1, we’ll start offering an unlimited $5 juices membership program. 

The thing is, we don’t know if this will work or not, but I love the idea of letting the market decide. It’s a way of shooting bullets first. It also happens to be the fastest way to learn. There’s a tendency to ask friends and family and focus groups for feedback before we try, but we learn much quicker by field testing our ideas. 

Even with the bullets approach, you’ll still be putting yourself out there. As long as it’s not a huge time commitment, I suggest you experiment with new ideas regularly to find out what works. Have a bias for action. It’s easy to overthink these things.

This may be an opportunity for you

As an RDS provider, what if you could tap into this membership/subscription idea? What if you were to mention the concept to a restaurant owner and bounce it around a bit? 

Help them think through what it could mean for them. You stand to benefit in at least two crucial ways: 

  1. You’ll demonstrate that you are more than a delivery company. That you are there to help. Taking on this kind of responsibility and attitude might mean educating yourself on what’s happening in the industry, but in the long run, it’s an investment that will pay off.
  2. Increased revenue. It could become a recurring revenue stream for you if the restaurant offered a calendar-based membership such as “Fajita Friday.” 

Safety will be an ongoing concern in 2021

We know that safety concerns aren’t going away anytime soon, especially in the restaurant industry. Here’s one way to make diners feel safer: 

If you google “Contactless Delivery,” you’ll find the restaurant business pretty much owns the term, so what are some ways you might do it a little differently? Make it contactless and frictionless but not without a human touch. 

  • A personalized text? 
  • A photo with a catchy caption?
  • Add easier payment options such as Apple pay, Google payment, etc.
By the way, watch for squirrels!

We continue to hear heartbreaking stories

Restaurant closures read like an obituary column – over two million of them since March. During this season of giving, we’re encouraging friends and family to help as they can. 

We’re halfway through the dip. Those of us in the industry know that November through February are the slow months. This most challenging time of year is now even tougher. 

Ask folks to call their favorite restaurant and buy a gift card. Or help with cash flow by ordering pickup and delivery. For a valuable low-cost contribution, write a positive review.

BTW, generosity doesn’t only make you feel better; it actually makes you healthier. Check it. 

Here’s my suggestion for setting New Year’s resolutions… 


It’s almost cliche to talk about goals and resolutions this time of year, but unless you’re among the 25% of people who keep them, it might be time for a different approach.

Ironically, our resolutions start to trail off around week three, which is right when new habits begin to form. One reason might be that we try to make too many changes. 

Less is more. Try doing fewer things better.

I love picking one theme for the year and then building out some goals under that umbrella. For me, it’s highly motivating to say this is what I’m going to focus on this year and keep it simple. I don’t try to plan five or six things that are so overwhelming I never get to them all. 

So, whether it’s fitness or saving money, try picking one theme and then set the related goals. Do this in writing and share with friends and family, or on social media if you’re into that. Accountability is proven to be a massive hack for accomplishing your goals. 

If you try the theme approach and keep it in front of you all year long, I promise you’ll never want to go back to the old way. Give it a shot, and let us know your theme for 2021.

As for me, this will be the year of Dante! 👶
With you through the dip,

p.s. Keep those suggestions coming for future topics. We love hearing from the field!

p.s.s. Updated this post with restaurant delivery service inflation protection measures.