Ep. 37: Helping Local Business & Innovating with Carson Goodale
In each episode of The GameDay Playbook presented by FanFood, Rob Cressy discusses how leaders are transforming the sports and live entertainment industry by leveraging technology to enhance the fan experience and operate gameday more efficiently.
Carson Goodale, CEO at FanFood, joins Rob Cressy to talk about the positive change and innovation from FanFood in the midst of the Coronavirus. How is FanFood helping local businesses stay afloat by using their platform? What impact is consumer behavior changing in real time having? How has these times helped the FanFood team realize they have something truly special?
To see how your restaurant, establishment, or venue can benefit from FanFood’s platform please go to: www.fanfoodapp.com/request-demo
Listen to the Gameday Playbook on:
Rob Cressy: (00:04)
Welcome to the GameDay Playbook presented by FanFood a discussion around how leaders are transforming the sports and live entertainment industry by leveraging technology to enhance the fan experience and operate game day more efficiently. I’m your host Rob Cressy and joining me today is Carson Goodale, CEO of FanFood. Carson, great to have you back on the show.
Carson Goodale: (00:28)
Hey, Timing can be a little bit better, but thanks for having me on.
Rob Cressy: (00:33)
So the reason I wanted to have you on is I thought it was a good opportunity to have a candid conversation given all that is going on in the landscape, especially in the world of sports. And I know that FanFood is a brand that is doing a lot to help local businesses stay afloat. That’s something that I feel like more good vibes in good messages like this need to be shared. So I want to see if you could share a little bit more about what fan food’s doing to help the local businesses right now.
Carson Goodale: (01:09)
Yeah. I mean, we’re obviously reliant right on. Our primary customer is big events that are now temporarily halted. While being respectful of our customers and planning accordingly during this time, it gives us an opportunity to really think about our platform and how we can help. We have an online presence. We have a mobile ordering presence through the FanFood app that allows customers to purchase something and get notified when it’s ready for pickup. So as a result of that these local businesses, local restaurants, breweries, wineries are considering closing up shop and during this time we can lend a helping hand. And I think like most growth startups affected by this virus they’re taking a hard look and seeing how can we help other businesses impacted by this. I think about FanFood for these businesses, it literally means the only way to survive. If you think about it, that’s powerful. Like we are a conduit to sustaining our economy to some regard. And then to take it a step further, the way that our business model works is, you know, you have GrubHub, Postmates, DoorDash, Uber eats, how do they all make money? Well, they dip into the money of the business owners. And are they actually generating profit at the end of the day? No. So we’re the first subscription-based marketplace platform and we can really, during this time, let that, let our business metal and let our platform kind of speak for itself. And so we’re giving away the platform for free for 60 days during this tough time, commission-free online and mobile ordering platform to support local businesses to do curbside pickup. That’s where we’re going. That’s where we’re starting. And you know, and take it from there.
Rob Cressy: (03:19)
So if you can help explain this to me is this, I order something from a Chinese restaurant?
Carson Goodale: (03:28)
Exactly, here’s a use case because I went through a manual process. My brother and I and his girlfriend, we wanted to order some pizza from a local pizzeria called Tommaso’s pizza. I live here in Cedar Rapids, was on the phone with the guy for probably 15 minutes and he’s asking you a bunch of questions like what’s your license plate number so we know when we can come out to get ya and what’s the appropriate number to call and text and, and can I get your credit card information? And then he messed up my credit card information. This is a whole manual process. I’m like, dude, you know like if you were on the FanFood solution, right? The FanFood platform, I could go to Tommaso’s website and place an order for pickup. I could go on the fan food mobile app, click Tommaso’s pizza for order ahead and then I’ll get notified.
Carson Goodale: (04:20)
I’ll place my order Apple pay, Google wallet integrated, a lot more efficient and I’d get notified when my order, my pizza is ready to be picked up. That would have saved me 15 minutes. It would have saved the restaurant owner 15 minutes, probably would have placed a higher order. But again, that’s one example. So a lot of these businesses, and that’s kind of a point that I want to talk about, how consumer behavior is changing kind of in real-time. Some of these businesses all over the country have been coming out of the woodwork to say, how do we, how do we stay alive? So they’re implementing things like a dial in, you got to pick up the phone call, give us your credit card over the phone. So I want to use my time or our sales team time as efficiently as possible and let’s help these businesses.
Carson Goodale: (05:13)
And the first kind of use case for this actually was from Dubai Mall. In fact, we did a deal this last week, our two technology development teams partnered together. The Dubai mall largest mall in the world, two and a half million square feet. They have 200 restaurants in the mall. Scared of going out of business, right. In the Middle East, the virus has been affected. They’re are a couple of months ahead of us. So they’re way more impacted at this time. What did we do? Well, we integrated our technology so you can download the Dubai mall app and you can place curbside mobile from any of their select restaurants on the platform. FanFood is the technology that’s powering that connection. It was really special to see two technology teams from across the world come together and a matter of days for a huge, massive project and see through it. So it’s been a really cool time.
Rob Cressy: (06:23)
One thing that you said to me before the podcast is through these times you’ve had a realization for what you have in FanFood being truly special. Can you explain that a little bit more to me? Because I really liked the way that you framed it.
Carson Goodale: (06:40)
Yeah. When you’re building technology for these sports stadiums, it seemed like for us, everyone wanted something a little bit different or it to provide the service a little bit different. So what did we do? Well, we built a very, very flexible technology that translated into why FanFood, what makes our product different than other, you know, platforms that do exist. One is this notion that a customer can place an order ahead of time before an event or before a certain time period and get their orders either delivered to them, whether that’s a drop off location, their seat, or to their house or they can pick it up. Whether that’s for express pickup at a concession stand or curbside mobile ordering to support a local business. And to take it a step further, the business model there was, there was so much backlash on these traditional restaurant mobile ordering apps are taking huge cuts into the profit of these businesses.
Carson Goodale: (07:48)
And you know, it was kind of funny too, you know, GrubHub, you know, just had just got, it’s kind of taken some heat right now because they said, Oh, we’re waiving fees for the next 60 days. So guess what? It’s deferred. It does not waive them, they’re deferred, they’re going to still charge them later and that was pretty shitty, you know, in the fine print for a lot of these business owners read and it’s like we’ve never operated that way. We built a platform that was dedicated to delivering the best experience possible. That was the mission from day one. The best experience also means, you know, for who, who are we talking about in this situation? We wanted to build a platform that was a win-win for both venue operators and fans. And so now as we think about it really isn’t much different from a curbside pickup. It’s the same pain points. It’s the same benefit statements that we’re creating. Mobile orders are higher. You know, you’re going to create more loyal customers. We’re going to even bring you more customers because we have a marketplace and your break-even is just a handful of orders per month to pay for the platform. And if you’re comparing apples to apples at the end of the day, I think that’s why it’s truly special. Because you know, the businesses are keeping the money, all 100% of the revenue and the majority of the service as it should be. That’s how it should be.
Rob Cressy: (09:16)
So you mentioned that consumer behavior is changing in real-time, and with that comes to speed, both the speed in which consumers are changing the speed in which businesses are able to adapt to meet the needs of their current market and or to stay afloat. So can you talk a little bit about your speed mindset for everything that’s going on?
Carson Goodale: (09:40)
I was halfway, I had to add a term sheet, a lead investor, 50% of my round closed. I needed the other 50 to go. When this virus kicked off and events were shutting down and cities are getting shut down, I was like, it’s, I’m not even gonna waste my time. Not even gonna waste my time trying to convince investors because I got to dive into the trenches with my sales team, marketing team, and account management and figure out what the hell we’re going to do. Like most startup growth businesses affected by this COVID-19. So that’s what we did. We literally dove in. I mean, it was all hands on deck. I, we said it a couple of weeks ago, if you weren’t in a technical role, we’re collaborating in real-time. Everyone’s woking from remote and most of our team are millennials.
Carson Goodale: (10:32)
I’m a veteran. So if anyone can manage a remote team and rally the troops it’s a veteran and a millennial. So I wasn’t too concerned about that. I’ll tell you, everyone came together and if I could categorize, I would say in one word, our team last week, I would say proud because, in the face of adversity and the resilience that they displayed responded so well, activities have never been higher. The communication, the constant communication on Slack and some of our channels have been the highest. And when you start sharing ideas, we know the events are halted. So it’s like how can we leverage our platform and other ways. We encouraged ideas and we were leading with them. You know, and things like hospital ordering came up, he’s going to start exploring hospital ordering to all these new kinds of market verticals and opportunities to Mount and it’s because you know, we encouraged that idea that we can encourage ideas and brainstorming. That’s kind of how we came up. And once we start to get a little bit of traction, we tripled down, quadrupled down and keep going. You have to because if venues temporarily pausing, how else are we going to generate revenue?
Rob Cressy: (11:57)
So the last thing that I want to talk about is optimism. Because what I love about entrepreneurs and leaders in forward-thinkers is that we will find a way, cause there’s always a way because there is no other option. And in finding your way, you are able to then help others find their way on the local business side of things. And I think for me right now, what I’ve talked to every single brand that I’m working with, I’m emphasizing community so much. And that’s both your community, but as well as the business community as a whole because everybody’s been affected by this. And I know on my end the things that I can control, I’m super positive. I’m forward-thinking because when you’re an entrepreneur, I’ll be it. I’ve never experienced this before, but try running a bootstrap company for seven years and every day is a series of monsters in front of you. People saying, no, no, no, no. Where’s the revenue coming from? Where’s revenue coming from? Pivot, change new positioning harder, harder, harder. So for me, I’m very optimistic because I know with the right heart of helping others, I’m a karma guy. So what you put out is going to come back and I hear it in your voice and I see it from you and your team. So leave us with a little optimism.
Carson Goodale: (13:18)
You just put me on the spot. It’s put me on the spot. Huh?
Rob Cressy: (13:22)
Well, you’ve got to, because I can hear it in your voice by the way that you’re talking about the way that you’re able to help keep other companies afloat and saving them almost from themselves sometimes because it’s, it’s a challenge when someone may not be, we’ll call it technologically advanced in that exact example that you gave right there. There’s someone where boom, immediately you can help solve that problem. So you need to bridge the gap. So the optimism of how much-untapped potential there is for the ways that you can help others.
Carson Goodale: (13:55)
I think that’s something that’s so moving to not only myself, but my team during this time is you’re not, it doesn’t really feel like we’re selling FanFood at this point. It’s like, how are we helping local businesses and it’s saying, like I said, a subscription-based marketplace, we’re not going to dip, we’re not taking a commission off of their orders. Right? So it’s like here it is for 60 days, use it for the next 60 days. Right? I want you to make as much money as you have because really you have no other option, otherwise you risk going, you risk going under. The reality is we don’t know, right. It to be, I want to be optimistic, but we don’t know when this virus is going to end. It could be, it could be a couple of weeks, it could be a couple of months, right.
Carson Goodale: (14:49)
If, who knows? But what we do know is that we have our platform has the power to really help business. And that’s impactful to me. Right? And, and on a whole new level because before it was how do we ensure because we believe some of the best moments are lived and fostered during a live event with some of your best buddies or a group that community feeling, right? Do you remember as some of my fondest memories are at a sporting event, right? So I think that that always resonated with me, but now it’s like how do we take that and expand it to everywhere else? And as I think about a local business or a local, you know, a restaurant or something like what makes that business unique or special, right?
Carson Goodale: (15:43)
FanFood can literally deliver the why, like why that business exists in the first place. And remind them what makes their menu so unique and then purchase it on their platform. And then we’ll notify a when you’re ready to come to pick it up. But let’s keep them businesses going for everyone. Right. I think that’s why I’m so moved during this time. I’m moved by my team’s resilience in responding to it. It is a scary time, right? It’s a scary time for everyone. But I think the way that, you know, we kind of come together and seeing how other businesses and other start-ups and everyone’s kind of supporting each other during this time. It’s, it’s incredibly moving. And I want to, you know, just just lend to lend a helping hand businesses who want it. I guess I could use this time as a, the call to action, right? If you are interested in getting some help you can go to www.fanfoodapp.com/request-demo and someone on my team will reach out to you. All we need to get started really is your menu and the name of your location and we’ll get you up on the platform in a matter of days. Like we can move as quickly. We can move as quickly as we need to support it.
Rob Cressy: (17:09)
Is there anybody else who might be listening right now that you would like to connect with? You said, Rob, if someone is listening to that does X, Y, and Z outside of that, because let’s bring some more connections in some more good and some more help one way or another.
Carson Goodale: (17:24)
I thought this would’ve been the best time to reach out to Mark Cuban and get his attention as a, as a veteran and, you know, a sports technology business that’s mission is to deliver the best in-venue fan experience. And now that’s looking to create an impact and save jobs. He opened it, didn’t get a response though. So I mean, if he’s listening to this and he’s, and he’s 15 minutes in or whoever, however much time we’re in and he’s here in this, my email is Carson@fanfoodapp.com and I would love to have a conversation with you. I think you’d be a great partner to help close this round out and get and get capitalizing on this opportunity because it’s serious.
Rob Cressy: (18:09)
Carson. I know amazing things are on the horizon for fin food. And I commend you and your team for the good that you’re doing and great things are going to happen from this. And as always, I would love to hear from you about this episode. You can hit up FanFood on Twitter at @fanfoodondemand on Instagram at @fanfoodapp or on LinkedIn. And as always, you can hit me up on all social media platforms at @RobCressy.