For Luke Januschka and Mike Coborn, the restaurant industry is quite literally the lifeblood of their business, Skytale Digital. And as the COVID-19 pandemic forced shutdowns and rocked the hospitality world to its core, the duo needed to find ways to adapt.
“The pandemic had a profound impact on our advertising business,” explains Luke. “Not only did we have to completely reshuffle our business model, we had to help our restaurant clients do the exact same thing. Their problems became our problems. If our clients went out of business, so would we. This created a very unique, irreversible relationship with our clients.”
He continues, “There was a paralyzing amount of fear and uncertainty in the midst of the pandemic. As restaurant owners had put a massive emphasis on the safety of their staff and customers, they simultaneously had to continue providing for their staff and families financially. And this is where our company came into play.”
Faced with incredibly tough odds, Luke and Mike rethought the way they work with their customers.
“We had to become much more than just an advertising company for restaurants,” says Luke. “So, we quickly started pivoting our clients towards becoming ‘e-commerce companies’ instead of just traditional restaurants. The pandemic forced everyone to stay in their homes for safety, and a record number of people were on their phones. We advised our clients to expand into a contracting situation.”
He elaborates, “Businesses weren’t advertising or spending money in the height of the pandemic, which drove advertising costs down by about 30 to 40%. Yet, a record amount of people were on their phones consuming social media. This, in combination with cheap ad costs, and an ‘e-commerce’ approach mixed with some creativity, created incredible results.”
But that wasn’t the most outside-the-box way they helped their customers.
“Restaurants also had something that most people needed badly: toilet paper,” shares Luke. We ran advertising campaigns for takeout orders where anyone who spent 30 dollars or more received a free roll of toilet paper. This went viral. Many of our clients started having record sales and profit numbers, even more than pre-pandemic. And given that our own business model is that our clients make money first, then we do, our company started seeing record numbers as well.”
He adds, “So, the biggest lesson we’ve learned is that sometimes it takes a massive event, like a pandemic, to expose many inefficiencies in a business. This includes our restaurant clients as well. We learned to pivot quickly and all of the challenges made us a better, more well-rounded company.”
If you’d like to learn more about Skytale Digital, check out their website www.skytaledigital.com.