At a time when most restaurants are scaling back or closing their doors, the unique Mad Radish concept is going against the trend and expanding its business.
MAD RADISH INNOVATING IN THE FACE OF COVID-19
As a response to COVID-19’s impact on the restaurant industry, Segal saw an opportunity to establish a new kind of convenience in the gourmet fast-food category by offering three unique menus under one roof (and on one app).
And he’s created a hybrid of a ghost kitchen with its working function capacity and a customer-facing restaurant.
Mad Radish was founded in 2017.
“Mad Radish started out being all about food that’s good for you but also makes you feel good and tastes good. It stemmed out of the idea that I lived in the U.S. and found that there’s so many options available for eating on the go and when I moved back to Canada there just seemed to be such a void in the market. I like to eat healthy but I also don’t want rabbit food. I want food that’s filling and has tons of flavour and that’s what Mad Radish was about,” said Segal.
“That’s how we started but we’ve since evolved the concept completely. Mad Radish is all about gourmet fast food now and it’s a family of gourmet fast foods. And we’ve since introduced two new brands into our stores. One is Luisa’s Burritos & Bowls and the other is Revival Pizza.
“Luisa’s is an authentic South American ingredients. Revival is Neapolitan style pizza with a modern twist. And all three brands share this philosophy of gourmet fast foods. The idea basically is food that’s made quickly but doesn’t compromise on flavour or on quality. It’s very simple ingredients at the highest quality. It’s food that’s made to order but built to travel.”
There are six Mad Radish locations of which two are closed right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three locations are in Ottawa and three in Toronto. One in downtown Ottawa and one in downtown Toronto are temporarily closed. A seventh store in Ottawa will be opening in January.
The first location for the concept was in downtown Ottawa.
“Right now we’re just really focused on nailing the model. I don’t know how many stores we’re good for. But we think there’s a lot of communities and there’s a void in the market around this higher quality fast food which is what we’re about and we’re trying to tackle that with three amazing brands that are run out of one space and they’re both available for instore purchase, contactless pickup on our Mad Radish app and we’ll be adding delivery to our app as well and then also on the third parties like Uber Eats.”
COVID FORCED BRICK & MORTAR RETAILERS TO RETHINK BUSINESS MODELS
Segal said when the pandemic hit it really caused everyone in the brick and mortar businesses to rethink their business model.
“We look at the future of restaurants or retail in the food world and it is multi-channel. It’s customers being able to get what they want, how they want it. We’re prepared for anything whether that’s instore purchases, contactless pickup and delivery,” said Segal. “What’s Mad Radish fundamentally about? We landed on the food philosophy. We think that’s really our differentiating factor. This idea of gourmet fast foods.
“And we said to ourselves how can we extend our value proposition to serve our customers more often in the kinds of foods they like to eat. And that’s where we landed on introducing a new burrito brand in Luisa’s and introducing a new pizza brand in Revival. They all share that common food ethos. We think it’s a market position that no one has. We see us much stronger with the three together, particularly with the shift in more delivery. This hopefully allows us to become a bigger part of our customers’ weekly meals and in turn generate more volume out of the spaces to be able to handle the shift towards delivery and do it really, really well. That’s been our focus. Takeout and delivery. We’ll still have seating in our restaurants but we’re dedicating more of our space to kitchen, to prep areas, to customer flow, to be able to handle takeout and delivery in a first-class way.”
Segal said the pandemic has taught people that many services now come to the consumers who are more comfortable dealing in a digital environment.
“The other thing we’ve learned is we kind of crave human contact sometimes and it’s part of being human to want to be around each other and face to face, and smile to each other, and be with people live. That’s going to have its place potentially in the future of restaurants. So we’ve developed a hybrid model between a ghost kitchen and a restaurant. We’re kind of trying to take the best elements of both with yes we’re going to operate with multiple brands, yes we’re going to have more space dedicated towards preparing food for delivery and takeout, and facilitating that effectively, but we’re not going to get rid of our seating entirely. We’re still going to be visible and accessible for customers that want to come in person.”