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Midnight Cookie Co. was founded to satisfy late night sweet tooth cravings in Seattle with 14 cookie flavors baked daily and available in store and on the major delivery platforms. In early 2020, the business was acquired by Manish Gaudi (CEO) and Paul Quinn (COO), and they have been focused on scaling up the operations ever since.
“We bought the business 11 days before Covid and in the midst of chaos and such scary times we were incredibly lucky,” said Gaudi. “Our demand grew substantially during the few first months of COVID lockdowns. We needed to quickly hire more people, get operations in order, and open more stores to meet demand. We went from 13 to 30 employees in what felt like overnight.”
With rapid growth and success came both inefficiencies and opportunity.
“By the time we opened our fourth location, we saw so much room for improvement. From managing menus that change regularly to easily updating availability, keeping on top of delivery marketplaces became a huge time suck for our stores,” said Gaudi.
“On top of that, with growth and scale it became more important to have real-time reporting on all parts of the business, most importantly cross-channel revenue. Each marketplace reported separately and it was a nightmare to try and combine so many different exports. I would usually need to wait for 10 days after the month ends for accounts to settle and measure how we performed sales-wise for the previous month. I needed to get that down to same-day reporting.’
Manish kicked off the search for an order management system but didn’t have much luck with the first system they tried.
“We piloted another solution and it was a disaster - marketplaces were offline, integrations were broken, and orders were missed - it was hurting more than helping us, and we offboarded within two months."
After such a poor initial experience with 3rd-party order management platforms, the Midnight Cookie Co. team was understandably wary.
“After our initial pilot with another solution, I revisited Otter,” said Gaudi.
“I saw how much the tool had grown and developed in just a few months which got me excited. The system had unique features that worked well for our business, and the solution is both elegant and user friendly, clearly built to save users time and taps. Plus I loved that the product design team had spent the right amount of time focusing on the retail employee experience, which enables us to meet our operational goals. For example, the order details were clear and easy to read which saves us a considerable amount of time and avoids frustration when packing orders for customers. Most importantly, Otter's integration with Square is a gamechanger for our business, and we use it to push data back and forth between our 3rd-party order management platform and our point-of-sale system. This enables us to automate a ton of workflows and deliver robust reporting to the owners and our managers.”
On top of Otter and Square, Manish and team have built custom tools to help forecast cookies, measure key performance indicators, and visualize progress across the business’s biggest investment areas .
“Otter and Square automate so much of our in store and delivery operations that our tech team can be hyper focused on maximizing our business’s unique opportunities. With our central bakery business model and our “fresh baked” value proposition for our customers, our success is based on accurately predicting flavor performance and deciding how much we’re going to bake every single day. The leadership team can now focus its time on questions like this, the stuff that is most unique and impactful to my business. I love that Otter and Square take care of the rest,” said Gaudi.
Otter and Square make a difference for Midnight Cookie Co. when it matters the most.
“Friday nights are nuts - and selling out of a flavor used to cause absolute chaos. Not only would it take up to five minutes to update menus on all of our tablets, it could take another five or ten minutes to get a break to make those updates and during that time orders that we couldn’t fulfill were rolling in,” said Gaudi. “With Otter and Square, it's 15 seconds, max. This lowers the number of orders with issues, keeps our customers happier, our ratings higher and ultimately helps us increase orders.”