Case Studies

Otter helps dLeña simplify and grow their delivery business

Learn how Otter helps Michelin-guide-approved dleña optimize operations and get more orders.

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Otter helps dLeña succeed in delivery

Meet dLeña: the Michelin-guide-approved Mexican restaurant disrupting D.C.’s fine-dining scene

Whether you’re looking for a trendy, date-night atmosphere or the best empanadas in the Mt. Vernon Triangle, dLeña offers a modern approach to classic Mexican cuisine.

Renowned chef and restauranteur Richard Sandoval created dLeña’s concept in celebration of  “leña,” which translates to “firewood” in Spanish. The name inspired dLeña’s smoky mezcal cocktails and wood-fired dishes—which makes sense considering everything on the menu is absolute fire.

If you don’t believe us, hear it for yourself from dLeña’s general manager, Mike McDonald. “We use wood and fire or charcoal, which gives everything a fantastic smoky flavor. I love the ribeye, which comes with this chimichurri sauce. I legitimately stole a big portion of chimichurri from my chef and put it in those big to-go containers. It’s so amazing. Just don't tell my chef.”

While we might have spilled dLeña’s manager’s secret, our conversation with Mike covers much more than chimichurri theft (and honestly, who could blame him?!)

Scroll down to read our full conversation with Mike McDonald on what it’s like to manage dLeña and how Otter’s online ordering solution helped simplify the wood-fired Mexican Cocina's delivery operations.

A day in the life at dLeña

Otter team: What’s your favorite and least favorite aspect of working as a manager at dLeña?

Mike McDonald: My favorite thing is that every day is different. Some people have jobs where they go in and work on the same projects day in, day out. And nothing ever changes. However, in restaurants, you have different things every day, whether it's different guests, different fires to put out, or different events going on. Every day is new. Least favorite? Again, it's also the same in that nothing is ever the same. So there are a lot of last-minute things that come up, and you have to be very fluid and flexible, you need to roll with the punches.

Otter team: What can a customer expect when dining at dLeña?

Mike McDonald: I cannot speak highly enough about how beautiful dLeña is. It doesn't hurt that our food is fantastic as well. I’ve had this conversation with several of our guests. If you go out to eat and the food is just okay, and the service was bad, you're not coming back. But the fact that the food is amazing at dLeña, it makes my job as a restaurant manager super easy.

Otter team: How’s delivery going?

Mike McDonald: We’re moving to a place where delivery is becoming more and more popular, and we don’t always want to have to talk to people anymore {laughs}. I know for me personally, there are times I don’t want to talk. I'm like, just drop off my food and I can eat in peace. The pandemic definitely set off that route, and I think it’s great that delivery is creating jobs. It’s a system that’s streamlined and much easier to manage. It’s cool to see the Otter system work and watch the delivery drivers walk in and say, ‘I'm here for pickup’. And then they grab and go and are on their way.

Otter team: How did dLeña choose Otter as their online ordering management platform?

Mike McDonald: I've worked at restaurants that have not used Otter, where you have literally seven different tablets, one for each unit and delivery platform: it's a nightmare. I really like Otter, it's amazing, it simplifies delivery for me. I can't speak highly enough about it and everything you guys are doing. If you have more than one delivery platform, go ahead and get Otter because it will simplify your life.

How to support dLeña:

Visit: 📍: 476 K St NW Suite D, Washington, DC 20001

Order OnlineSeamless, Doordash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, Postmates

Follow:  Instagram: @dlenadc, Facebook, dLeña website

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