When times are tough, we look to our friends and neighbours for help and now that restaurants are suffering due to the pandemic, two local companies are teaming up to help them move online, connect with customers and deliver their amazing food.
Ninjanow is an Okanagan company that does business across Canada streamlining deliveries and web services for partners, particularly restaurants. They have partnered with iNFOTEL MULTIMEDIA — the parent company of iNFOnews.ca — to provide local restaurants with affordable delivery services, as well as digital marketing and e-commerce resources.
That might sound familiar and perhaps you have ordered food from competitors, but there's a big difference — Ninjanow is trying to help your favourite local restaurant succeed, not run away with their hard-earned profits. It has the lowest fees of any online platform and their focus is on small, local restaurants.
Ninjanow CEO Cheryl Kerik says she saw what happened with those small restaurants when the big guys like Skip the Dishes came in.
“They were starting to close down and kill out all the little mom and pop shops in Canada, the little gem restaurants,” she says. “Small businesses, they were just going under… so we pivoted and we wanted to be able to support those local businesses with the same tools, and less expensive than what these big guys were doing.”
They started long before the B.C. State of Emergency that ordered restaurants to close their in-house business for the foreseeable future. But that makes the need for an affordable delivery service that much more important. They offer turnkey solutions so restaurants can focus on what they do best — make great food.
"We craft our delivery services to the local market,” she says. “We're more around supporting local small business and mom and pops than we are big chains like McDonald's.”
With most of their competitors, restaurants are required to pay 25 to 30 per cent of every online order, on top of a number of hidden fees that eat up most if not all profit margins. Ninjanow charges a flat rate of $50/month and $3 per delivery with no hidden fees so restaurants will know exactly how much they’ll be charged.
Kerik said many restaurants that can’t afford to partner with larger delivery companies feel that they’re getting left out because they don’t have the ability to create their own online systems.
iNFOTEL MULTIMEDIA has also been supporting these businesses long before the pandemic. Last year, iNFOnews.ca launched iNwine, hosted by local food-writer and bestselling cookbook author Jennifer Schell, showcasing local food, wine and farms. It was a natural fit and through the partnership, iNFOTEL MULTIMEDIA provides restaurants with the online tools and marketing services they require.
“They don’t have to hire a delivery team, they don’t have to build an e-commerce site, they don’t have to have a digital menu… we take care of all of that,” said iNFOTEL MULTIMEDIA President Peter Boyd.
It's an opportunity for local restaurants to not only begin offering delivery service, but also promote their brand.
"We do marketing for them,” said Kerik. “It’s their brand that we’re pushing and we have iNFOTEL MULTIMEDIA now that can do all kinds of cool stuff to promote their brand locally."
Ninjanow is operating in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Vernon. You can find the local gems by downloading the app here on an Apple device or here for Android.
Kerik said service to Kamloops and Penticton is in the works, and will be available in a matter of weeks.
The pandemic is changing lifestyles and as local businesses react to new realities, they don’t have to do it alone. They’ve got friends and neighbours with the expertise to help them through it.
"We are very excited to have done this partnership agreement,” said Boyd. “We are working to adapt to the different world, and we’re venturing together to be stronger and help other businesses adapt.”
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