Avery Ward, the CEO of Little Italy, stands at the forefront of innovation, leveraging cutting-edge solutions to enhance hospitality in the restaurant industry. Recognizing a critical pain point for his customers, Ward partnered with Shipday to address challenges related to communication and transparency. In this interview with host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media and Shipday cofounder Moin Islam, Shipday has proven to be a game-changer, unlocking hidden potentials in operational efficiency and customer communication. The platform’s impact extends beyond the initial goal of dispatch optimization, offering heightened visibility for both owners and customers.
Ward’s commitment to excellence is further exemplified in his strategic decision to switch to Toast, a point-of-sale system that has become the central hub of Little Italy’s operations. Faced with frustration from his previous system’s underperformance, Ward embraced Toast’s comprehensive integration, leading to a transformative shift in the restaurant’s operational dynamics.
“It’s the hub of our operations, and there’s so many different softwares that we use that are so key in what we do, but it all flows through Toast.” says Ward.
Beyond adopting advanced technologies, Ward has a keen understanding of the power of social media engagement. Recognizing the need to connect with the audience, he conceptualized the Groveport Greats video series, a popular Instagram initiative highlighting local businesses and their owners. Ward’s creative approach not only fosters community engagement but also aligns with his broader goal of supporting local businesses.
“I had this idea of dropping off just a bunch of gift cards at a location and there would be ten available that day. And every day of the week they could go to that location and get them. And that day I would post a little video like, hey, I’m here, the gifts are here, come get them, whatever. And then that evolved” says Ward. “I want to relate with businesses while we do this and how we can get people into the local businesses. So what we ended up doing is a video series called Groveport Greats.”
Ward’s strategic choices and innovative initiatives underscore a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences to both customers and the local community.
“So moving with that series, we’re going to be featuring other local, important people in our community. I think I’m going to do some stuff with the school system, some coaches and stuff like that just to do something really funny and highlight them, their organization, what they’re doing, and pizza will just be a small part of it.”
Using ShipDay to Enhance Hospitality – One of ShipDay’s foundational motivations is to solve problems. When Avery Ward discovered a pain point with his customers, he decided to team with Shipday to provide solutions, such as improved communication and transparency.
Switching to Toast: A Game-Changing Software – When Avery Ward’s previous point of sales system was not performing to his liking, Ward was forced to consider other options, despite his reluctance to do so. After meeting with a Toast representative, he switched to Toast integration and hasn’t looked back.
Creating the Groveport Greats Video Series – Avery Ward knew he needed to engage people on social media, but wasn’t sure how. A serendipitous stumble upon an idea to highlight local businesses and business owners lead to the, now popular, Groveport Greats video series on Instagram.
Cali BBQ Media
Digital Hospitality is an interview-based video podcast hosted by business owner Shawn P. Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) and produced by his Cali BBQ Media company. The weekly digital series explores the ways successful businesses and entrepreneurs have merged old and new with innovative digital strategies that harness the power of the Internet and social media. Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media and creator of the Restaurant Influencers podcast on Entrepreneur Media.
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