Increasing covers and turnover with Dojo
It was 2020 when Michael Salvador first heard about Dojo. As the Chief Operating Officer of the Japanese food brand Maki & Ramen, which has multiple restaurants in Edinburgh, Michael was keen to test out alternative payment systems to see if there was an opportunity to ramp up efficiency.
“I was speaking with a connection who asked me if we were set up for integrated payments, and I was impressed by the technology,” Michael says. Three Dojo machines were introduced into the company’s busiest restaurant in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter, and Michael quickly realised Maki & Ramen had struck gold.
“Joining Dojo is one of the best business decisions Maki & Ramen has ever made,” he says.
Increasing revenues by 5%
Shortly after installing the Dojo machines at St James Quarter, Michael closely watched how the restaurant floor was operating. “It struck me that by integrating Dojo into our till systems, we would be able to serve more customers - it was a real wow moment.”
Maki & Ramen’s previous system separated tills and payment machines, so staff were forced to walk between the two every time a payment was made to manually input information and record payments. “An average cover for us is 20–25 minutes. We provide quality food and quick dining, which is what our customers want. Dojo allows them to pay almost immediately and get on with their day. It’s become a fantastic tool to improve the customer experience.”
At a site like St James Quarter with 45 tables, the time saved with Dojo allows the business to turn over tables more quickly, meaning an extra 90 covers can be served each day. That equates to hundreds of additional customers per week in one site alone.
“We’ve increased our turnover by 5% just from being able to seat more customers because of the time we’ve saved,” says Michael.
Saving £40k in interest payments
Having established Maki & Ramen as one of Edinburgh’s prime Japanese restaurants, Michael and founder Teddy Lee wanted to open more sites across the UK. “We needed to access funding to expand, but we weren’t looking for millions of pounds,” says Michael. “What we needed was access to funds that we could pay back over a short amount of time.”
But they found traditional lenders weren’t offering what they were looking for. “We presented our business plans, and the borrowing options were completely unsuitable. Interest rates were 20% and more, there were hidden fees of more than £10k, and the repayments were over six years.”
The experience with Dojo was night and day: “We were assigned a dedicated account manager who met with us and then kept us in the loop throughout the process. The money was in our account the following day."
“Repayments are linked to your revenues, so when you’re doing well, you can pay down the borrowing so quickly. We borrowed £100k from Dojo on a previous occasion and paid it back in eight months. The interest rates are also much lower than the rest of the market. We’ve saved £40,000 in interest payments with Dojo, which is an extraordinary amount, and has enabled the business to accelerate its expansion.”
2023 promises to be a busy year for Maki & Ramen, with new restaurants to open in Glasgow, Leeds, and Manchester. All of which will be equipped with Dojo. “It’s given us so much in terms of time savings, revenues, and cash flow. We’ll intend on using Dojo forever!”
£3,500 saved with fail-safe payments
Despite being situated in the heart of Edinburgh, Maki & Ramen’s St James Quarter has notoriously patchy connectivity. “It’s crazy because we’re right in the middle of the city,” says Michael. Its previous payments system required WiFi-boosting equipped to be installed, but problems persisted.
Introducing Dojo means failed payments are a thing of the past, even at a location where connectivity is challenging. “The Dojo machines tell you immediately whether or not a payment has been approved, and it’s instant. We lost around £3,500 because of failed payments before we moved to Dojo, and we’ve not lost a penny of revenue since. It’s saved us that lost revenue and improved the overall payment experience for our customers and staff. It’s hyper-impressive.”
When Michael looked to the market for a new payments provider three years ago, he couldn’t have predicted its impact across so many areas of Maki & Ramen’s business. By any metric, introducing a new system that helps staff be more efficient, solves the problem of failed payments, and increases the number of customers would be deemed a success. But giving the business a platform to embark on a significant expansion while saving tens of thousands of pounds in interest is the perfect showcase of how Dojo can help take an organisation to the next level.