Baked goods entrepreneur Phillip Kuoch has launched his latest take on the modern bakery, and the good news is you won’t have to leave your house to get a piece.
With Melbourne now back under stay-at-home restrictions for the next six weeks, the Victoria-based bakery owner has moved quickly, opening a virtual donut store to make the most of growing e-commerce demand.
Called Donut Dash, Kuoch tells SmartCompany the new venture is a ”ghost kitchen”, which is like a dark kitchen; except it’s not Deliveroo or any other delivery platform pulling the strings.
Unlike Kuochs other business Goldeluck’s Doughnuts, which operates across several physical stores and an e-commerce website, Donut Dash has been designed as a no-frills, economically viable delivery business that’s immune from the 30%+ commissions charged by UberEats and Menulog.
”We wanted full control of the delivery process,” he says. ”Previously, we used to use UberEats and Menulog, but we wanted to be able to reach more people without the extra cost to deliver.”
Kuoch is marching to the beat of his own drum with Donut Dash, not that of a multinational company.
The downside? Kuoch has to organise his own delivery network, which the entrepreneur admits has been a challenge, but not one he wasn’t up for.
”It’s very complicated. If you had asked me five years ago if I’d be doing logistics, I’d have said no way,” Kuoch says.
”For us it was all about starting in a smaller region and then building up with more customers.”
The new venture is just the latest step for Kuoch, who has been working to modernise the traditional bakery model amid the most disruptive period for bricks-and-mortar businesses in recent memory.
Goldeluck’s Doughnuts had already been cashing in on e-commerce demand during Australia’s first lockdown period, but now he hopes the refined Donut Dash offer will hit the spot with customers forced back into their homes.
”The entire idea is to take away the fancy stuff and go direct to customers,” Kuoch says.
”For us, we have to think about our retail stores, and with the decreased trading we’re going to be expecting in the next couple of months, we want to be able to continue to provide jobs for our staff.”
It hasn’t been an easy few months for Kuoch, or any small business owner in Australia, and now that Melbourne is back in lockdown, he admits it can be easy to feel defeated.
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”It’s a really crap situation, but we have to push through,” he says. ”It’s a lot to do a relaunch, and it’s a lot to close up again, but we have to ask what we can do to make the most of this new opportunity.”
Kuoch’s advice for other business owners is to work towards taking learnings from the first lockdown and apply them to the current situation — after all, everyone left standing made it through round one.
”We’re asking ourselves what we can do differently this time to take full advantage of whatever opportunities do exist,” Kuoch says.
”I’d encourage every other business owner and entrepreneur to do the same thing.”