Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

8) #ExponentialInsights: How Can Financial Brands Help Community Businesses w/ Seth Siegel-Gardner


A life in hospitality prepared my guest, Seth Siegel-Gardner Chef and Owner of Para Llevar, for a creative life where thinking on your feet in a chaotic environment is a valuable asset.  

In a post-Covid 19 world, everyone from the hospitality industry, to mom and pop shops,  most of the local businesses in our communities are being forced to adapt and pivot into entirely new business models or face shutting their doors.

Your financial brand can help if you also adapt and pivot towards your community.

What we talked about:

-The role of community banks and credit unions in support of their communities

-Small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges

-The need for fluidity and ingenuity in a post-Covid 19 world

This episode is hosted by James Robert Lay  Founder and CEO at Digital Growth Institute

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to the Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher on Spotify, Google Play or here.

If we're going to take it to this nextlevel and require all this more equipment, nd nobody's going to handthat stuff to us for free and we're already operating on Razortin margin. You were listening to banking, ondigital growth, with James Robert Lay, a podcasa in powers, financial brandmarketing sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potentialby generating ten times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part ofthe exponential inside series, where James Robert Interviews, the industry'stop marketing sales and FINTECH leaders sharing practical wisdom toexponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the shell, the guys it's James Robert. I wanted togive you a quickheads up that my expenential insight guess today is abit different because he does not work at a bank or credit union or or even inthe industry, for that matter. In fact, he is a chef that has workedall around the world he's received six chamesbeard foundation nominations plushis restaurant was voted. The number one restaurant in Houston, Texas, bythe Houston Chronicle I brought him on today, show for a conversation, becausethe exponential insights that he shares provides a great perspective into thehearts and minds of small business owners that so many financial brandshave an opportunity to step up and help and with the fumbles made by some ofthe big nationals like chase whels, Fargo and B F a with the whole PPPapplication process. This is a time for community financial brands to step upand guide small businesses over the coming months. In years, in fact, ranChevelin noted in a recent article on Forbes that more than six and ten smallbusinesses that currently bank, with a Mega Bank like B fsen wells or a largeregional, that's greater than a hundred billion in assets. Those businessessaid they were somewhat ar very likely to look for a new banking relationshipin the next year and that was before PBP so take a minute and for thisepisode over to Your Business Lending and business development teams, becausethere really is no greater time than now four community financial brands toturn the tide of small business lending and deposit decline greetings in Hello, I am James RobertLay and welcome to another episode of the banking on Digital Browth podgast.Today's episode is part of the expendential insight series and I'mexcited to welcome, set single gardener to the show, because he had a lot ofperspective to share four financial brands to listen to to learn fromduring this post coven nignheteen world, as set as the chef and owner atPeriavar in Marfa Texas, welcome to the show steff. Thank you thanking. So I'veknown you now for probably right around ten years, if tat a little bit longersince you came to Houston h, to open up a restaurant yeah and just for somecontexts for ou audience. Can you just give us a little bit of backstory abouthow you got to where you are to day, because I never in my wadest dreamswould think that I'd be bringing a chef on to talk about what what financialservices can do. But this COBA ninheteen world has just transformed, Ithink everything the old rule books are out and we gotta start putting togethersome thinking and some collaboration across multiple industries,particularly at the community level, but before we get there. Just give ussome contexts into how you got to where you are in this world today, yeah how went from working in restaurants in NewYork City in London and Chicago to a town of like two thousand people.

I grew up in Houston, so Houston alwayswill be home and I went to school got a philosophy degreeat the University of Denver, which robviously I'm put in to good use goingdirectly into the restaurant business. After that we lived in. I worked in NewYork for about seven years spent most of my time working and find diningrestaurants. There work with market Samiuel Sonat his restaurant called theAuvi that worked in other middown, another mintown restaurant also andthen elpd Gordon Ramsey, open on the opening team of the Gordramsirestaurant and in New York. I work open an anotherrestaurant for Marcus in Chicago then moved to Londonand worked in London per year, and then eventually it came back to Houston. Where worked around Houston for alittle while and then oven at o r restaurant, the passing provisions thanwe were open for almost seven years in Houston, and then now I've been workingon these projects out in West Texas, one of the distillery project and thenworking ont, a few restaurants. The one that's over now is putty of u the torestaurant yeah, so you'e you'V, you've seen a lot. You've experienced a lot,and I think right now. That's where I want to think o conversation is isbased upon all of this experience and thinking about your own journey, one ofthe things that you said wh when we started this conversation was reallytwo things you're having to adapt the dream, adapt and pivot. What are youseeing right now with just your peers with this post covet nineteen world andhow they're having to adapt and change and pivot their business bottle e? Whatdoes that look like from practically speaking on the ground? I think I meanit's it's pretty, because obviously everybody is loves. Their restaurants and loves kindof their neighborhood spots, they're, watching their restaurants turn into togo restaurants, so that the obvious pivot that everyone is making now isnow. Everyone is a scure restaurant and I think that that is that's a necessary evil for a lot ofrestaurant people, because there's never you know when we had our fullservice, restaurant and Houston. We hated the idea of doing to go food, butyou know it was just part of the business and you had to do it now. It'sessentially one of the only parts of the business, and I think some of theother, a lot of people are pushing you know by gift cards. I personally have some issue with that,but GIF cards are stupid in my opinion, and it's like literally setting your moneyon fire, but I understand that it gives people. I guess a little bit of comfort andknowing that, like, hopefully I'm helping M my restaurant stay there. Just my question is going to be whathappens when you buy all these gift cards for these places that have closed,but then I think that a lot of people are going to digital stuff. So you knowit's like getting your online sore up and running as quickly as possible. Is the only situation right now that Ithink is going to keep places afloat because most people in most majorcities are not goingna want to come and have that direct interaction with with a waiter or a bartender? Orsomething like that. So I think you know we're we're turning into thisworld where it's like. You can't even see the people anymore,so I think a lot of our friends. You know I would guess that is two.Three weeks ago everybody called whoever was making their website or Ithey were making it themselves and the amount of searches that were probablylike. How do I set up an online store?...

You know went through the roof. We had it, always in our model thatthat we were going to do online ordering. So I wasn't initially goingto push it out for a couple of weeks after weopened, but of course it waslike we needd to get this going as quickly as possible. Seeing a lot of people do that, but Ithink a lot of restaurants, tare just going to start, have already started,closing and or at least temporary clothing, andunfortunately, that's it's going to be continue to happen until we get some direction on what like thenext version of normally looks like for the hospitality business well and see.That's where I see the probably the biggest opportunity from my perspectiveof the banking world and working with community banks working with creditunions, because that is sentral to a local community, just as these localrestaurants are sent into the community from your world vew and your experience,how might a credit union or a community bank might be able to support some ofthese local restaurants during this time of of chaos, when we're justtrying to figure out what what that new normal looks like, I think it's an understanding of howthe restaurants have ar you know. Restaurants and til- maybe even alesser expen bars- have to pivat their operations because nowthere's a lot of things that there a lot of inventory they need to take onthat was completely unexpected. Like like, we mentioned some of our industry,friends Gointo, like the kind of the take and bake model of like here's, H, Ason, yet tak at home. You know throwit in the oven, so at least you're cooking, but you're, not necessarily doing dishes or anything like that. SoI think there's a huge pivot to that and those dishes, all that stuff costmoney that theres no there's no line ithem in that budget. You know the ideathat we're going to go to you know eventually they're going to startenforcing laws about restaurant workers have to wear mass, even if you're to gohave to wear gloves like there's. I think tha restaurants are some of thesafest in terms of food handling out there. But if we're going to take it tothis next level and require all this more equipment it, you know nobody'sgoing to hand that stuff to us for free and we're already operating on Razortinmargins as it is, and now you know you have to how many pairs ofgloves do. You have to perperson how many masks per person perday things like that that I think are unknown, and you know if we're justspending that money, it's gonna, it's going to tank US pretty fast, yeah, and,and so it's it's it's this new normal. It's new inventory also, I see there'san opportunity for, and you've done this, even with your own website,almost supporting our friends, you have a page on your website with eighthwonder: Fluff Bake Bar Southern, so I mean so many others. Is there an opportunity for a communityfinancial institution, a bank or a credit union to almost build acommunity page to promote these local businesses these these restaurants,these bars in a more direct manner, because if, if we truly are in thistogether, let's put our money where our mouth is right. Absolutely I think if,if you know you think about it, like you know, it's we're forbetter, worse, we're in a virtualworld right now and we need to have like a virtual neighborhood too for allof our all of our close friends and yeah there's. You know people are still goin to be using. Youknow, amazons going to be as busy as they've ever been things like that, butI think that there's going to be a point where, if you want a little bitmore...

...authenticity to some of the goods thatyou're buying, you need to keep supporting those local businesses andthost like creative people in your community that are, you know, trying totase low wall were living in an unknown world of like what next month likewhatnext week, what next month and but until there's a vaccine. What that alllooks like technology has transformed our worldand digital has changed the way: Consumers shopfor and by financialservices forever. Now, consumers make purchased decisions long before theywalk into a branch if they walk into a branch at all, but your financial brandstill wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growsh can feelconfusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing andsales leader, but it doesn't have to because James Robert wrote the bookthat guides you every step of the way along your digital gross journey visit,www d, digital growth, docom to get a preview of banking on digital growth.It is a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to save financialbrands and it is packed full of practical amprovent insight. You canuse to confidently generate ten times more loans and deposits. Now back tothe Shell, I'm gon Ta hypothesize with you on this'cause, you brought up the idea of the concept of the take and bake. You knowmy wife and I we have four kids we're talkin about this before it's it's alot of mouths tefeed, but wee we've done something that take an bakeconcepts now, but I'm a financial brand. I work in marketing and I I'm lookingto promo local businesses, local restaurants, cocal bars ihave. Thisidea to where I want to go and talk to ten restaurants and see if they'd beopen an almost doing like a like a taken bake but like a facebook, live how to cook thatLasagna and how to how to make it myself at home, but it gives thatrestaurant some publicity within the community, the digital community, ofthat financial brand on facebook, in something that can be shared and and bea little bit more organic local. If you will, is that a concept that you thinkother restaurants from your from your perspective might be inclined tocollaborating with a a local community institution to co, create some consenttogether. I would think that restaurants and kind of just thehospitality business in general, if, if you were going through this processlike narrow, mindedly, you're screwed like there, so I thinkpeople need to be open to every idea. I think they, you know just you gottofigure out like how you're going to produce it. What like are peoplegetting paid for it? I I think, t there's a lot of ways that somethinglike that could work, but also you know, maybe it's to help benefitpeople in the hospital industry, and things like thatthat are, I think, that, now more than ever, weneed to create a community, that's kind of helping each other, and I think thatin the hospitality business we always want, you know want to like who wantyou and your family and your four kid than like to comment tit down and, likeyou know, escape for a minute. So I think in our restaurant. So now we haveto figure out how to do that in people's like living rooms and in theirhome offices, but then in a way that they feel good about what they're doing.So, if they're spending money to have like a cook at home with your family class, orsomething like that, I think it would be interesting if it could beinteractive as well Anto. You can communicate with the chefs. That would be like Youresaying with that whole facebook live but being able to you know. I always think that there'sgoing to be...'s going to be that personal shiftinteraction situation and you know maybe it's a small amount of money, butmaybe it's something that if you do enough of those classes like it, itmakes sense for you to have your cooks there doing the classes andteaching them how to talk to guess 'cause. I mean yeah just talking to my peers over texand you know quick phone conversations about. What's next, it's like you know, are you going to rush to a restaurantonce they lift some of the mandates are. Areyou going to go to a restaurant? You Know A. are there still going to beopen kitchens when you go to restaurants or are they going to likeTok plastic screens up like it's there's so many things that I think thatare going tochange the trends that have happened that I think a lot of guests like that?Probably you're going to have to go away. So how do we keep creating thatexperience? Wor people going forward that isn't just like this reallysterile feeling unsafe. When your waiter comes up to you with a mask andgloves on or something like that, so that's a that's a really point: it'sit's yeah! They might lift some of this, but we've been so psychologically scarred. If you will,then it's going to take some time before we build courge to go back upand venture out and and be around people. I see this is where once again,the financial brands can can come together a and support the localcommunity beyond just giving access to loans, but also being part of thepromotion of some of these local restaurant and barbrands. I May I'veeven made recommendations to a couple of clients. You K W work with your yourlocal bars to do a virtual happy hour and then bring in like a solo show, andeveryone can just kindof have that sense of community and just exactly, Ithink, that's really smart and I think that's like kind of the h 's part of the direction that wereedingwork and nothing is off the table now yeah yeah Y, you know Y we'retalking about community and I know that Chris Shepherd He. He started thesouthern smoke foundation. You werep kind of he came early on and you allere. Having conversations can you talk about what the Southern SmokeFoundation is? What it's doing, because I think it's another model that lookingat it objectively from the outside you're, not even waiting for financialinstitutions to provide support to the hospitality industry, the hospitalityindustry, as almost created some type of a financial vehicle mechanism tosupport one another, which I find to be very fascinating, Andi, think it has to do with a lot. Imean tere. Most people that are in the restaurant business are pretty like. Ilike thething, pretty hard people. They don't like to take hand out they. Don'tI like to ask for help, so I think what Chris has done if he put it, setit up in a way that you know it's we're helping each other, we're not justholding our hands out asking for money, and I think that it's changed a lot. Imean it started out a the way to raise money for one of Chris's, oldest friends, Antonio,when he got diagnosed with MS and then when Harvey Hid. It was like all right.We need to pivot this to helping people affected by Harvey and obviously nowit's like you know, the hospitality business isgoing to take one of the hardest hits. I mean they. They took the immediatehit on this, but the supply chain of what happend,through the hospitality business, with delivery drivers, farmers, you knowit's it's going to be huge. What is going to be affected by it and soimmediately yeah you're your bark under your weight or allthese people like Theyr, they lost their jobs instantly. There was no likeholding on Tohim for a couple of weeks to see what happened it was. It was ayou know, no money in... money out, and you know most peopledon't know. Restaurants are on fifteen to thirty day. You know net. So there all everyone's bills are comingDu right about now reugably. So you got a lot of suppliers that are, you know, askhing for those fifteen.Twenty five thousand dollar checks to cover all your dry goods for the pastmonth, or something like that. So I think that there's just with southern smoke, I think itwas. It is an amazing way that Chris's and his team that he's ground throughyou know just the initial idea of like let's throw a party and raise thememoney into like this like Jugger, not of like you know, pasically helped thereproviding you know just transitioned, but I think it's Goingto e continue togrow and I think a lot of people are going to look at that model andunderstand like this is how you can really help a community yeah. I mean if,if I was working at a financial bran and I was committed to supporting thelocal community, this is an example and for context- and this was late March.Southern Smoke Foundation had received thirty five hundred applications forhospitality workers that were either laid off or furload because of Coveanineteen en numbers going to seventeen thousand in just a few weeks but um. Iknow that the Restaurant Workers' community foundation out of New Yorkvowd to give half of its fun raising the southern spoke so is generatingmillions of dollars. That is better than being transitioned back into thehospitality community. Any financial, brank cand look at this and say wow,that's something that I can get involved with and support, eitherfinancially or in other ways, just promotionally wise, because it's aboutreally people helping people at this point exactly as we wrap up you know you V, you'vegot an audience of Financial Brand Marketing Team, sells teams, leadershipteams. Listening to this, what is one recommendation that you canmake to them from you know you you in the hospitality industry, 'cause W!This is g. You know twelve months. Eighteen months is what I'm projectingand what I'm making recommendations round strategically operationally forfinancial brands and then what happens after that? You know it's it's still too fuzzy, butthat's what a lot of people are projecting for us to get through thistogether. What's one recommendation that you can make to to help someonelike your community from their perspective of of financial services? I think it's creating a model so that businesses canhivit on that model and and start seeing some growth again. I think thata lot of like pull service, restaurants that are in in the takeout business like here, youknow, if you do, if you've gone to, you know, let's say you're only operatingat twenty percent of where you need to be like. Where do you need to be to bring back the number of employeethat makes sense to get you at least a fifty percent, or something like thatlike? There is? No, I mean, if yeah, of course, if you canget businesses whole again, that would be amazing and I I do thinksome are seeing that, because you know they're just saying like look, you knowit's maybe with a barbecue restaurant or something like I stand in line ofthe barbecue place, I don't get to sit down in the barbeque place, but I stillknow that they're doing like a start to finish, they're filling their smokersand emptying their smokers at the end of the day and they're done yeah, maybethey're not selling as much beer on site, or you know soft drinksor something like that, but I just think figuring on a way that you canhelp the businesses pivot into like a digital world without upfront cost tothem. That's huge right there. So I think that's like such a great keytakeway to end on, and I'm going to summarize that almost pulling together for lack ofbetter word, a community innovation...

...collaboration project facilitated bythe local financial brand, to bring together different people fromdifferent businesses to solve real problems for a digital first world isthat is that a fair summary of that thinking absolutely, and I think a lotof us come from the old school where we didn't. This, isn't like anything thatwe ever thought we'd have to wrap our heads around yeah yeah. Well, speakingof now wrapping our heads round it it it is it's happening so fast continue yeah that Yeah Wer, just you know justat never, never my wildest dreams, woul. I think that you know we're going tosell restaurants that I love going to withmy wife for special occasions now are going to be selling a hundred percentof all the food they sell. Online is a crazy thing to think about. It really is, and it's almost like youknow what happened years ago when, like the blue aprons of the world, came outthat it wasn't taking bake. It was almost like ship and bake, but that'shappening almost at a local market level. Now so it's strange times forsure, but I I see a lot of opportunity for those and to really use your words,those that can can adapt and can pivot and not get stuck in that that oldthinking 'cause the world's ever going to be the same again, hey se. Thank youso much for the conversation today, man a was good lways good here in Fratigi.If anyone has o, including me Y. Ah, if anyone has questions for you ecause,you just bring such unique perspective and they want to connect. They want tosay hello, what's the best way for them to do that? Obviously emailing. I think I've provided some ofthat stuff and then you know social media insgram face books. I mean I, I think hy perspective islimited, but you know I've been in the restaurant business, my entire life-and you know kind of gathering as much information from friends as possible totry and understand, like the problems were Goingta face, and you know lookinto that magic, atball yeah, sir. So hat thanks again forjoining me on another episode of banking on digital growth. All right.Thank you until next time be well, do good and wash your hands. Thank you for. Listening to anotherepisode of banking on Digital Growth with James Robert Lay Likewha, you heartell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on Itunes, stitcheror spotify, and subscribe, while you're there to get even more practical,anprovent insight that can guide you and your financial brand along yourdigital growth journey visit. WWW do digital growth dotcom to get a previewof James Roberts upcoming book banking on Digital Growth, a strategicmarketing manifesto to save financial brands inside you'll, find a strategicblueprint framed her on twelve key areas of focus that empower you toconfidently generate ten times more in loans and deposits. Until next time bewell and do good.

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