Honey’s Kettle in Los Angeles is named after the unique way they cook their legendary, fresh-fried chicken. The technique — perfected over the last 50 years by chef and owner Vincent Williams — is inspired by past family recipes, but adapted for modern times.
Their crispy, golden fried chicken is just the beginning — the popular restaurant is also known for its buttery biscuits, hotcakes, kettle fries, cole slaw, and more. Vincent co-owns Honey’s Kettle with his son, Trent, who handles the restaurant’s marketing efforts.
Trial by fire
The first location of Honey’s Kettle, which opened in Compton, California in 2000, presented Vincent with some challenges.
“I made tons and tons of mistakes,” Vincent says. “I actually thought for a minute there that hard work didn't pay off because I was just working hard and wasn't really getting anywhere.”
When a new space became available in Culver City five years later, Vincent saw an opportunity for a fresh start — but a devastating fire hit the restaurant four months later, threatening the family’s livelihood. But this didn’t stop Vincent from rebuilding again, and he added another location in Downtown Los Angeles a few years later.
Picking up the pieces
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Honey’s Kettle lost 50% of its business overnight. Honey’s Kettle has overcome many challenges, and the pandemic was no different. “We all had to come together and figure out how to make it work,” Trent says. This meant looking at the restaurant with a new lens, both from an operational and marketing standpoint. At the time, Trent, who has an industrial design background, was working on a website rebrand and wanted to create a better online experience for customers.
Our website should be our website. It should be about our restaurant, not about the delivery platform. Storefront keeps our customers on the main focus, which is Honey's Kettle.
Trent was intrigued by Storefront, a commission-free online ordering platform from DoorDash that lives on merchants’ websites. Storefront’s clean, customer-friendly platform appealed to him. “It was a perfect, new thing to just clean up our website and make it simple for customers that come to our website,” Trent says.
Prior to Storefront, customers would often call in their orders, creating a confusing and inefficient operation. Phones were constantly ringing, and staff were forced to divide their attention between phone orders and in-store customers.
“If you think about the archaic way of phone orders, somebody had to write down the order and then put it in the receipt docket,” Trent explains. “If you have 50 of those, there's no way for our staff to even know what time these orders are coming.”
Using Storefront provided an easy, convenient way for customers to place online orders directly from the Honey’s Kettle website. Storefront was also great for profitability — with no commission or setup fees other than credit card processing, the restaurant soon regained the lost sales from earlier in the pandemic and even saw a 20% increase in overall sales. In the seven months it’s been active, Storefront has increased their sales by 62.5%. “The online orders just took off; it got to such a pace that we were creating like a half an inch stack of tickets within 10 minutes,” Vincent says.
The biggest bonanza of Storefront is that it's commission-free. I mean, you can’t beat it.
Out with the old, in with the new
During the pandemic, the restaurant had to quickly overhaul their operations to accommodate the new influx in online orders. For Vincent, that meant turning the restaurant into a production facility focusing on takeout.
“At one point, the orders were coming so fast that we had to augment our kitchen to accommodate the increased volume, because we had always kind of operated under a lower capacity,” he explains. “We had to double the capacity by changing our production and adding more fryers.” Their pivot paid off — in the seven months since Honey’s Kettle launched on Storefront, they’ve had $241,898 in sales. Combined with their sales from the DoorDash App, the total for that period was $628,533.
For Honey’s Kettle, being open to new ideas — and quickly taking action — are key to growing their business. “We had to figure out a new way of operating because this was totally new for us,” Trent says. “Once we did some modifications to the restaurant, it just became part of what we do.”
Advice for other business owners
Trent advises other restaurant operators to embrace new technology.
“I would tell other business owners to get on [Storefront] as soon as possible,” Trent says. "New can be a little bit frightening, but new is also great.”
And while Vincent admits that he used to be a little old school when it came to technology, he now knows the importance of utilizing all the digital tools at their disposal. “As a business owner, you have to avail yourself of all the latest, greatest stuff. And if you’re not, you’re behind,” he says.
DoorDash is evolving with new products and new systems. We want to be on the cutting edge of those changes that are taking place, because it could be the difference between surviving or not.
Ready to sign up for Storefront?
Join Honey’s Kettle and other restaurants using Storefront to fuel their growth, commission-free. Learn more about Storefront's online ordering platform and what it can do for your business.
Already partnered with DoorDash and looking to add an online ordering system to your own website? Sign up for Storefront today.