Some of the most inspiring businesses are born out of a sense of passion: a love for serving up amazing food, a drive to provide top-notch customer service, or simply the dream of launching something completely new and unprecedented.
At DoorDash, we're inspired by the passion that goes into the work of our partners, so we've decided to highlight some of them in an ongoing video series. For this first one, learn how the founders of Montreal-based Roch Le Coq took the dream of starting a business with friends and ran with it, finding a recipe for success in the process. Watch the video to hear chef Oussama Ben Tanfous tell the story in his own words, and read more about his journey below.
Bringing fried chicken to Montreal
In a city known for roasted, rotisserie-style chicken, Roch Le Coq stands out. Serving tasty fried chicken and homemade poutine with delicious, crispy sides like fries and coleslaw, the restaurant was founded with the desire to make outstanding fried chicken accessible in Montreal.
Chef Oussama Ben Tanfous founded Roch Le Coq in 2019 with a group of friends. The idea came to them after a day where Oussama cooked a batch of 400 chicken wings for his friends at a local park. He explains, “I said, you know what, let’s start a fried chicken place. Instead of just doing this with my friends, let’s make a living out of it. And that’s how Roch Le Coq came to be.”
A partnership with your best friends makes it a whole different experience. When you work hard, it’s going to be for you and your friends. It makes the whole thing so much more fun.
Carving your own path
Sometimes, it’s worth it to do something different. Facing few competitors in the fried chicken space, and combined with a mouthwatering menu of fried chicken sandwiches, buckets, and more, Oussama and his friends had a recipe for success. Shortly after their launch in 2019, they had more business than they knew what to do with. They even had to disconnect their phone to slow down incoming orders to a more manageable pace.
It was more than the team had even dreamed of for their business. “After opening, we had a line up until the corner, and then one of the best food critics of the city said it was one of the best fried chicken she ever had,” Oussama recalls. “We did in one month two-thirds of what we thought we were going to do in a year.”
Pivoting business models with a delivery partnership
When COVID-19 hit, Oussama and his business partners reevaluated their business model and saw an opportunity for growth by bringing on a third-party delivery partner. “We tried to deliver ourselves for about three days,” Oussama laughs. “It was really hard. We were so busy, and the phone was ringing, and we couldn’t answer.”
Not long after, Roch Le Coq signed up for a partnership with DoorDash and quickly saw their sales skyrocket. “We were getting 61% of orders from new customers. Even our DoorDash reps were impressed with all the people who were ordering from us,” Oussama explains.
DoorDash’s integration with their POS system through Deliverect was key for keeping operations running smoothly. Instead of spending time answering phone calls, Oussama and team can now focus on what they do best: cooking great fried chicken and serving up delicious meals, whether that’s on-premise or delivered directly to customers.
We started delivering with DoorDash and we doubled our sales in three weeks. It changed our life. Now, the integration of DoorDash helps us save time and labor. We went from almost zero to thirty-two employees in a really short time.
Expanding with strategic marketing tools
Today, Roch Le Coq keeps business booming with thoughtful marketing strategies. One of their most popular ideas has been launching pop-up collaborations with renowned chefs—a recent example being a donut chicken sandwich co-created with “Donut King” Rémy Couture, owner of Montreal’s Cremy Patisserie. These specials are available for in-store dining or delivery, ensuring more customers can access the tasty creations.
Additionally, Oussama and team drive sales by using DoorDash marketing tools to connect with customers. “DashPass is my favorite product. It’s a great way to keep customers coming back,” Oussama explains. He’s also a fan of Storefront, which Roch Le Coq uses, because it aligns with customers who prefer to order directly from the restaurant’s website and save on fees.
Building a strong team
With the growth in his business, Oussama has been able to invest more time into supporting his staff. Of course there have been a few growing pains in going from zero to thirty-two employees, but maintaining a positive team culture has always been top of mind for Oussama. “The vibe in the restaurant has always been really important to me. We treat our customers like friends, which makes for an overall positive vibe, so people enjoy working here,” he explains. “Plus, managing delivery orders through DoorDash means I have more time to help them in the kitchen.”
Oussama sees his role as a business owner as more than just being a good boss. When asked about his favorite part of owning a company, he says it’s his ability to help others. An immigrant himself, Oussama has sponsored the immigration of an employee from Nicaragua, helping him find legal work at his restaurant in Canada. “I’m helping them out because I have the power to do it,” he explains.
Finding the sweet spot
At the end of the day, Oussama is more than happy with how Roch Le Coq has grown and evolved. The restaurant has been a way for Oussama and his friends to build something together as a team: Roch Le Coq is a business that’s also personally meaningful. Plus—being one of the first restaurants to start the Montreal fried chicken trend is truly something to be proud of.
Oussama smiles and explains, “It was a hell of a ride in the beginning, but it brought all of us closer. I really love what I’m doing right now, and I’m really happy about it.”
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