About Hruska's Kolaches
In Cory Hruska's hometown of Houston, which boasts the largest Czech population of any US state, Czech culture and food were part of their way of life. When he and his siblings Ross and Devin moved to Utah, they saw an opportunity to bring kolaches, a beloved Czech pastry, to their new home.
In 2014, while they were still full-time students at Brigham Young University, the siblings opened Hruska's Kolaches using a variation of their great-grandmother's recipe. Their made-from-scratch kolaches feature buttery dough with fillings made from fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and other ingredients. Needless to say, it took off. Hruska's Kolaches now has four locations across Utah with additional plans to expand.
"All of us had a knack for it," said Cory. "I used to sell empanadas around the neighborhood when I was younger. We were always cooking and side-hustling throughout our teenage years."
Hruska's Kolaches is primarily a takeout operation with minimal dine-in seating. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they developed their own next-day delivery system, but found that managing the logistics and hiring drivers was too complicated and ultimately not profitable.
"With our own delivery system, people had to order 24 hours in advance, and we didn't have same-day online ordering,” explained Cory. "We had to have a bunch of rules in order to make sure it didn't bog down our operations."
Cory needed a way to better manage deliveries and also reach new customers to continue to grow the business — all while maintaining their affordable prices.
DoorDash is like having a whole team on-demand. Between customer support, the Merchant Portal, drivers, and other tools, it's like adding ten people to your staff for just the price of commission.
After some initial hesitation, Hruska's Kolaches joined DoorDash in February 2021. "I was afraid of cannibalizing our current customers," explained Cory. "But the biggest thing with DoorDash is you reach a totally different consumer than our walk-ins. We were able to penetrate a whole new market segment with DoorDash." With DoorDash, Hruska's could finally offer same-day delivery to customers with no restrictions.
Hruska's also launched Storefront, which allowed them to add online pickup and delivery ordering to their existing website — giving customers another way to place same-day orders.
Before DoorDash, Cory thought he could only achieve this level of flexibility by hiring additional staff. "DoorDash is like having a whole team on-demand. Between customer support, the Merchant Portal, drivers, and other tools, it's like adding ten people to your staff for just the price of commission."
Cory and his team also learned how to bring not just their food, but the Hruska's brand experience, to customers through DoorDash. Today, their deliveries include branded packaging, personalized notes, and helpful heating instructions.
In one month, overall sales across Hruska's Kolaches' four locations have gone up by 10%. Between April and June 2021, they saw a 46% increase in DoorDash sales and 34% increase in DoorDash orders. Customers also began placing larger orders, as Hruska's average DoorDash ticket size increased by 25% in the same time period.
The incremental revenue not only fueled their expansion plans, but allowed them to offer additional benefits to their employees. "All the extra money has been given back to our staff. It helps us take care of our people in a lot of different ways," Cory said.
DoorDash also enabled Cory to experiment with an off-premise-only ghost kitchen concept for a nighttime pop-up. He advises other restaurant operators to make DoorDash work for their unique needs. "The DoorDash system is more flexible than others," said Cory. "So I've been able to make DoorDash work for me, instead of the other way around."
Looking ahead, Cory wants to open more locations (which will all have DoorDash and Storefront) and use DoorDash to optimize their online presence. "Customers like easy," said Cory. "When you're associated with simplicity, it becomes a habit for customers. So our goal is to create an online experience that’s as seamless as possible."