Learn how this Austin restaurant opened and thrived during COVID-19 with DoorDash as their partner.
Based in Austin, Texas, Cocky Teriyaki is known for their tasty Seattle-style chicken teriyaki, a large portion of chicken that’s first marinated, then char-broiled and served with mounds of Calrose rice and a side salad.
Founder Alex Brockway opened Cocky Teriyaki in early 2020 with the dream of bringing this delicious dish to Texas. “I penciled out the numbers and said, if that many people like it in Seattle, there’s got to be a market for it here. The rest is history: we’re doing Seattle-style teriyaki here in Austin.”
Though teriyaki chicken appeals to a wide range of customers—kids and adults alike—Alex had to learn quickly on his feet to pull off a successful launch in the middle of a pandemic. With a 1,500-square-foot facility and limited foot traffic, Cocky Teriyaki needed to establish a strong marketing presence to attract customers, as well as grow their delivery and pickup services.
Alex explains, “The old model—30% food, 30% labor and 30% fixed costs—that's not necessarily an accurate representation anymore.” Instead, he looked to third party partners to help boost his bottom line.
“We embraced technology from the very beginning, because we knew that was the way to be successful in the long run,” Alex notes.
Owner, Cocky Teriyaki
Cocky Teriyaki was one of the first restaurants to embrace DoorDash Self-Delivery, which allowed him to deliver DoorDash orders using his own drivers. “We’re a smaller restaurant, so we did the math on it and we figured if we started delivering just our in-house orders, it would be a sizable savings. Ultimately, Self-Delivery was a great way to get extra support for our operations.” When not delivering orders, Alex’s drivers offer an extra set of hands in the kitchen.
Cocky Teriyaki was also one of the first restaurants to pilot Flexible Fulfillment, which allows a business to toggle between Self-Delivery and Dashers based on radius or time of day.
“Setting up the Flexible Fulfillment really was the key to our success with DoorDash,” Alex explains. “We were able to keep our drivers within the most efficient radius. Also, our cars going around with car toppers have been a great marketing strategy. It helps put our name around town.”
Today, Alex also taps into DoorDash marketing tools like “First Delivery Free” to grow and nurture his customer base. He also uses Toast and ItsaCheckmate integrations to keep operations running smoothly across teams and locations.
Today, 50% of Cocky Teriyaki’s orders come from DoorDash, which is twice as much as he gets through other platforms.
Cocky Teriyaki is getting ready to open its next location—a ghost kitchen with a virtual space—thanks in part to orders through DoorDash Self-Delivery. Three additional locations are planned for the coming year.
Because of everything he has learned in the past year, Alex is confident in his ability to generate the same—or better—sales out of his new location. “DoorDash gets two thumbs up in our book for their customer service and willingness to work with restaurants and treat us more as a partner rather than an indentured servant.”
Alex sums it up, “We spent our first year learning how to do it all: market ourselves on the internet, sell food online to be delivered or picked up by a customer, with DoorDash as a partner. That gave us the opportunity to go into one of these virtual kitchens for a significantly lower cost of entry—with both the know-how and the knowledge.”