Everyone’s number one favorite activity has been a source of inspiration for near countless tech companies. Aiming to disrupt society’s most beloved pastime, there are now what feels like limitless ways to do what we do best: eat.
However, while many startups miss the mark in this disruption, Maple is thriving. A food delivery service that boasts New York’s best chefs, the highest quality ingredients and rotating daily menus, Maple is the on-demand dining app you actually need.
Despite having an impeccable product, Maple has also grown to the level it has today due to tactful marketing efforts and strategic planning. To break down how they’ve been able to achieve such success, we sat down with Maple’s VP of Growth, Michael Weiss.
1. What marketing strategy have you found to be most successful and why do you think that this?
Referral has been our most successful channel to bring new customers to Maple. Food is such a social experience that when our customers are given the opportunity to gift something that they like to their friend, significant other or colleague, it's a win-win-win for everyone.
2. Was there a strategy you were surprised that worked as well as it did, or one you believed would be an inherent success, but didn't live up to expectations?
We launched a campaign last year when we only had one location to find out which neighborhoods we should expand to next. This was a big success that informed us where there was pent up demand for Maple, and also built a sizable list of people (and emails) that we reach out to when we launch in their desired neighborhood.
3. What branding efforts can be attributed to disrupting the sector Maple exists in and setting it apart from the competition?
We've tried to be thoughtful about every step of the delivery process. We started with a blank slate and because of our end-to-end business model we have been able to design every component of the experience for our customers, from what is on the menu to the ordering process to the packaging to the friendliness of the person delivering the food. Maple's brand is embedded in every part of the experience.
4. Have certain relationships or partnerships been driving factors in growing Maple's visibility?
Our guest chef partnerships have been great for visibility. To date we've offered special menus with David Chang, Christina Tosi, Dan Kluger, Mark Ladner and have some other exciting partnerships coming up. These collaborations give our customers an opportunity to try something very special that we've put together with some of the best chefs in the world, that they can't get anywhere else.
5. What marketing methods has Maple utilized that puts it face to face with the consumer? Do you make a point of attending events, shows etc to foster these user relationships?
We partner with brands we love for various events and catering opportunities, which brings us closer to their communities and helps us build new customer relationships. We designed special dishes and catered a large event for the Tribeca Film Festival this year, which was a lot of fun.
6. I've seen Maple featured in some pretty prominent and influential publications. What routes did you take to achieve this and in what way can both the quality of the service and active marketing efforts be attributed to this?
Prior to Maple's launch, we were really thoughtful about building key relationships - from the media to chef and brand partnerships. This enabled us to share Maple's story and mission with a wider audience, which is still a key tenant of our growth. That being said, we also offer a quality and unique delivery experience; we're very thankful that this continues to resonate with media, brand partners and customers as we introduce new menu items and collaborations and expand into more neighborhoods.
7. Any general advice you can offer early stage founders eager to garner as much visibility and success as Maple has?
It's not anything that early stage founders haven't heard before, but the best marketing you can do is to have a product that people love. We are constantly gathering feedback and talking to customers to learn what we can be doing better. From what I've seen, if you create value and give people something that they love, the visibility comes, but you can't skip the first step of focusing on product.
8. What new innovations can we expect to see from Maple in the near future?
When Maple first opened, we offered 3 dishes for each meal. Today, we've expanded our menu to closer to 10 dishes, additional sides (our hummus is a personal favorite), desserts and drinks including juices, wine, beer, and soda. We also recently rolled out our Business Account and Catering products to select customers to make it easier to order lunch and dinner to the office and home. I can't share too many specifics but you'll see us continue to introduce some more products and features to continue to make Maple the go-to option for ordering in.