Entering 2021 with a recap of 2020
What an eventful, uncertain, crazy rollercoaster 2020 was for all of us around the Globe. I think I speak for all of us foodies here in Ontario when I say we really FELT the effects of these lockdowns. If you managed to survive, we applaud you. No really, give yourself a tap on the back. We know it was not the easiest of tasks figuring out your next moves when no one really knew what was going to happen next. Often we found ourselves maneuvering through new covid restrictions and lock downs after lock downs trying to figure out how to maintain our dine-in sales during a pandemic. But with a remarkable team and loyal customers who miss us as much as we miss them, we made it into 2021. And for this we are so thankful.
Despite the lemons that were thrown our way last year, we managed to accomplish a lot as a restaurant and brand. We completed our Toronto PHO rebrand project that included beautiful new murals at all 3 locations done by a very talented local artist named Leslie Phelan. We also started our journey of going green with new paper packaging that included more witty art by Leslie Phelan.
2020 forced us to put our thinking caps on when it came to transforming the Toronto PHO experience into a convenient take out item. When your star dish is a dine-in dish this can get difficult to do. We conducted a little market research and we listened to what our customers wanted the most out of this experience. Everyone said 10/10 times that it was the broth. So now the question remained how do we bring the piping hot broth over tender pieces of rare beef/well-done beef, veggies and noodles experience home to them? Our answer was the reusable aluminum pots. These pots were a game changer. Imagine being able to have that restaurant quality hot broth at home? The best part of the pot is that you can heat your broth directly on the stovestop. Yes. You can heat it on the stovetop and no it will not burn. You can even wash these and reuse them again. We tested the larger pots out with our PHO Platters earlier on in the year and the response was great. We recently tried our smaller pots during our second annual FREE PHO event on Christmas Eve and the responses were even better.
Our Jane street location had a change in hours in 2020. We decided near the end of the year to extend our hours. We are now open until 2 am at that location every day. We would like to think we are helping our customers make healthy late-night munchie decisions. We even created a faux drive-through window to make all pick-ups quick and convenient.
We went live on Ritual in 2020 as well. While we still are on other third-party apps, we urge customers to use Ritual as they don’t charge us as much as the others do. Oh and if you didn’t know you can also order pick up through ritual with no fee to you or us!
We ended 2020 with an event that meant a lot to us. Our second annual FREE PHO event was a success! We started this tradition in 2019 because we truly believed that no one should be left alone during the holidays and that everyone deserves a holiday meal. Last year more than ever we felt compelled to host this event for the community because it was the communities that help keep our doors open during a pandemic. It’s only fair we give back. On Christmas Eve we were able to serve 1200 bowls of PHO across three of our locations. We did not think so many people would support this event but the outpouring of love we got was beautiful. Thank you so much for all the reposts and tags! We had people lining up outside our doors almost half an hour before we opened! Our staff was ready and had the bowls flying out the door with no interruptions. Everything went smooth sailing and we are so thankful for that! We were so happy to see so many of your faces once again! We hope to double the number of bowls we give away next year.
Overall, this year was different from any year we have had so far but it taught us a lot about adapting, dedication, commitment, and most importantly about the power of community. We have a few new things up our sleeves for 2021. Follow us on our socials for updated posts on new menu items, packaging, and events. We look forward to serving the community for many years to come! Thank you for supporting local businesses like ourselves. We are in this together! Stay safe Ontario and cheers to 2021!