Benchwarmers Pub & Grill, the second longest running bar in the Pacific Northwest, has evolved with the times and is finding Nextbite’s virtual brands as a great way to connect with nearby Eastern Oregon University’s students and their unsatiated desire for food delivery.
Located in La Grande, Oregon, Benchwarmers is a few miles from campus. They first introduced virtual brands in 2020 to survive the Covid economic downturn and it turned out that “College students loved ordering them,” explained Ray Sassaman, Regional Manager. “They’re very popular with the younger crowd!”
Originally, Sassaman selected the brands that had similar SKU’s and builds to Benchwarmer’s menu to make it easier on costs and staff. During the three years as a Nextbite partner his kitchen has fulfilled more than a dozen different virtual brands. “We have had a couple of duds and a few surprise superstars,” he explains. Orders from Nextbite’s brands are especially strong during late night, compared to his regular menu, and Sassaman and his team leverage those hours “until close” to drive incremental revenue.
With each new brand Benchwarmers adds, Nextbite provides SKU lists, build charts and training videos. “The training offered by Nextbite has been great,” says Sassaman. “The online hub, menu aides, and follow-up by Nextbite helped my staff learn all relevant recipe and procedures with ease,” he says. Because of the strength of the virtual brand business Benchwarmers recently took the opportunity to renew its menus and to align them more with the virtual brands it carries so as to simplify the job for his cooks.
“Our aim is to have great food and great service at reasonable prices,” says Sassaman. “Servicing our community and Eastern Oregon University through delivery-only virtual brands allows us to do that exceptionally well.”