When his son was born in 2017, restaurateur Bruno Megido moved from Mexico City to Tulum, a coastal town in northeast Mexico with a slower pace of life. There he decided to combine his love for sushi and expertise in Mexican cuisine and open Ukami — a Japanese-Mexican fusion restaurant.
The eatery, which seats 30 guests and offers an eclectic menu of Japanese rock shrimp tacos and spicy salmon tostadas, attracts tourists and locals alike. But Bruno says running a business in Tulum comes with a unique challenge: There is little-to-no cell phone service where Ukami is located so Bruno mostly relies on the internet and the WhatsApp Business app to run his operation.
“WhatsApp Business accounts for 100 percent of our takeout business,” says Bruno. “Since we began using it in July 2018, I think it has helped free up 80 percent of my work time. Deliveries and sales have increased by at least 30 percent.”
Ukami's WhatsApp Business phone number is prominently featured on its website and Bruno insists it is an important way for his restaurant to connect with customers.
The app's quick replies feature is one of Bruno's favorite tools; allowing him to communicate with clients more efficiently than ever before. He adds that the away messages feature means customers hear from Ukami immediately, regardless of the time of day.
Customers also like interacting with Bruno via WhatsApp.
“It is a type of personalized attention,” says Gloria Zúñiga, who uses the private messaging service to place takeout orders at Ukami. “And that makes for a more loyal client.”
Bruno has no regrets about swapping his fast-paced life in Mexico City for the slow, relaxed way of living Tulum offers. In fact, he says it is the perfect place to grow a unique restaurant — in a booming tourist hub where a global mix of people and cuisines are always coming together.