Sometimes, all it takes is one inspiring moment to trigger a great idea. That’s how it happened for Raquel Navarro, owner of See.Eat.Love. Local Food Tours in Oakland, CA. While visiting Washington, D.C., on a business trip in 2014, she had a few spare hours to spend sightseeing around the city. She signed up for a food tour—an activity she’d never done before.
About The Business: Founded in 2014 | One Employee
“I tried it and LOVED it, and that day I decided I’d start one of my own,” Navarro said.
Now, See.Eat.Love. offers tours in three Oakland neighborhoods: Uptown, Old Oakland and the Warehouse District. Each one focuses on local favorites, while sprinkling in new restaurants that are making a splash in the city’s eclectic culinary scene.
“We eat and drink and have a jolly old time,” Navarro said. She keeps an average of eight or 10 people on each tour to cultivate a really intimate atmosphere.
A Clunky Booking System
Navarro already had a booking system when she found ZOZI. It wasn’t easy for her customers to use, and the backend was difficult for her to navigate.
"It just wasn’t visually enticing for the customer to see on my site," she said. "It was definitely time for an upgrade."
With an infant son and just a few limited hours in the morning to work on managing See.Eat.Love., Navarro needed a system that allowed her to see her schedule quickly and manage bookings seamlessly, from one place. After all, her son, Isaac, was a big catalyst for wanting to move into the food tour business in the first place.
“He spurred me to leave my traditional 9-to-5 job, so I could be more flexible and be able to hang out with my munchkin,” she laughed.
See.Eat.Love. + ZOZI
The See.Eat.Love. website features gorgeous photos of local dishes, tasty desserts, and tour groups having a blast. With ZOZI, Navarro’s customers can easily browse her tour options and book right there, with all the details they need to feel excited and ready to attend the tour.
“We had everything up and running on ZOZI in less than a week!” Navarro said. “More than anything, it’s the functionality and the ease of booking that’s made a difference—ZOZI’s really been delivering on that.”
Favorite Features: Clean, Beautiful Look | Easy To Book | Simplistic Backend
A Custom Experience, From Hors D’Oeuvres To Desserts
“It’s more than just visiting restaurants and spice shops, eating donuts, etc.” Navarro said.
She arranges talks with chefs, behind-the-scenes kitchen walkthroughs and meetings with owners outside service hours to offer a truly unique experience.
Now that her customers can book on ZOZI Advance, the care and attention she gives during her food tours is mirrored throughout the entire booking process.
When a customer books on her site, they receive an automated confirmation email and reminder about the tour. After the tour ends, Navarro sends an automated follow-up email that thanks her customers and reminds them to leave a review on Yelp.
“It’s nice to have those automated emails. I don’t have to worry about doing that extra step of following up—it’s already done!” she said.
Navarro also offers gift cards online, so customers can give a food tour as a present. With ZOZI’s gift card customization, she’s able to sell her gift cards for a discounted price, lower than the actual value.
“Someone can buy a gift card with a $95 value, for $80 dollars. It’s going to be great for holiday promotion,” Navarro said as she preps for the winter season ahead.
Cooking Up More For The Future
“I’d like there to be so much demand that I need to have three tours each weekend,” Navarro said.
Currently, she leads one tour every weekend, each one happening once a month.
Not including her dog, the "Chief Morale Officer," and Isaac, her 2-year-old cutie salesman who can seal the deal with any client, See.Eat.Love. is a team of one. Now that she’s managing her bookings online with ZOZI, Navarro’s looking to hire her first employee.
“I’d like to justify hiring one or two more guides in the future,” she said. “We’ll have all three tours happening every single weekend.”