Our first guest on the “Nothing’s Sacred” podcast is Ellis Winstanley, a serial entrepreneur in Austin who owns El Arroyo, Abel’s on the Lake, Hey! Sanitize, and other ventures.
He spoke to us about how COVID has impacted the restaurant industry, management lessons that he’s learned, and what he looks for when hiring employees.
Nothing’s Sacred: Episode 3 Transcript
Nick Schenck: [00:00:00] What’s up everyone? Welcome to Episode 3 of the Nothing’s Sacred podcast by recruiAability. I’m your co-host Nick Schenck, and I’m here with Nad Elias, the other co-host, and we are joined today by Ellis Winstanley, the owner of El Arroyo, and he’s got his hands in a bunch of other stuff too, which we’ll get into. So thanks so much for joining us.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:00:20] Yeah, sure. Thanks for having me.
Nad Elias: [00:00:22] Yeah. Ellis and I go way back. We actually went to UT about the same time, although we never crossed paths too much at that point, at least that we remember. But a couple of our favorite bars and establishments, Ellis worked at when he was in college, and tell us a bit about that.
You turned around and ended up buying those, right?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:00:49] Yeah. I started working on sixth street when I got to school at UT. I came down a summer early to take class -air quotes – and did one psychology class, went to bartending school, and then worked on sixth street. I remember walking down there like seven times with a shirt and tie, and then one night finally somebody said, “You can work here if you can start tonight.” I was like, “I’ll start right now.” And they’re like, “No, go get dressed, get presentable and come back to work.” Getting presentable was taking the tie off, and so I came back and worked the door.
Nick Schenck: [00:01:21] What drew you to just the restaurant industry? Were you just like, “Oh, this is just a great job you can get in college and flexible hours and I get to meet people” type thing or what?
Nad Elias: [00:01:30] Yeah. I mean, I just thought bartending was like fun for an 18-year-old. I mean, I think it’s fun in general, but then I was like, “Man, this is going to be a cool way to go through college.”
Nick Schenck: [00:01:38] And then what was the place that hired you?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:01:42] Side Street.
Nick Schenck: [00:01:44] Does that still exist?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:01:45] No, it was on Trinity between sixth and seventh. It was a wild place, man.
Nad Elias: [00:01:49] A lot of good stories from Side Street bar. Yeah, basically all the bars on sixth street that were once there when we were in school, aren’t there anymore. There’s a couple, maybe Blind Pig, Maggie Mae’s. There’s a couple around there. It’s the evolution of sixth street.
Nick Schenck: [00:02:08] Yeah. So you bartended. And how soon after you started bartending were you like, “I want to actually get into the restaurant business like post -graduation”?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:02:18] Well, so it wasn’t post-graduation. It was going out of business when I was 19, so I tried to buy it, but it didn’t work. And it was being sold for not very much money, but we were putting a lot of cash in the drawers. It shouldn’t have been going out of business. It just was, I guess, for a number of reasons. So it didn’t work out. And then a year later, I found Star Seeds Cafe. I was able to work out a creative deal. It was very distressed at the time and I was able to work out a creative deal to buy it.
Nick Schenck: [00:02:52] Okay.
Nad Elias: [00:02:53] And then how long after that was Cain and Abel’s?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:02:56] Cain and Abel’s was the next year.
So same thing, kind of a creative deal to buy it and kind of just grind it out, a lot of sweat equity.
Nad Elias: [00:03:05] See, Ellis bought my favorite bars in college.
Nick Schenck: [00:03:07] Were people telling you, like the restaurant industry is risky, maybe this isn’t where you…you don’t want to be buying these places? Did that happen, or were you just like, “No one can tell me anything, I’m going to do this”?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:03:23] I would say, I don’t remember a lot. I would say nothing really seems like a bad idea when you’re 19 or 20.
I remember going back and having lunch with some of my friends after buying Star Seeds and told them that, and they just started laughing and they were like, “Yeah, right.” I was like, “No, seriously.” It took me about five minutes to convince them that I wasn’t lying to them. And then Cain and Abel’s was the next year. Cain and Abel’s was between junior and senior year.
So I actually graduated from UT doing kind of a turnaround on Cain and Abel’s while I was sometimes going to class.
Nad Elias: [00:03:57] That’s great. That’s such a good story. And today, you still own Cain and Abel’s, right? And then the concept of Abel’s on the Lake came after that.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:04:06] Yeah, Abel’s on the Lake was 2009. That was a really interesting deal, too. We’dbeen spending…we hadn’t done a new restaurant deal since 2002 at that point. We were doing printing companies, turning around a group of printing companies, and then started building enterprise software to automate them. And then my wife – fiance at the time – wanted to rent that building to get married in it.
So I don’t know if you ever knew this story. She started calling on the sign. Yeah, there’s no way a bank controls this. There’s just no way we’re gonna rent this for a wedding. We’re gonna lease it to a restaurant that had been empty for like two years. So I’m kind of in the restaurant business – you know, I’m not kind of, I was in the restaurant [business] -so I’m in the restaurant business, I want to talk to you about it. I set up a meeting with the bank, and I went and talked to him. It was like a Thursday, I remember. And they started telling me the terms, and I was like, “Oh, that makes sense, we could actually make a run of this.” So we made them an offer the next morning, and I think by Monday, we had it under contract.
But it was a crazy deal. We end up with a bank as our business partner on the restaurant.
Nad Elias: [00:05:08] That is crazy.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:05:09] So the regulators weren’t thrilled about that, but it was a great deal for everybody.
Nad Elias: [00:05:12] I was telling Nick the story about it is just that location had been cursed for so many years. Right? I mean, just being in Austin and seeing, I think it was Lucy’s and Jake’s before that. It never could compete with Hula Hut, right?.
And then you guys came in and, you know, ended up for a couple of years there, beating out Hula Hut in alcohol sales, right?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:05:34] It was pretty competitive for a while. I don’t know if we ever surpassed them, but we’ve done really well there. We built a fantastic banquet business there.
We even have people already rebooking those now, by the way. It’s crazy. Booking weddings for next year and even October of this year. Wow. It’s fantastic. But, so it’s been a really good banquet business for us, but yeah, we’ve done really well there. We passed 10 years in May last year, so it’s 11 years now. Gosh.
Nad Elias: [00:06:02] That’s dinosaur years for restaurants. Yeah.
Nick Schenck: [00:06:04] What was the key to the turnaround? When you saw the place, did you immediately have a vision? Like if we do these three things, I think we’ll give it a good shot?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:06:13] Yeah, I mean, so I had a friend with a boat, which is the best way to have access to a boat.
And then we’d hang out there on the cove across from there. We’d drive past it like, “This is crazy, man. That place just needs to be like a come-as-you-are, got a wet swimsuit? who cares, you know, just hang-out place. And I remember Lucy’s, I don’t think they did…or not Lucy’s, was it Lucy’s?
Nad Elias: [00:06:38] It was Lucy’s.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:06:39] Like they wouldn’t do queso. I think they owned Hula Hut also, and so they didn’t want to do queso or anything that would compete at all with Hula Hut. And there’s some restrictions there, but you’re able to do queso and some other stuff.
But, anyway, yeah, when they sold Chuy’s, I think they shut that down, and so they’d had an okay run of it. I don’t know if they were knocking it out of the park, but it was okay. We were number six. As we were watching it, I was like, “Man, this just needs to be come as you are. Like margaritas, beers on the lake, something casual.” And then the banquet thing, we built that upper deck to get married in it. And then we figured we were onto something because we kept getting bookings immediately. So it was pretty much full of weddings and corporate-related events from the weekend after our wedding.
Nad Elias: [00:07:31] That’s crazy. When I was in collegeit, it was a jazz and supper club, which I always thought was the weirdest concept. They had like a fancy restaurant, you know, right there next to next to Hula Hut, where there was a bunch of boats coming in and out, and it just, it never made it that long.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:07:49] What’s it called Jake’s on the Lake?
Nad Elias: [00:07:51] Jake’s Jazz and Supper Club? It was just something jazz, music-related. Anyway, the focus of this podcast and why we created is just talking about work trends, behaviors, what we see going forward and how it’s changed from what it was. I’m interested in your thoughts.
Let’s talk about the service industry first. Obviously, there’s some other businesses we can talk about, but in the service industry, in restaurants, what do you envision? What are some of the changes that you guys might be taking into account now? And we can talk about consumer behavior separately, but just specific to your employees and your workforce going forward, what are some of the things that you guys are putting in place or thinking about?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:08:36] So you got more workforce than you did. You’ve got employees that are focused on sanitizing, that’s new. You’ve got a bit more crowd control-type roles. You know, you’ve got all the PPE and all that stuff, masks and sanitizer and all the kind of increased – I mean, for the most part, restaurants already had pretty strict standardization requirements. You know, I mean, it’s not totally new to sanitize a restaurant.
Nad Elias: [00:09:05] Or it shouldn’t be.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:09:07] Right. It definitely should not be. And so yeah, there’s definitely increased requirements there. It’s gonna increase labor costs. It’s gonna slow down table turns at least for a while until it really becomes pattern.
Nad Elias: [00:09:26] For me, going to a restaurant is about the customer experience, right? It sets it apart. I want to go back there because I had a great time and it was easy, right? Are there things that you guys are looking at to make it easy on the consumer, kind of going in around the things, sanitization, PPE, all those types of things. Is that something you’re considering as well?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:10:01] Yeah, I mean it’s important that it’s transparent to people what you’re doing and so they understand, consumers understand – I think what’s kind of cool, you look at what restaurants were like really six, seven years ago. I mean, you didn’t sit on top of the table next to you. That’s a relatively new trend as rents have gotten really, really high and people are trying to pack more customers in smaller spaces at higher ticket prices. So really even, yeah, I guess, let’s say 10 years ago, the trend was bigger stores and it started to wane at that point.
But yeah, traditionally bigger stores with tables more spread out and you can’t hear everything the guy next to you is saying at his table, and so that kind of is what people are doing again now, I mean maybe six feet back-to-back is a little further.
But you think about restaurants that are bigger like Able’s, Matt’s El Rancho, Fonda San Miguel, places like that are already bigger facilities. Tables are already kind of set up that way for the most part, at least in the main dining areas.
Nad Elias: [00:11:01] When I think of like a Pint House Pizza, for example, where they’re doing the community tables. They’re going to have to buck that, right? That’s something that I don’t know if that’s going to be sustainable. How comfortable are you going to be sitting right now next to somebody you don’t know in a big table, right? That’s just turning over real quickly?Because that concept got pretty quick, because I think they could turn tables quicker, right?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:11:22] Yeah, and I think it was kind of a fun deal, too. You can pack people in more. On a bench, families and stuff can jam next to each other.
Nick Schenck: [00:11:32] So since the beginning of March – with your restaurant businesses – what kind of year-over-year decline have you seen?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:11:40] Oh God, I was looking at it last night. It’s substantial. We’re looking at like about half. Yeah. So our biggest season is March through May. And so those are the months we lost.
Nick Schenck: [00:11:54] Yeah. And just if you look at takeout and delivery, has that gone up significantly? Obviously, not enough to offset the loss, but how’s that been?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:12:06] So Mexican food, that’s gone up a lot. So at El Arroyo, they had a massive amount of it. Granted, the costs are a lot higher. But American food, they’re hasn’t really been much – I think you see like chicken restaurants, like Chicken Express and places like that, or Chick-fil-A. And Mexican food is doing really, really well with takeout. But even that started to wane as kind of the novelty wore off. Right? So with the to-go Margarita’s, when El Arroyo launched those, it was just crazy.
And then over time, it kind of, the novelty wore off. I mean people still buy them every day. We still move quite a few of them. And we definitely do way more to-go than we used to in the Mexican, in El Arroyo. And I think all Mexican restaurants probably are. Our revenue is about even – maybe a little bit up year-over-year at El Arroyo. We had a big pop that we actually were up for the year because of how much to-go business we did temporarily.
Nick Schenck: [00:13:12] Got it. By the way, is that alcohol to-go thing permanent now? Has the government made that permanent or is it going to be shut down at some point?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:13:21] So it’s not permanent, but it looks like it may be. We hope it is.
Nad Elias: [00:13:27] It has been widely adopted. I think it’s something that they might not be able to [stop]. These are the things that will come out of COVID, right. What are the improvements that are made? This might certainly be one of them.
You know, on that note, I think I was talking, maybe Nick, I was talking to you about this, but just how – you take streaming or cord-cutting in TV, right? You had the cable networks and everybody started cutting cords. And then you have, obviously, the Longhorn Network. You’re gonna have streaming stations. I wonder in the restaurant industry and something you guys have been very good at – at El Arroyo – is how you productize, right? How you take, you know, whether it’s a hot sauce, but what about a certain meal that just reminds you of El Arroyo, right? And then you productize that, and that’s what you start, you know, selling and marketing. I’m wondering if that’s how restaurants start, you know, creating an additional revenue stream going forward.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:14:23] Yeah, there’s a lot. I mean, there’s a lot of Mexican restaurants that have done salsas and chips and stuff over the years. You know, it’s a little bit of a crowded space with the products. Then like the tea towels and coffee mugs and calendars and greeting cards. A lot of that’s really more with El Arroyo, I think it’s more the voice, the messaging. We’ve got pretty controlled parameters on the range of what we put on that sign. And it’s developed a really distinct voice over the last several years that people connect with really strongly. And so we kind of incorporate, obviously, the physical image of the 1980s era changeable letter sign into the products.
But it’s really I think it’s the consistency and the way people connect to that voice that drives it.
Nick Schenck: [00:15:12] How do you build such a strong brand? For someone who’s like maybe thinking of starting a restaurant and they’re thinking about how to build a brand and maybe they can create their own IP and eventually sell products.
Talk about how you developed that brand for El Arroyo?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:15:29] That sign had been around for a long time. You know, one of the things we do when we bought El Arroyo, you know, it had some challenges. And one of the things we look for when we do these deals – [when] we restructure things – we look for kind of intangibles or things that are fundamentally good that just need to be developed more. And the sign was one of those things. It had for years and years and years been built up. And so we focused on putting it out there on social media and finding ways for it to connect with people. And we just started going harder at that, right? So we started with a 3,000-person Facebook page, and we did a little bit of boosting, but more than that, we just focused on good content.
Our method was just creating something very real people could connect with when there was a lot of fake stuff on social media all the time.
Nick Schenck: [00:16:20] Yeah. And when did that start? What year when you guys started really like doubling down on the sign and the sayings?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:16:27] It was probably 2013. We bought it in early 2012. And then we focused more on kind of internal objectives – rebuilding kitchens and stuff like that. And then 2013 early.
Nick Schenck: [00:16:38] Okay. And for those of you listening to this who aren’t really familiar, maybe with El Arroyo or the sign there, El Arroyo is located in a section of downtown Austin, sort of far west, the edge of West Austin on a really busy road. I think it’s fifth street. So high traffic and the sign has all these like funny sayings.
I actually have a few of them I want to read off that are topical. First one: Evening news, where they start with good evening, then tell me why it isn’t.
Second one is: Due to quarantine, we will only be telling inside jokes from now on.
And then another one I like is: In 20 years, our country will be run by people homeschooled by day-drinkers.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:17:25] Yeah. Cheers.
Nick Schenck: [00:17:26] Yeah. Cheers.
Nad Elias: [00:17:27] As we’re drinking bourbon.
Nick Schenck: [00:17:28] Exactly.
And, you know, a lot of restaurants couldn’t get away with that. But you guys…
Ellis Winstanley: [00:17:36] We tell a lot of poop jokes.
Nick Schenck: [00:17:39] That too. How much of that stuff is you, where you, like at night, maybe right before you go to bed, you text yourself something you’ve been thinking, then it goes up like two days later?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:17:48] So it’s fairly common that somebody says something and you’re like, “Oh man, that could be a good El Arroyo sign.” And then it gets knocked around in a text message group until it gets developed into something that fits. Or sometimes it doesn’t, you know? But it’s pretty common. I mean, we’ve got a group of the people that manage the content and everybody sees something and shoots an idea.
Nick Schenck: [00:18:10] What are the guardrails? Are there things that you’ve said, “We’re not going to touch these three topics,” or is pretty much everything fair game as long as everyone has a chance to chime in?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:18:21] So, yeah, I mean, it’s, we try to keep it generally positive. I mean, generally focus on positive things.
We’ve gotta be really careful with anything that can be made political, because, I mean, anything can be made political these days. And so we actually consciously think about how is this going to get made into something political, and then make sure that it’s not an angle for that.
So yeah, we try to be positive with it. We try to focus on current events. And then, be funny. Right? So we want to put somebody in a good mood when they drive by it in the morning.
Nick Schenck: [00:18:57] Yeah. What’s your all-time favorite one? Do you have one?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:19:00] Oh, man, I’ve got one hanging on my wall that says: I don’t normally roll a joint, but when I do, it’s my ankle.
I like that one. It’s for the us athletes out there.
Nick Schenck: [00:19:09] Yeah. That’s great.
Nad Elias: [00:19:11] Weak-ass ankles.
Talk to me a little bit about the book. The coffee table book. It is a coffee table book, right? We can say, or we calling it a book-book?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:19:24] Yeah. So it’s a coffee table book. It’s like a gift book.
Nad Elias: [00:19:28] And that’s sold really well, right?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:19:31] Yeah. So we thought about doing one for a while. In 2016, we almost did it. And then we thought, “You know, we don’t have enough social media followers yet.” We had about 75,000 on Facebook and only about 15,000 on Instagram. And so we waited until 2017. And we had, gosh, I wanna say we had close to a 100,000 on Facebook and maybe 75,000 on Instagram at that point.
And so our plan was to sell it just through e-commerce. And so we launched it in 2017. We got a little bit of late start. We did find a printer. First, we had every publisher tell us no, right? Everybody’s like, “Nobody’s going to buy this. It’s not gonna really work. Can’t mess with it.”
And so, we finally decided we would self-publish, set up our publishing company, found a printer, printer calls us the last second said, “Oh, uh,” like, after we’ve already started selling them for Christmas, and they’re like, “we’re not going to deliver before Christmas and the price is going to be double.”
It’s like, “Oh, that’s great. Cool. Thanks guys.” So we scrambled, we found another printer. Got them done, got them shipped on time and we ended up selling out of them twice in that winter. So we blew through the first round, blew through the second round. We’re still shipping like back-order Christmas gifts. People were still buying them as back-order Christmas gifts after Christmas in January.
And so then, it just kind of blew up. And so my wife put it together. She designed it. I mean, that’s really her thing is like packaging and product design stuff. And so she puts them in the trunk of her car and she’s like, “I think I’m going to see if I can sell these retail.” So she just put some in the back of her car and drove around Houston, Dallas, San Antonio.
It was like walking into a store and they’d be like, “I don’t know. We don’t have a budget.” We’re just like, “Take the box, you’ll sell them. If you don’t, I’ll come back and get them. Give me the money after you sell them.” They’re like, okay. So, so she did it and people would do it and she ended up picking up like 25 stores in the first half of 2018 just doing that.
And the Barnes & Noble, the manager of the Barnes & Noble here in the Arboretum, really liked it. And so she sold a ton of them on consignment, kept pushing and pushing. Then, Paige decided she wanted to get it into their corporate, so she found out who right person was, but they wouldn’t answer the phone and they wouldn’t respond.
So anyways, so I was going to New York for a different meeting. It’s kind of a fun story. Going to New York for a different meeting. I knew where they worked. I could find it online. So I just showed up at their office with a book and I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m here.” And there’s like, security guards sitting on the first floor, and I was like, “Oh yeah, man, I’m here for a delivery for Eric, am I in the right place? Eric.” I’m like, “Eric Berger.” I like pull up the bill of lading. They’re like, “Eric Berger, seventh floor.” And I’m like, “Okay, great, thanks.” I go up there and they’re like he’s not on the seventh floor, he’s on the fourth floor.” So I go down there and I’m like, “Oh yeah, Eric asked me to bring this book by and could you just get it on his desk for me and then give it to him?”
And so anyway, he calls me like 30 minutes later. He’s like, “I don’t know how you got that in my office, but we’re going to send you vendor paperwork. We like it.” All right, sweet. So that worked out pretty good. And then, yeah, she started going to market, man. And that one book has turned into 85 products.
And so she got customers now in 43 states and Canada, gets requests periodically from people in Europe and somebody in South Africa, somebody in Australia is selling them there. And we haven’t done any deals in those places yet, but it’s pretty wild.
Nad Elias: [00:23:00] I’ve driven by the sign and seen, you know, tourists taking pictures outside. Right. It’s become that much…growing up here, it was always a local thing, and then because of what you guys have been able to do, it’s now become a tourist attraction. People come in town, they’re like, “Alright, let’s take a picture in front of the El Arroyo sign.” Which is pretty neat.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:23:21] Yeah, if you look on our kind of the tags or whatever, I mean, on just our Instagram page, I mean, most of these, five to seven of them on any given like set of 15 is just other people like their arm around it. Like it’s an old friend or something.
Nick Schenck: [00:23:38] If I sent you something, could you put it up on the sign or do you have like a strict rule that you can’t take submissions from people?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:23:45] Well, we get submissions every day, so we love to get submissions, and a lot of them are really funny. I think like last week somebody sent in, a friend named Jeff Wigginton sent in one that said on graduation day, it was like, “Congratulations to all the new med grads from Google U.”
So all the COVID medical graduates. And so, we get funny ones all the time that we throw on there. But we get a lot of like, personal requests, and then we just have them like all day, so we can’t do like, special, you know, like, “I’m getting married this weekend. Can you put it up?” It’s just, it would never stop.
Nick Schenck: [00:24:22] Yeah.
Nad Elias: [00:24:22] I want to ask the question about the service industry and then move on to some other things you’re involved with, but specifically around restaurants, how do you envision them thriving again? Right. It’s one thing to just, you know, every time I talk to a restaurant owner and some of the investments that I’ve made, everybody is just trying to get by.
Right. Even the plans they’re making are plans for getting by. How do restaurants, what changes do restaurants need to make to thrive again, in your opinion?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:24:54] You know, I think people are going to want to have a more comfortable – so I consider it to be a more comfortable environment – where the tables are spaced out a little bit.
That’s going to be harder for people who have really high rents. I think there’s going to have to be an adjustment in the real estate market.
Nad Elias: [00:25:09] And the costs of the food, too. Maybe the cost of your experience could go up, right, as a consumer?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:25:16] Yeah. Which is challenging because there was already a big disparity between the cost of eating at a restaurant and the cost of buying – you know, the disparity between grocery store prices and restaurant prices was already the highest it had ever been.
So that’s a challenge. So I don’t really know, to tell you the truth. I wish I had the magic ball here, but I think that there’s going to be a whole lot of adjusting that happens. And I think over time, though, people will…what we’ve seen so far is it’s just, it’s smoothed out a little bit, so that it’s less concentrated on the busier times and it’s just kind of busier all the time.
That may just be because people know that at 50% capacity, less people are going to be able to get in. There’s probably a lot less people that are comfortable going out also. And the people that are have been cooped up so often, they’re going to go out more than they were used to. So we’ll see how it all shakes out.
But I think food prices are a really big risk. I mean, right now there’s shortages of beef and chicken, pork. We had a real spike in 2015, I think it was, where like avocado and lime prices went through the roof because of like cartel activity and stuff. A case of limes that was 19 bucks was now $115.
Nad Elias: [00:26:29] Wow.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:26:30] So you put that on everything in a Mexican restaurant. That’s pretty brutal. So I think we’re going to see a lot more of that stuff happening. I think it’s going to be super disruptive to restaurants. But you know, I think what’s kind of cool is in Texas at least, you know, everybody’s got like trade associations and stuff that are really, that accept membership dues from all the people in their industry and go advocate for them and stuff.
But I mean, our restaurant association is amazing. And they’ve like been burning it at both ends for now three months straight. And it’s just pretty phenomenal what they’ve been able to accomplish.
Nick Schenck: [00:27:04] Just to advocate on behalf of restaurant owners?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:27:07] Yeah. I mean, so one of the big problems with restaurants, they haven’t been able to open, right?
So a lot of it is, you can’t send your restaurant employees to work from home and still sell something. It’s not like an office job. Right. So the restaurants are sitting here burning PPP money, or they’re supposed to be burning PPP money. But the employees in the restaurants are making more money on unemployment and didn’t want to come back.
I think for the people who weren’t laid off originally, they were fine staying. But I mean a lot of people have either personal obligations, kids at home that now aren’t in school or they’ve got, you know, there’s a lot of reasons why people can’t come back. But they weren’t able to spend the PPP money and now you’re like, “Okay, so I just lost my sales in the busiest time of year. I got to spend more money to get reopened and now I owe the government a bunch of money because this isn’t going to be dischargeable.” And so yesterday there was a vote, you know, Emily Williams Knight runs the restaurant association and her and Chip Roy been working really closely on a bunch of stuff, and Chip introduced a bill with a fellow named Dean, maybe a guy from Minnesota, I think.
It’s really cool. Two freshmen house representatives got a bill passed like 292 to one, which you don’t see everyday, for the PPP forgiveness window to be extended. Like restaurants, for instance, the 25% that you could spend on rent. Well, most restaurants, their rent is going to be more than 25%, just because of how expensive it is in Austin, Dallas, Houston, probably San Antonio.
So I’d say by and large, like we’ve got all the support we could ask for and I think there’ll probably be more changes that come down the pipe to help keep the restaurant industry together.
It’s such a crucial part of the economy.
Nick Schenck: [00:29:00] Do you see this as a good buying opportunity then for restaurant brands that are strong, but maybe they’re not going to be able to reopen, like Magnolia in Austin, for instance? There’s been a few others that I’ve seen. Is that something that’s interesting to you? Or that’s not a huge focus?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:29:17] I think you’re going to see some stores expand, like T22 already announced they’re taking that Magnolia space. So you’ll see some expansions. You know, I think like with Trudy’s for instance, Trudy’s did big sales. I mean, the year before they filed for bankruptcy, it did almost 20 million bucks in four restaurants. I mean, that’s a huge customer base, right? So I think companies like that are a good buy, right? I think you’re going to see a lot of people who just say, “This isn’t worth it,” and they close. You’re going to have the supply lighten up a little bit.
Nad Elias: [00:29:52] Yeah. Well, we’ll see that across industries. That’s something we’re seeing every day in our world and customers we’re working with. There are the ones that decide it’s time to push through and put it all into sales, marketing, and they’re going to hockey stick after we come out of this thing, and then there’s the other spectrum, it’s like, “Yeah, we’re just gonna hang it up. I’ve been thinking about it anyway. This is a good time. Let’s just hang it up right now.”
Ellis Winstanley: [00:30:14] Yeah, “This is going to be a lot of work.”
Nad Elias: [00:30:17] “I don’t really want to come out of this thing at all.” But yeah. I think of an article that I read about some restaurants in Chicago that they’re converting alleys. And I told you this and we joked about it a little bit, but they’re converting the alleys into outdoor seating. Right? Because outdoor seating, that bodes really well for Austin. Because we do have, and some of your restaurants specifically have great patio seatings. That’s going to be, it’s going to be the summer of outside. The summer of outdoors. Right. The rooftop bars are going to be a big hit right, and this is just how I envision it. And the places that I’m going to be going are going to be outdoor bars. I want to sit on the patio. I want to be on Abel’s on the Lake patio, Little Woodrow’s, be at these types of places where you’re going to be outside.
But Chicago was converting their alleys and putting tables out there where you could very easily be sitting next to the dumpster.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:31:13] Lady And The Tramp style? I don’t know. I’ve never looked at a Chicago alley and been like, “God, I want to have dinner out here.”
Nick Schenck: [00:31:27] So let’s talk about how you got into sanitize, sanitizing lotion. What do you refer to it as? Soap? Sanitizing soap?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:31:36] It’s hand sanitizer.
Nick Schenck: [00:31:37] Just hand sanitizer. Yeah. When did you have that light bulb moment that you were like, “I need to get into this business and we’re doing it right now?”
Ellis Winstanley: [00:31:47] Well, so we own printing and promotional companies, screen printing, embroidery, promotional products companies, and we have lots of big, corporate customers and everybody was trying to get PPE, right? So we had orders coming in left, right, and center for people like, “Hey, I’ll buy a million units of this,” or whatever.
And we’re like, “We don’t know what this is.” I mean, you know, there’s a lot of people that are wildcatting this stuff off the dock in Long Beach and just selling it and figuring it out later. I didn’t really want to get into that with PPE, especially not selling it to like a hospital system or something. It wasn’t worth it to me to sell something I didn’t know. But there was a huge amount of activity.
And then I had a buddy call who owns a big chemical factory in Mexico. It’s been around for 50 years, has on-site laboratories, and you know, I trust him immensely. And I knew that the product was going to be right.
And so I actually got FDA approval for hand sanitizer and it’s the real deal. We’re not just making another recipe. It’s the real deal. We’ve got the right NDC numbers and all this stuff you’ve got to have to have it registered. So he’s like, “Do you think you could sell it?” And I was like, “Yeah, I think I could sell that.”
So we’ve got lots of relationships in retail and then just in big corporate clients. And so I made a couple of phone calls, and first it was going to be like, “Yeah, we’ll do a few deals together and see how it goes.” And then, man, immediately it was just like orders coming in. So we set it up as a branded company and did all the legal and all the work to get it done right, and all the compliance stuff. And off we went.
I think what we realized, one, is there’s a big need for it, but two, there’s likely to continue to be a big need for it. You know, it’s like a product that was introduced what in the seventies and nobody, it wasn’t a high level of adoption. People didn’t know what it was. So they kind of have like a real medically looking brand and kind of Germ X, Purell, or whatever. And they grinded it out to get it into the market. And you got like the heavy gel-based stuff that’s a consumer product, because per-person consumption is pretty low. And then you got like a liquidy gel, a liquidy sanitizer. It’s all runny. It’s liquid for like mechanic shops and stuff like that.
So we came with a pourable gel. We developed a proprietary formulation to be a pourable gel to get the benefit of the gel for the consumer. It doesn’t run everywhere and make a mess, but you can still buy it at in larger packaging and use it as refillable bottles. So your cost goes way down. So that’s kind of the hole in the market we saw and we’re going after.
Nick Schenck: [00:34:24] So how do you differentiate yourself? Because a lot of people, consumers – businesses may understand the cost savings that you just mentioned – but consumers, maybe they don’t care. So how do you build a brand for this? It’s called Hey, Sanitize, right?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:34:39] Yeah.
Nad Elias: [00:34:39] HeySanitize.com, HolaSanitize in Mexico.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:34:43] Yeah. And South Texas.
Yeah. So we thought about the branding a lot. You know, I think the same thing when the products, Purell and Germ X, were being introduced, you had really to educate the market.
So they chose names like Germ X, Purel, kind of descriptive of what the product was doing for you. Everybody knows what it is now, right? If you didn’t know before, you certainly know now. And so really, if you look at like modern consumer packaged goods strategies with packaging and how you present the products. Really, it doesn’t look anything like those packages look, and so we thought from a branding standpoint, what do we want this to look like?
We thought, you know, we want it to jump off the shelf. We wanted to get people’s attention. And then, you know, like, what’s the best way to get somebody’s attention?
It’s like saying, “Hey!” You know, with that exclamation point. “Hey!” Yeah, somebody’s gonna turn around and look. And then right below it, it says, “Hand Sanitizer.” So you’re going to get their attention. It’s to be in a sharp package that they’re going to connect with, and immediately they’re going to know what the product is, and I think that puts it in their basket.
Nick Schenck: [00:35:46] Yep. Is there a temptation since, you know, at El Arroyo, you’ve had so much success with these like funny quips and jokes and sayings, to be like, “Hey, it worked over here. Let’s try it over on here.” And like, put like funny sayings related to cleanliness on the side of, “Hey! Sanitize” the bottle?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:36:06] So El Arroyo is actually doing that. They did a six pack, which they’ve sold a bunch of, and they start shipping on Monday. And they picked six different signs that were all, you know, the were all COVID-related. Right. So like, we’d actually never posted on the El Arroyo sign more than once a day until COVID hit.
And we were like, “Man, this news is all so bad. We’re going to start posting more than once a day.” So one day we did five times, which was crazy. We’d never done that before.
Nad Elias: [00:36:38] One guy is changing the letters all day.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:36:40] Oh yeah, man. It’s like people are moving margaritas, “Oh, we need to change that again.”
But yeah, I mean, one of them was like, let’s see here. One was like: “My hands are absorbing more alcohol than my mouth,” or something. Let’s see here. There you go. Yeah. “My hands are consuming more alcohol than my mouth.”
“Just remember someone out there is quarantined with your ex.”
“Single man with TP seeks single woman with hand sanitizer for good, clean fun.”
“It turns out I was social distancing the whole time.”
“Flattening the curve is widening my ass.”
“We can’t control what’s going on, but we can keep choosing kindness.”
So we sold those in six packs, and then we’ve got big like gallon refills.
Nick Schenck: [00:37:35] Okay, so it’s like branded hand sanitizer for El Arroyo?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:37:39] Yeah, it’s El Arroyo-branded hand sanitizer. It’s “Hey! Sanitize.” But it’s, “Hey! Sanitize “on the back of the label, but it’s El Arroyo on the front.
Nad Elias: [00:37:47] So do you think with “Hey! Sanitize,” you’re going to be able to…Like if recruitAbility wanted to brand our own hand sanitizer, could we buy “Hey! Sanitize” and you know, slap our logo on it and have our own hand sanitizer?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:37:59] Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. We’ve sold hundreds of thousands of them that way already to companies as branded products.
Nad Elias: [00:38:04] Yeah. And that’s always been when you order promo products, it’s always been one of the things you could order. Hey, we need to order suntan lotion, you know, promo products, whatever it might be. But the race to market for this, and I think you and I were talking, it’s like the wild west right now. It’s funny because, at recruitAbility, we went to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, starting June 1st. We’re Monday, Wednesday, Friday in the office. And I asked the entire company, and everybody was okay with it. And so I wanted to follow certain guidelines and get hand sanitizing stations and, you know, make sure everybody feels comfortable.
Because everybody was all about wanting to come to the office. They just want to be together. So when you go to the stores right now, you’re only allowed two [hand sanitizers] per person or four per person, depending where you go. So I go to H-E-B and I see that brand called, “Comes in Handy by Julep.” and it’s got natural Aloe Vera, 99.9% of all germs killed.
And I’m not kidding, it smells like dirty feet. I didn’t know until I brought in the office and I gave everybdoy their own personal hand sanitizer. And everyone puts it on, and then just like stench just came across the office. I’m like, that should be the first thing you think about when you’re coming out with hand sanitizer is what’s the scent.
Either have no scent, or have a good scent. This one is horrible.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:39:25] Yeah. So there’s a lot of people making hand sanitizer with corn ethanol right now. And so corn ethanol smells awful. And that’s what we have in the U.S., mainly for fuel additives. And so, I don’t know if that was designed to be in a fuel additive or not.
There’s actually some that it’s even slowing down us getting it over the border now as he’s slowing down because the FDA is being super, super particular about inspecting every single trailer now because they caught like some people had methanol in them. Right. Which is like super dangerous. It’s like, I’m sure they did it unknowingly, but it’s cheap and it was available and so.
You know, I think there’s this crazy rush where everybody’s trying to find a way to survive, and I think it probably starts with like finding a way to contribute and then people want to buy it from you. You’re like, “I can make money doing this.” And I think most of it’s super well-intentioned, but I think there’s a lot of – that right there is the reason I didn’t want to sell PPE originally whenever it first came around because I wanted to make sure I was doing it with somebody who really knew what they were doing from a manufacturing standpoint.
Nad Elias: [00:40:32] Yeah. You want to smell that? We can send it over if he wants to take a whiff really quick.
Nick Schenck: [00:40:37] Deep breath.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:40:41] Hmmm.
Nad Elias: [00:40:41] It’s really bad, right? I thought I was making such a smart purchase. And the reason I bought it is it’s right there. It was product placement as I was checking out. Whole bucket of them. And I was like, you know what? I need these for the office. I’m just going to get them right now. I didn’t think to open it and smell it.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:40:59] Yeah. It’s corn. It’s corn. And there’s a lot of people using isopropyl alcohol too, which is like rubbing alcohol. It’s pretty intense. Just trying to get a product into market.
Nad Elias: [00:41:08] Best of luck with that. It’s HeySanitize.com. You guys check it out. It’s going to be like a race to market right now. So how quick can you get in there.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:41:18] Absolutely.
Nad Elias: [00:41:20] You and I have known each other for a long time, and you’re one of the really most fascinating entrepreneurs.I met. Just a true sense of the word. And I want to share with our listeners, you know, any business management lessons, anything you’ve learned over the years, that you can share if it’s in the form of a story or just advice that was given to you or the way you’ve operated your life.
Anything you can share with our listeners about, you know, sort of business and management lessons that you’ve come across along the way?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:41:51] Yeah, I tend to think sometimes in movie scenes that I’ve seen over the years. It reminds me. I remember the scene – I don’t know if you guys remember the movie – Meet The Parents.
Nad Elias: [00:42:02] Oh, absolutely.
Nick Schenck: [00:42:02] Yes.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:42:03] Remember when Ben Stiller spikes the volleyball into his future sister-in-law’s face, his mother-in-law runs into the swimming pool with all of her clothes on to help her adult daughter. I always think like when things get crazy, like, just don’t run into the swimming pool with all your clothes on.
And hat’s something that, you know, you kind of have to think through with, especially with times like this. Get the facts, think through the real issues, and then make a good decision. And iterate fast, you know?
Nad Elias: [00:42:34] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Think about it for a while and then move fast when you make the decision.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:42:40] Yeah. Make the decision then execute.
Nick Schenck: [00:42:42] Has it always been easy for you to keep your composure in times of chaos?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:42:47] Define composure? Yeah. I try to stay rational about it, you know, and then, I get pretty intense. I mean, if the situation is intense, my personality will match the situation sometimes.
Nick Schenck: [00:43:05] Got it.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:43:05] But sometimes its what you gotta do to stay moving.
Nick Schenck: [00:43:09] Yeah. What strikes me about you is you’re in all these disparate businesses that, at least on the surface level, they seem totally disconnected. What I’m curious about is like, are there, is there like a playbook that you can take from your experience in the service industry that you apply to other businesses that you get in and vice versa? You know, I think of like Vista Equity Partners. They’ve been known to have like a playbook that they apply to enterprise software businesses. It’s like a tried and true method of doing things.
And I’m curious, do you have something like that that you take when you look at businesses and get involved with them?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:43:46] Yeah, I mean, I think businesses are different, clearly they’re all different, but I mean, there’s a lot of common threads, right? So we focus on figuring out what the key contributions are from the business and going as big with them as we can.
You know, our businesses are disparate. We have a lot of different things. So with Vista, I think, you know, obviously they’re focused on SAAS software companies, and that’s just what they do. And they do it very, very well. I’ve enjoyed working on lots of different businesses over the years.
I’ve been going for about 20 years at this point. And I always kind of looked at it like I was gonna spend 20 years doing as much and having as much fun as I could and then pick the best opportunities and go as big as I can with them. So we’re in the go-big phase.
Nick Schenck: [00:44:35] Go big, yeah.
Nad Elias: [00:44:35] Yeah, it’s that time. That time has come.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:44:38] Yeah. And this is a fantastic catalyst, really. I mean, if you look, with every change, there’s an opportunity. You know what I mean? I think that should be the key takeaway for a lot of people right now. Whether you have the energy and the frame of mind to go after it, I mean, there’s clearly massive change right now and all that’s an opportunity to create great things.
Nad Elias: [00:45:02] Next time you have dinner at Eddie V’s, it’ll be Ellis Winstanley – Hand Sanitizer King of Austin.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sausage King of Chicago.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:45:12] Come by my table for a pump.
Nick Schenck: [00:45:18] Are there any industries that like – maybe you’re not interested in getting any – but you think there’s a big opportunity now?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:45:24] I think there’s big opportunities everywhere really. I mean, there’s not one that I’ve looked at and said, “That’s the one,” I just, I think there’s going to be, it seems to me like a lot of trends that were there already or are accelerating. Right? And that’s not, that’s not some new thought. I’ve heard several people say that, but I think it’s true.
I think you have, the things were already happening or starting to happen faster. So if you think about it, if you take that idea and you use it to look kind of globally at what’s happening, asuming it’s true, then I think you see a lot of opportunities and, you know, I think for instance, I think real estate in Austin is going to continue to be a good opportunity.
I think more people are going to be moving here, I think. It’s kind of like out-running the bear, right? You don’t have to outrun the bear. You just have to out-run the guy next to you. And so, you know, if you’re in another state that’s fared not as well with COVID, you’re probably looking at coming here, just like Elon Musk was talking about moving Tesla, right?
I don’t think that’s a thought that’s isolated to Tesla. You know, I think there’s going to be more companies moving here. I think it’ll lull over the next, you know, 60-90 days as more data shakes out, as we get a more clear picture on what’s happening.
But I think it just starts to accelerate even faster.
Nad Elias: [00:46:43] And then call it the deurbanization, if you will, that we were starting to see before all this is going to get accelerated now. We started seeing in our business how how depressed Chicago is getting or certain markets that people are fleeing because they don’t want that urban lifestyle as much.
And that’s why you started seeing Charlotte, Nashville, Austin, these other cities experience the growth that they’ve been experiencing because people want that, you know? They can work more virtual so they don’t need to be in New York City to be in finance. Right? The behaviors have shifted and I think we’re going to see more of that.
Just because you’re in a certain industry doesn’t mean you have to live in a certain place, so people can live where they want to live and, you know, they might not necessarily want to be in an urban environment, especially coming out of what we’re coming out of. Right? Where people are on top of each other. I think we’re going to start seeing more of that.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:47:35] And with remote workplaces now, I mean, now that everybody’s had to try it, and a lot of people figured out, “Hey, it’s not as bad as we thought it was,” a lot of employees figured out they liked it. And I think you’re going to see even, you know, you’ve already seen it, Kyle, Buda, where they’re relatively close range to San Antonio and Austin, and then there’s towns like Waco that are further right, but they’re still relatively close to Dallas and to Dallas, Austin, major airports.
I mean, I think you’re gonna see towns like Waco blow up and they were already growing fast 5% year-over-year. But I think you’re going to see even more growth there as people are like, “You know, I can get five times the house and a lot calmer lifestyle here.”
Nad Elias: [00:48:14] Yeah. And when it comes to managing the remote employees, you know, this is probably a different podcast or different session. But, you know, we’ve always been able to do a good job managing metrics around salespeople or marketing people remote. I envision now – how are we managing metrics around all different functions. Right?
Can you put a marketing manager, a production manager and ops manager, logistics manager, and have them be remote and create some type of incentive-based compensation or metrics on their output because they’re working remotely?
So you’re creating sort of metrics around their activity. Which is really easy to do in sales, but not as easy to do in other roles. And if we’re able to figure that out, you’re going to start seeing more and more companies be comfortable with virtual. I’m interested in seeing how that plays out because it’ll affect salaries, right?
You’ll start seeing potentially lower salaries, but higher incentives on all roles. Right? Just based on metrics that people are hitting in a given period, if they want to be virtual. I think we’ll start seeing that evolution.
Nick Schenck: [00:49:26] That’s interesting. Speaking of employees, remote employees. You’ve hired a lot of people over the years. What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned about hiring?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:49:36] Yeah, so I kind of start with, so the top three priorities for me are, are they fundamentally a good person? Do they seem ethical? Are they gonna do the right thing when presented the opportunity not to when nobody’s looking? Secondly, it’s really to me, do they want to contribute, right? I mean, what are they there for? I mean, at their core, do they want to get something accomplished that day? Do they want to be a part of something, a part of making something happen? Right? And then lastly is like, what do they know how to do? You know?
So I think, for me, what they know how to do is third in line. If you know how to do a lot of things, and you don’t pass one or two, it really doesn’t matter. If you don’t pass number one, then you know, there’s gonna be a lot of conflicts in the workplace and with clients and some permanent damage probably done.
So it’s, yeah, to me, the most important thing is who are they and are they there to make an impact? And everybody knows how to do some things. It’s just getting them in the right role at that point.
Nad Elias: [00:50:42] Yeah. Really, it’s an alignment with passion. Right? So I ask everybody that I interview, what’s your “why”? Why do you get up and come to work every day? Because you don’t do it to come to work for my company or for Ellis’s company. You come to work for yourself. So why? You know, what gets you up every day?
And I’ve had some of the worst answers you could ever imagine. When I have a bad answer. If somebody says, and again, I love dogs, right?
I had somebody say, you know, for my dog and I want to be able provide for my dog. I mean, I get it, but come up with something better than that in an interview, right? I had somebody and she works for me now. She said she grew up in an environment by a single mom and she wants to create homes all over the U.S. for child abuse.
And I said, “You know what? There’s not a better reason. You know, you get up, you go to work, you make money, so you can do that with your life. And I want to help you get there.” Right? And you hear answers like that, to me, that’s an automatic hire, right? They’re driven by something else that’s different from what recruitAbility wants them to do or what El Arroyo might want them to do, right?
And so I ask that with everybody, and I got that from the co-founder of, Priceline. I’m drawing a blank on his name now, but I heard him speak one time and he asked everybody that question. And I stole that from him and been doing it ever since. Jeff Hoffman’s his name.
Nick Schenck: [00:52:11] Okay. How do you ask, besides like maybe a blind reference check from a previous employer, how do you tell number one that they’re going to do something right when the opportunity presents itself to do something badly when no one’s watching?
Ellis Winstanley: [00:52:28] I mean, of course you can’t tell for sure when you first get to know ’em, but ideally, you can get them to talk and talk about themselves and lighten up a little bit. Just have a conversation with you, like another person, versus a formal process, and you normally sniff out kind of what’s important to them. Intuition from years and years and years of getting burned.
Nad Elias: [00:52:56] Oh man. Well, this has been great. As we sort of wrap this thing up, any final thoughts that, you know, again, I think a lot of you as an entrepreneur and our listeners, we are talking about the future of work and how we do buck the trends in our environments. Any other insights? Anything else you want to kind of leave our listeners with on, you know, let’s call it back to the future and how things are going to be going forward, aside from the hoverboards and the robot Pepsi people that you’re ordering food from – robots and restaurants.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:53:37] Yeah, I mean, I think we’ve got a year of paying close attention to what’s going on and reacting quick if you want to stay alive, you know?
Who knows how that all shakes out? There’s gonna be a million little changes between now and then, but I think it’s going to require to act fast. Pay attention.
Nad Elias: [00:53:58] Yeah. The reactions that we see out of companies right now, week-to-week, it’s not month-to-month anymore.
Right. It’s like you see something, you react to it on a week-to-week basis. Yeah. And companies are having more meetings now. They’re just reacting to everything quicker, because we have to. The information changes so fast.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:54:13] Yeah. And you know, I’m excited to see, I think there’s gonna be a lot of really good people out there that were with companies for a certain set of reasons that mattered to them more than they matter to them now. You know? The priorities have probably changed after the experiences they’ve had. I think there were a lot of people who maybe were furloughed or laid-off that were surprised by it.
And maybe they’re going to be looking for opportunities that maybe fit values they have now that they may not have had or realized they had, may not have been as important to them before.
Nad Elias: [00:54:43] Yeah.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:54:44] There’s going to be a lot of movement.
Nad Elias: [00:54:45] There’s going to be a lot of movement in the next three to six months in the talent market for sure with the talent that’s out there.
We were starting to see that right now. And we’re encouraging companies to adopt that and really accept it. Because they’re going to experience their own turnover, but at the same time, there’s going to be different talent on the streets, and what they’re looking for now might be different than what they were looking for six months ago.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:55:06] Sure. Right.
Nad Elias: [00:55:07] So that mindsets all changing.
Nick Schenck: [00:55:08] Yeah. Cool. Awesome. Thanks a lot for joining the podcast, man. I really enjoyed the discussion.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:55:13] Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Nad Elias: [00:55:14] Thanks Ellis.
Ellis Winstanley: [00:55:14] Thanks guys.