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A Flexible Platform Tuned For Hybrid Service Models At The Brig

The Brig is a German beer garden nestled in the heart of D.C. In their open-air beer garden, guests can enjoy their favorite German fare and a wide selection of beers and cocktails. With a total capacity of 400 and a seated capacity of 250, the garden is well suited to large events. From bustling happy hours and casual office gatherings, they also handle private events from their full bar with 24 beers on tap and full-service kitchen.

When GM Doug Tuttle joined The Brig in 2021, they had been using the GoTab mobile ordering & payment solution for at least six months. Tuttle, a seasoned manager who had recently departed a large luxury resort, retail, dining, entertainment and casino venue in the DC area, was initially impressed by what he saw. After becoming familiar with GoTab’s core QR ordering features, Tuttle worked with his dedicated customer success manager to implement more GoTab tools.

Optimizing Front and Back-of-house

By fully adopting GoTab’s QR ordering and payment across all their steps of service, The Brig was able to run profitably through 2021, even as they navigated the ups and downs of the pandemic. Now that DC hospitality is back to full capacity, The Brig faces the next challenge. As disposable incomes take a hit from high inflation, how do they keep guests coming back and maintain the average spend per guest? GoTab gives operators immense flexibility to optimize performance from front-of-house (FOH) to back-of-house (BOH).

“GoTab is so flexible; you can do whatever you want to do. If you think about it, you can give your host any experience they want: full bar, drink tickets, order their own, order on a single tab.”

Doug Tuttle, Manager at The Brig

GoTab Makes Everything Simpler

While The Brig now has the ability to take payment from guests using GoTab payment terminals, 95 percent of their service model relies on QR ordering and payment. “Our labor numbers are the best I’ve ever experienced in my career,” says Tuttle. “We can run the entire bar with about 60 percent of the staff we would need using a traditional service model. That’s almost unheard of.”

Prior to the pandemic The Brig never ran with servers – guests walked up to the bar to place orders. “That was always chaos,” explained Tuttle.

Now with GoTab, The Brig can change their menu on the fly. They can swap out beers without having to update a chalkboard or reprint menus. It’s as simple as a 10 second change on the GoTab Manager Dashboard and that change is automatically reflected to the guest on the menu. Unlike legacy POS systems, where changing a single button label could take a four-day process, Tuttle can update a menu or tag in less than 30 seconds on his phone.

More Money For Servers, Less Worry For Managers

On the financial side, Tuttle sees several major benefits:

  • Although average check sizes have started to trend lower in recent months, servers are still clearing higher average tips since they can cover more tables with less effort.  
  • Secondly, as a GM, Tuttle can get things done in the office and have full visibility to what’s happening in the kitchen. Because cameras only tell part of the story, Tuttle monitors the GoTab KDS so he can quickly see when he needs to be in the kitchen versus taking care of other tasks. 
  • Thirdly, Tuttle enjoys easier day-to-day reporting, less money handling and trips to the bank. “Closing out a service gets a lot easier when you don’t have to spend an extra hour tracking down a $37 drawer discrepancy,” says Tuttle. 

While some guests occasionally push back on ordering from a QR now that full service has returned to the District, Tuttle created talking points for staff to disarm those conversations a bit. Customer satisfaction ratings have gone up – both through Google and Yelp – and Tuttle gets positive feedback about staff on a daily basis. 

“I’d much rather deal with the 4% of people who complain about the QR code, than the 10% who complain about not getting their check timely! It all starts with training. I tell my team, ‘This doesn’t create an opportunity to stand around and do nothing, but to engage with guests more’, Our staff love it. They don’t want to use the POS anymore.”

Tuttle

Special Benefits For Affinity Groups And Service Members

The Brig is the official beer garden for the Bayern Munich soccer team and also regularly hosts the DC-area’s Louisiana State University Alumni association members.

Using GoTab segments and discounts, The Brig creates special QR codes to allow hosts of these groups to register their members for special menus, offers and discounts. They also provide a special QR at the bar for local service members, who frequent The Brig due to its close proximity to the Navy Yard. 

With GoTab, The Brig has a full suite of tools to continuously improve their guest experience while running their business more profitably and quickly adapting to the external business environment.

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