Best Practices

Real Talk from Restaurant Operators

We were delighted to come across this recent University of Maryland Smith Business School panel discussion moderated in part by food columnist Tim Carman. While it was not sponsored by GoTab, the panel featured Josh Phillips, GM-Mezcalier, Espita and Ghostburger, Washington, D.C., one of our most savvy GoTab operators. The panel features local restaurant operators’ candid accounts of their experiences navigating the pandemic while keeping their businesses afloat.

If you’re in the restaurant business, or just care about the success of local restaurants, take some time to listen. They cover a wide range of hot topics in hospitality, from managing the cost of food delivery services, to helping guests and employees to feel safe, and dealing with landlords. They also go into what guests can do to help their local restaurants and what they believe the future holds for each of their individual businesses.

We were most impressed with the passion and humility each of them brings to their restaurants. They genuinely care about their guests and their employees and show a unique brand of perseverance and persistence as they each have found a hard pathway to success. 

The Panelists

  • Eric Shu-Pao Wang, co-founder-partner, Toli Moli and Thamee, Washington, D.C.
  • Josh Phillips, GM-Mezcalier, Espita and Ghostburger, Washington, D.C.
  • Peter Opare, chef-co-owner, Open Crumb, Washington, D.C.
  • Janet Yu, owner, Hollywood East, Wheaton.
  • Jackie Greenbaum, co-owner of Quarry House, Silver Spring; Little Coco's, Washington, D.C.; and Bar Charley, Washington, D.C.

From a 2-3 Week & $2k Ghost Kitchen Startup Investment, to $37k Per Week in Orders

Josh, along with his wife and business partner Kelly are brilliant restaurateurs and operators. The Ghostburger Ghost Kitchen concept they launched in August 2020, is featured in some of Washington DC’s hottest food blogs and media outlets. Josh explains: 

The idea was to start a new Ghost Kitchen brand and build it in time for the cold weather when they expected to have to shut down outdoor dining. They started in August using a free station that was made available when they  trimmed down their Espita restaurant menu for outdoor-only dining. Because they were all from Philly or had lived in Philly at one time, they were all burger and cheesesteak fans so that’s where the idea for Ghostburger was born. It took 2 - 3 weeks to go from an idea to launch and cost about $2k to open. Their initial revenue goal was conservative, estimating they would earn $5k - $8k per week. They figured that if they could earn that much, they would be able to keep staff onboard, and put some money away for what would be a few painful winter months. In their first week, Ghostburger made $26k in sales. They are now averaging $37k per week in delivery/takeout and the concept is also outpacing Espita because it’s so takeaway friendly. Espita guests can order Ghostburger takeaway from Espita too.

Navigating the Delivery Service Fee Landscape

"If a guest wants to support our restaurant and not pay fees to these big tech companies.The best possible way is to do takeout. The service we use is called GoTab and they charge a 1 percent fee which the guest pays, and that’s fine. Some of these platforms have delivery services that pass all the costs to the guests. I’m not cool with that either. We’re in the business of trying to provide the best value that we can to our customers."

Josh Phillips, GM-Mezcalier, Espita and Ghostburger, Washington, D.C.

Josh continues, “Gotab has been great for us. We use it for contactless dining also on the patio. And that’s been really successful too. It’s allowed us to operate safely. Most of our servers left the city so we didn’t even have the choice to bring them back. So we’ve been operating with a fraction of the front-of-house staff and it’s just a much safer operating model where we don’t have to be on top of tables constantly. … Even when you do takeaway you can just walk up to the door and scan the QR on the door. Some people don’t feel comfortable coming in, they just respond via text and we bring it right out.”

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Situated “in the heart of it all, yet tranquil enough to make you feel away from it all too,” The Limelight Hotel Snowmass offers 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences, as well as footsteps-to-gondola access in winter and summer — right in the middle of Snowmass Base Village.

The Situation

Especially over the last few years, the Limelight Hotels IT team had witnessed a significant shift to contactless technology in the hospitality industry. After evaluating friction points in the guest journey, aligning with modern technology platforms in their restaurant was determined to be an effective way to offer elevated contactless dining experiences to their guests while also evolving their technology platforms to continue to support long-term company goals. Limelight Hotel partnered with GoTab to provide an enhanced on-demand dining experience on par with the brand’s reputation for exceptional guest service.

The Solution

Reducing Staff Touch Points Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Guests are now able to begin a tab from their room or the property’s restaurant by scanning a QR code, texting a link to friends or family members on the ski slope to add in their orders, then meeting up together at the patio or lodge to enjoy their meal and après ski festivities without interruption. By streamlining tasks like inputting orders and processing payments, this eliminates friction for hotel staff and allows them to focus on delivering renowned guest service for a memorable experience. Since partnering with GoTab, Limelight Snowmass has consistently seen higher check averages and sales.

“We found the Point of Sale platforms we were looking at offered the guest and staff limited opportunities to further reduce touch points or improve the traditional restaurant experience. The GoTab platform enabled the guest to take an active role over the flow of their experience while simultaneously reducing touch points and further streamlining restaurant operations.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

According to the Limelight Hotels team, some of the other platforms that were evaluated were either missing some of the pieces they were looking for, had weak customer support models, or had little willingness to develop integrations to existing hotel platforms already in place. To that end, GoTab integrated with cloud-based platform, Infor. Together, GoTab and Infor are providing dynamic solutions to support central, efficient service across hotel amenities and deliver exceptional guest experiences.

“Previously, guests would call down to the restaurant to begin an order from their room or while they were out enjoying the ski slopes. Using GoTab, guests can now place orders from anywhere on the resort, giving them the on-demand service they want without interrupting their day. GoTab empowers us to give control to the guest, reducing touch points and streamlining overall restaurant operations, making Limelight Hotel the resort of choice for Snowmass.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

Since introducing GoTab, The Limelight Hotel has seen a consistent level of upsells and items sold per check resulting in additional revenue capture. They have been able to maintain service levels in their restaurants during periods when there was reduced staffing available without significantly diminishing the guest experience.

The Benefits

Eliminate Phone Orders – Take Orders from the Slopes. Guests can start a tab from their room or on the mountain without interrupting the flow of their day.

Future-Proofed Technologies – Delivering elevated contactless ordering via integration with the Infor hotel management platform.

Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

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