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Striking The Balance Between Efficiency And Community At Southernside Brewing Co.

Set along the Swamp Rabbit Trail with a delectable food menu, 10+ brewed-in-house craft beers on tap, and expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, Southernside Brewing Co. has quickly become a favorite for locals and tourists alike. This up-and-coming Greenville, South Carolina locale is both family and dog-friendly, making it a great place to gather with friends, listen to live music and play yard games. The brewery opened in January 2021 and has a scratch kitchen with a full line-up of mouth-watering, Southern favorites like Fried Mac n’ Cheese Balls, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Bourbon Bacon Jam Burgers, and Southern Fried Chicken Sandwiches, along with several other delicious salads, wraps, and sides. In addition to its tasty craft brews, Southernside has a full bar with an extensive bourbon list and a seasonal craft cocktail menu.

Needing An Upgrade To The Guest Experience

It was the summer of 2022. The highly anticipated Unity Park was finally open, and the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile multi-use walking and bicycling path, had fully reopened after construction. Southernside’s business was thriving, and management started looking for ways to enhance the guest experience.

At the time, guests were ordering all their food and drinks from the bar or a walk-up station just inside the entrance. They would receive a pager, go find a table, and wait to be notified when their order was ready. When their buzzer went off, they went to a pick-up window to get their food. Any time a guest wanted to order something else, they would repeat the process: get in line, place the order, return to their seat, and wait. While guests never seemed to mind placing their orders that way and picking up their own food, Owner-Operator Nate Tomforde and his team thought adding table service would provide a much-appreciated upgrade to the Southernside experience. At the same time, they knew that adding table service to a space that large (7,000 square feet) would require adding more servers, which would increase labor costs, or require a new operational model backed by new technology.

The Upgrade

Southernside, and its local solution partner Lucas Systems, Inc., selected GoTab as the platform to introduce their new table service model. With GoTab, Southernside now provides guests a full range of front-of-house options – including mobile ordering and payment from the table using a QR code, and traditional ordering from servers or at the bar using the GoTab All-in-One POS. Back-of-house integration with the kitchen is made possible through the GoTab Kitchen Display System (KDS) and printers. Utilizing Lucas’ expertise and support, they enhanced their existing technology infrastructure, and were able to successfully launch and retrain their staff in just a few weeks.

Balancing Community & Efficiency

Situated in a high-growth area conveniently located between Charlotte and Atlanta, and with major manufacturers Michelin and BMW close by, Southernside focuses on staying current with the latest tech, and consistently looking for new ways to improve the experience for their guests and their staff. Southernside is currently operating on a hybrid model of 60 percent QR orders and 40 percent walk-up. Tomforde wanted to keep walk-up service as an option for guests who prefer to order the traditional way by connecting with an actual person.

There’s a fine line between efficiency and community. Southernside was designed to be a community gathering spot, and we never want to lose that feel. We appreciate the flexibility GoTab provides to serve our guests the way they want to be served.

Nate Tomforde, Owner & Operator at Southernside Brewing Co.

While Southernside has been able to eliminate long lines at the register without necessarily adding more staff, there have been a few changes to the roles each team member plays. Hosts used to be stationed at two locations inside the venue. Now they operate as servers, running food and drinks to the tables that order through the QR code. “People are ordering, on average, 20-25 percent more, because they don’t have to keep getting up and standing in line to order,” says Tomforde.

Guests are more satisfied by placing their own orders from the full food & beverage menu across the entire 7,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor area. The new process also reduces order errors and misfires, which reduces comps and saves on food costs.

What we have been able to accomplish with GoTab and Lucas would’ve been virtually impossible with our previous operating system.”

Nate Tomforde, Owner & Operator at Southernside Brewing Co.
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