As one of the most flexible mobile ordering and payment platforms in the brewery POS segment, we get to spend a lot of time with our operators. And it’s not just about helping them use our software. At the end of the day, we only make money when our brewery operators do. That’s why we focus on helping their Tap Room managers solve some of the common problems that keep them from earning more orders from their guests. Our consulting runs the gamut, from how to improve guest satisfaction levels, to how to generate additional revenue streams without incurring new software or labor costs.
While our operators are focused on the top three tap room winners – great beer paired with great food; nice environs where guests can relax and enjoy their visit; and, a pleasing menu that gives guests a good balance of the tried and true and the unexpected – we like to drill down to identify new revenue growth tactics Tap Room managers should exploit.
In this article, we’ll focus on the Top 6 Tactics GoTab can use to improve their performance with practical tips on how to implement them.
86 Long Ordering Lines
It’s pretty intuitive that guests don’t like standing in line. If you run a Tap Room and think that your guests like them, we’re here to tell you that you’re wrong. Some Tap Room managers think lines create an impression of scarcity and help control order flow to the kitchen. Or perhaps they have always had lines and have a hard time envisioning a different way to operate.
Like many things we experience in life, just because things have always been done one way, or we are willing to endure an annoying process to get something we want, it doesn’t mean it’s an enjoyable experience. For a Tap Room that is trying to maximize revenue, long order lines should really be a thing of the past.
How to keep your kitchen from getting slammed. When it comes to managing the flow of QR orders to the kitchen, it’s common for operators who haven’t used GoTab’s Kitchen Display System (KDS) to question how to keep the kitchen from getting overwhelmed. The good news is that with GoTab QR orders placed within a given timeframe from the same spot get “batched” in the system. Simply set an amount of time (in seconds) that you want your orders to be grouped by and let the KDS handle the rest. GoTab also routes orders to the most efficient fulfillment location. So drinks orders can be routed to the nearest bar. Food orders can be routed to the nearest kitchen station, etc.
How to introduce mobile ordering to skeptical guests. Adapting guest expectations about ordering lines presents a different kind of challenge. While regulars might respond differently than new guests, it’s important to pay attention to each guests’ unique needs. Recent research from the National Restaurant Association indicates that Gen Z and millennials are more comfortable with ordering from their phones while in-venue than Gen X and Baby Boomers. That’s not a surprise. But all guests value flexibility to pick the guest experience that works best for their needs, and that’s where the opportunity lies.
Options to capture every Tap Room guests’ desires. With GoTab, operators can offer both options: guests can order from their table using their phones, or from a server or bartender using the GoTab POS. And with GoTab’s Easy Tab, servers can elegantly introduce mobile ordering in-venue to guests while avoiding the typical setup steps required by other systems. The server simply dips or taps the guest’s credit card, enters their mobile number to text the tab and the guest can subsequently order, reorder and close out their tab on their own.
Swap The Swipe
We get it. The technology for accepting credit cards is cumbersome and Tap Room managers have a ton of pressing problems already. Why should you bother ditching your swipe card tech now? There are two main reasons … and a third that isn’t obvious but is equally as important. 1. Switching to chip card readers that allow guests to dip or tap their credit card provides fraud protection that your swipe card readers won’t;. 2. With chip cards, you get chargeback protection for walk-outs. Swipe cards don’t offer that benefit; and, 3. After years of marketing messaging about the privacy and security benefits of chip cards, consumers prefer them. Swapping to EMV card readers that allow guests to tap or dip their card to open a tab is both safer, and therefore make you more trustworthy in your guests’ eyes.
Keep The Human Touch
With labor shortages and high inflation, it’s very challenging for Tap Room managers to ensure that every guest feels recognized and well served. With so many demands on limited Tap Room staff, it sometimes feels like Tap Rooms should spend less time on personalized guest service and more time just getting tickets closed and orders to tables. The reality is that you need to be able to strike a balance. Guests come to your Tap Room for great beer, great food pairings, great ambience AND a feeling of community. Otherwise, they’d order their food and drinks to go. By reducing the transactional workload on your front of house staff, they can focus their efforts on personalized service in the Tap Room, sharing insights about ingredients, and brewing processes. The things that beer enthusiasts come to your Tap Room to experience
Use Smart Tech To Improve Back-Of-House Operations
As one of the only platforms built from the ground up with integrated mobile ordering & payment, POS, and KDS, we give operators a birds eye view from ordering through fulfillment. One of the first ways to improve operations in the kitchen is by getting accurate orders in from the start. When guests enter their own orders they are far less likely to complain that their order is wrong. According to Doug Tuttle, General Manager at Washington D.C.’s The Brig Beer Garden and Restaurant has been able to reduce their comps from 3% to <1%.
And while most systems recognize the benefits of tech at the front-of-house, few give operators the tools to improve timing and quality control in the kitchen. These kitchen management tools can take many forms, including:
Routing. Because GoTab knows where orders are going, the system can route orders to the most efficient fulfillment stations.
Delay notifications. In the event the kitchen gets backed up and certain items start taking extra time, operators can add Delay notifications right on the menu. Guests may still want to order the item, but Delay notifications work to set the right expectations up front.
Rush items. In the unfortunate event a server forgets to enter a table’s order, they can notify the kitchen that the items need to be rushed directly from the POS. This avoids extra time lost getting the order corrected.
Ticket timers. A great communication tool that lets the kitchen indicate where tickets are in the fulfillment process. With this feature you can limit the verbal back and forth so staff can focus on the guest.
SMS Communication With Guests
The most efficient way to avoid problems or frustration in the Tap Room is to ensure accurate and timely communication. With integrated SMS between the guest and the kitchen, you can quickly clarify order questions, address questions from your guests and it’s all documented in the system for your records. This saves a great deal of time, which translates into staff time that can be spent focusing on their jobs.
Tap Room Menu Tips
There are countless creative tactics you can apply to make your tap room menu more enticing for your guests and more profitable for you.
Digital menus. With a mobile menu you have almost infinite flexibility to test and learn in rapid cycles. So some of the things you can do – and should do – is experiment. Use some of the tactics that e-commerce companies have been using for years. Make sure you have drool-worthy photos, sized for mobile. Invest the time to make sure your awesome branding is reflected on your menu. Also, experiment with video. Your digital menu is a digital platform so it should be able to support video. Video is a proven great medium for engagement around ingredients, or the way an item is prepared. People care about those things so give them an opportunity to learn more.
Offer experiences. Let guests reserve premium experiences like fire pits, ping-pong and pool tables by letting them add them through your menu. You’ll get a great platform for promotion and scheduling. While you can still use reservation systems, this isn’t a replacement for table reservations, it’s a great way to keep your experiences fresh and experiment with little to no extra cost to you.
Add a food truck(s). While many Tap Rooms added kitchens so that they could stay open during the pandemic, it’s not uncommon to have to add additional food options for special events. With GoTab for Multi-Operator locations, you can integrate those third-party menus into a single ordering experience for your guests, while streamlining revenue allocations and payouts as early as the next day.
In this article we’ve listed many ways to capture more revenue in your Tap Room. but this is by no means an exhausting list. We would love to talk to you about how to help your Tap Room flourish and earn higher check averages, happy guests and a staff that is in control. If you’d like to speak with a GoTab representative about how you can improve your Tap Room business, contact us today.