Independents Find Easy Fixes in Technology

At Scotty’s Brewhouse, every investment in technology is strategically evaluated.
At Scotty’s Brewhouse, every investment in technology is strategically evaluated. Chad Kline / Dead Eye Photography

Accessible solutions enable owner/operators to solve common restaurant conundrums.

Scott Wise has long been ambitious about embracing technology at Scotty’s Brewhouse, the Indiana-based bar-and-grill concept he founded in 1996.

For every technological tool that comes to his attention, however, Wise asks a central question: Will this save me time or money? For an independent restaurateur like Wise, every investment decision must be viewed through that strategic lens. Adopting technology cannot solely be a matter of keeping up with the Joneses, but rather it must strengthen the operation.

“If you want to stay in business and grow, then ignoring relevant technology is no longer an option,” Wise says. “But it has to be the right technology for your restaurant, your customer, and your concept.”

Mistakenly, many independent operators consider cutting-edge technology the domain of national chains, corporate powerhouses, and tech geeks-turned-restaurateurs. Yet, a number of today’s most relevant restaurant technology offerings are accessible to the masses and, in many cases, specifically designed with the small-business operator in mind.

While incorporating technology can be frightening to some and foreign to others, independents can use technology to create a smarter, more efficient operation that is better positioned to improve profitability and marketplace standing, invaluable prospects in an industry known for tight margins and intense competition.

So, toss the paper schedules and yellow-sheeted waitlists aside, cease the guesswork, and embrace the tech revolution. After all, there are better ways to run a restuarant.

A Call for Up-Front Efficiency

At David’s Catfish House in Andalusia, Alabama, owner Bill Spurlin prides himself on customer service. Tending to about 2,500 customers each day, Spurlin’s crew needs to be on top of its game to please customers in the fast-churning, 200-seat dining room.

In mid-2014, Spurlin’s 7-year-old casual eatery began using Kallpod at the nudging of Kallpod COO Steven Barlow, a native of Andalusia. With the system functioning much like a call button on airplanes, patrons can press a button on a wireless unit at the table to let their server know they would like another drink or are ready for the check. Via radio waves, servers wearing a wristwatch immediately see the table number and the specific request.


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