Glasserie Adopts New Digital Habits in Pandemic
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What does a post-pandemic restaurant appear to be? At Glasserie, a Mediterranean restaurant in Brooklyn, gross sales are stellar, the employees is stretched skinny, and the proprietor is happy about expertise — however solely on her phrases.
Final 12 months, I wrote about Glasserie and the way expertise was each serving to and hurting it adapt in the pandemic. I checked again this week with Sara Conklin, Glasserie’s proprietor, to learn how the restaurant is faring in (fingers crossed) the early section of coronavirus restoration in the USA.
Glasserie’s expertise is a hopeful signal that digital habits compelled on us in a disaster could assist construct a brighter future not just for the company tech titans but in addition for smaller companies.
Conklin instructed me that the pandemic compelled her to turn out to be extra tech savvy in ways in which she believes will assist the restaurant in the long term. She stays annoyed by some expertise that caters to eating places, notably food-delivery apps, however is thrilled about others, together with smartphone software program that she plans to make use of for purchasers to pay the invoice on their telephones.
These are the sorts of digital companies that Conklin mentioned will make Glasserie extra environment friendly and extra worthwhile. “These are issues I’d prefer to hold whether or not there was a pandemic or not,” she mentioned. “We wish to hold pushing forward.”
Many of the final 12 months, although, was all about muddling by. Glasserie’s eating room was closed or capability was significantly restricted. It tried to make up for misplaced enterprise by opening an internet minimart promoting objects like bottles of wine and bathroom paper. It began promoting alcoholic drinks and snacks by a brand new takeout window, and employees members cranked out emails to tempt diners with meals created for consuming at dwelling.
All of these pandemic diversifications are over. As different eating places are reporting, persons are wanting to eat out once more, and Glasserie is blissful to serve them. “We’re busier now than we’ve ever been in our virtually 10 years of existence,” Conklin instructed me. That’s even with capability limits on indoor eating in New York.
Conklin additionally mentioned that the pandemic transformed her from a skeptic of expertise for Glasserie. “I’ve at all times been resistant,” she mentioned, not essentially to all applied sciences however to those who she believed acquired in the way in which or ruined the ambiance. “It didn’t really feel proper to me.” However now she’s enthusiastic about expertise — at the least a few of it.
In 2020, Glasserie had no selection however to start out utilizing extra supply and takeout apps together with Seamless, Grubhub and DoorDash. Like different restaurant house owners, Conklin complained about what she felt have been complicated phrases and excessive prices.
Not too long ago, Glasserie has been utilizing a function from Sq., which sells digital money registers and different expertise to eating places, to take supply orders immediately on the restaurant’s web site. Conklin makes use of a function handy off these orders to couriers working for Postmates or DoorDash for an extra price.
She mentioned this was a means for Glasserie to supply deliveries however on the restaurant’s personal web site and with extra management. If the kitchen is slammed, Glasserie can quickly pause the supply choice.
Conklin nonetheless doesn’t like prices for deliveries. She mentioned she didn’t actually know what Glasserie paid to supply suppliers, displaying how sophisticated the app corporations’ prices have been. “For me to seek out that out would take me hour or two and a few actual math,” she mentioned.
It additionally bothers her that Glasserie has no method to hold tabs on supply orders and infrequently doesn’t learn about late deliveries or botched meals till it’s far too late to repair the issue.
However Conklin’s greatest headache isn’t expertise. It’s discovering sufficient employees. Glasserie has marketed for workers on Craigslist and on restaurant job boards, and has gotten in contact with former staff. It’s been gradual going.
I requested Conklin the way it feels now that she and Glasserie have shifted previous emergency mode to this new section. She mentioned she felt optimistic and unsure, however principally in a great way. “It feels very very similar to we’re opening a restaurant from scratch,” she mentioned.
Earlier than we go …
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