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10/19/2021

BBQ Restaurant Leans on Tech to Manage Food Costs

Plus, Das BBQ in Atlanta has gone cashless. "Everybody is comfortable interacting with a handheld payment device," says pitmaster Stephen Franklin.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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a person standing in a kitchen preparing food
Stephen Franklin's two restaurants have gone cashless. "Most everybody is comfortable interacting with a handheld payment device. Very rarely does anybody fault us for not having a cash drawer anymore."

HT recently caught up with award-winning pitmaster Stephen Franklin of Das BBQ in Atlanta. He left a career in the insurance industry to open his first restaurant in 2016 and the second in 2021. Das BBQ received a  Clover Achiever Award as the restaurant expanded to open its second location earlier this year.

 

HT: Tells us about DAS BBQ. 

DAS BBQ’s Stephen Franklin, pit master and owner:  DAS BBQ began in 2015 and opened its doors at our first location in Atlanta in January of 2017. We’re a collective group of backyard and competition barbecue enthusiasts who decided Atlanta needed more competition-grade commercial barbecue restaurants.

HT: What were the challenges DAS BBQ was facing before the pandemic? What problems were you looking to POS technology to solve?

Franklin:  Besides the typical challenges in the restaurant world, we were focusing on controlling and containing our food costs, which are a bigger threat for meat-centric businesses.

HT: What were the tech solutions deployed to help solve those problems?   

Franklin:  We were able to rebuild our Clover Inventory and Menu in a way that allows us to report our sales mix with incredible accuracy.

HT: What are/were the results of using these solutions? 

Franklin:  The new reporting helps us control our inventory, and it helps us learn how to market our products more effectively. Ultimately, it helps us be profitable in everything we do.

32% of restaurants say using data to understand guest preferences and behavior is driving their next POS upgrade -- HT's 2021 POS Software Trends report

 

HT:  What tech solutions have you added since COVID-19?

Franklin:  We use handheld Clover Flex devices exclusively, and they allow us to be mobile - take orders on the device and then bring our food to customers anywhere we like. We’ve also added online ordering capabilities that report directly to Clover through our devices.

HT: What tools do you use to optimize the menu mix & manage inventory? 

Franklin:  We use Clover Reporting to do our sales and item sales reports. This enables us to keep track of what is selling so we know we may need to purchase larger quantities and what isn’t selling so we can consider discontinuing a menu item.

HT: From a tech perspective, how has the consumer experience changed at your restaurant? 

Franklin:  We went cashless at our first store, and we started that way at our second location. It was the right time to make the change, for lots of reasons. But it has shown us that most everybody is comfortable interacting with a handheld payment device. Very rarely does anybody fault us for not having a cash drawer anymore.

HT: What is currently the greatest disruptive force on your business?  

Franklin:  The ability to hire quality candidates requires a much higher degree of care than it ever has for us. That requires more time and resources.

HT: How have you adapted your operations, hiring procedures, benefits and scheduling in light of current events? 

Franklin:  With two stores, Clover makes it easy to separate the activities of each. We use the Homebase feature as our time management tool, and that’s a big advantage of not having to employ more hardware to manage an already difficult task.