WingHouse Bar & Grill Uncovering Opportunities with Draft Technology
Florida-based retailer partnering with BeerBoard to improve efficiency, policies and revenue through real-time data and insights
February 21, 2019
In his first days as President and CEO of WingHouse Bar & Grill, Dennis Prescott went on a tour of the chain’s lineup which included conversations with team members at every level, a review of menu offerings and surveying the physical and operational buildout of each of the brand’s 24 locations.
“We found changes were necessary to elevate our brand to a modern experience for both our team members and customers,” said Prescott, who joined the Florida-based operator in late spring of 2017. New equipment, revamping the menu and updating the interiors and exteriors of locations were all part of the initial upgrades. Once those early changes were in place, Prescott and his team turned their attention to to the company’s operational processes with the goal of ensuring each restaurant was running at optimal levels for efficiency and revenue generation; each shift, every day.
That is where WingHouse turned to BeerBoard, which provides unprecedented insights for a retailer’s velocity, performance and return within the draft beer category. Through its patented SmartBar platform, BeerBoard generates real-time insights, trend-driven analytics and integrated inventory for bars and restaurants.
“WingHouse is a brand driven through its alcohol sales, and specifically draft beer,” noted Prescott. “When we first partnered with BeerBoard, we started with two test stores, both of which are our top performers. We immediately engaged with the SmartBar platform and stayed on top of it. We learned a lot, quickly.”
At the outset, the goal was to make sure the WingHouse draft systems were pouring at optimal levels, maximizing the volume and revenue for each keg of beer on tap. On average, WingHouse features a 12-tap lineup, with 10 mandated brands on tap.
As a result of the insights generated from their location data, Prescott and his team discovered certain stores were experiencing issues from a variety of variables, including outdated equipment, underperforming glycol and faulty tap handles. Once those myriad issues were resolved, attention from the WingHouse leadership dialed up to another level.
“With insights in-hand, we were able to turn our focus to policies and team performance, gearing them around accountability,” said Prescott. “We were able to quickly pinpoint where we had issues — was the bartender pouring the beer correctly, were they ringing in the correct beer? With BeerBoard, there is no room for excuses. We made process improvements, always with the goal of running as efficiently and profitably as we could be. The results continued to build and made a case. BeerBoard was a big part of that.”
Prescott shared a specific example of how the insights immediately translated to both process and revenue gains. “At one location, we had a bartender pouring four pints of beer, but ringing the transaction through as one pitcher of beer poured, all because they thought the two were equal in terms of the volume poured,” he said. “Think about that — we were pouring over 56 ounces of beer, but only charging for 46 ounces. We were giving away a pint of beer — over and over and over again.”
Moreover, the accountability was not just behind the bar, but resonated throughout the restaurant. Prescott referenced points such as why line cleaning was being done on a Friday when it’s traditionally the biggest draft day of the week; were staff members quickly alerting management to issues with the draft system; and how much beer was the kitchen using and which menu items was it being allocated to.
“For us, it was a chance to upgrade the education process throughout the entire restaurant,” he said. “We’ve made the necessary changes to our policies while also uncovering opportunities.”
At many bars and restaurants across America, sporting events, and especially football season, are prime time for pouring draft beer. WingHouse is no exception and Prescott shared two examples of how the concept utilized insights from BeerBoard to make strategic decisions — both in the immediate and for the future:
#1: This past fall, the brand rolled out an aggressive program on pricing which featured deeply discounted pints of Budweiser and Bud Light products. During that quarter, WingHouse grew its Bar mix by increasing transactions and traffic at a time when third-party delivery and to-go sales keep building. On the heels of that success, a similar program is now in the works for this March, when the NCAA Basketball Tournament takes center stage.
Prescott’s comment: “Draft beer cost-of-goods (COG) should be the lowest among alcohol. With BeerBoard in place, we are now paying attention. The better we add to the success of our draft margins, we then have the luxury of maintaining attractive and aggressive pricing promotions and campaigns. We won’t get caught like so many, who are continually forced to raise prices. We will be able to keep them in check.”
#2: Its Tampa store is located next to Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game weekend when the rival New Orleans Saints were coming to town, WingHouse put a Louisiana-based Abita brand on tap for the out-of-town fans. It became a great event, “where Mardis Gras meets Gasparilla (Tampa’s version of Mardis Gras).”
Prescott’s comment: “The New Orleans fans were absolutely thrilled. Just as important, we had complete visibility on the handle and knew the exact amount of product we turned over. Moving forward, we can make those informed decisions for specials, events and ultimately sell more beer.”
In the coming weeks, WingHouse plans to have BeerBoard’s SmartBar platform installed at each of its 24 locations. Prescott says, “Seeing significant results and getting costs in-line for our first two stores, it was a no-brainer to say yes to rolling out this platform system-wide. We can’t wait to realize the opportunity for better policies and systems at each of our locations.
“We are going to continue taking a deep look at beer, liquor and wine sales,” Prescott said. “With the support from BeerBoard, we will bring the WingHouse Bar & Grill to a new level of success.”
BeerBoard manages over $1 billion in retail draft beer sales and 45,000 products through its industry-leading data and insights platform. It works with the largest operators and brewers to help them sell more beer and make more money.
Installed at thousands of client locations, its services include SmartBar, which generates real-time insights and trend-driven analytics; BeerBoardTV, a digital consumer-facing menu display; BeerBoard Menu, automated print and website menus; and BeerBoard Mobile, a mobile application designed for consumer interaction.
BeerBoard’s robust client list features high-profile independent groups and major chain operators across North America. The list includes industry leaders Buffalo Wild Wings, Hooters, Twin Peaks, Applebee’s, Mellow Mushroom and BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. BeerBoard also partners with major brewers for data and insights, including Diageo, Lagunitas, Stone Brewing, Founders, Labatt USA, Genesee, Pyramid and Magic Hat.
BeerBoard is headquartered in Syracuse, NY, and has offices in New York City, Denver, Minneapolis and Atlanta. For more information, please visit http://beerboard.com/
About WingHouse Bar & Grill
WingHouse Bar & Grill first opened its doors over 20 years ago in Largo, Florida, where the concept to blend the spirit and camaraderie of sports with the casual atmosphere of a full-service restaurant was brought to life by NFL alum, Crawford Ker. Today, WingHouse has grown to over 25 locations that span across the state of Florida and entertains a loyal fan-base which embodies that spirit.
Its restaurants are known for their fan-friendly atmosphere where people go to watch the big game, socialize with friends — AND the World Famous WingHouse Girls who serve them. With un-matched levels of attentive hospitality and contagious energy, they are more than servers, the WingHouse Girls are an extension of the party and the concepts biggest brand ambassadors.
With wall-to-wall high-def TVs, year-round sports coverage, and over-sized entrees, WingHouse is a bar and grill that’s more like a destination getaway. It’s a place where sports fans can chat, chow, cheer and more importantly, kick-back and just relax. For more information, please visit https://winghouse.com/