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One Restaurant’s New Digital Life

One Restaurant’s New Digital Life


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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 workers is stretched skinny, and the proprietor is happy about expertise — however solely on her phrases.

Last 12 months, I wrote about Glasserie and the way technology was both helping and hurting it adapt within 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 phase of coronavirus recovery within the United States.

Glasserie’s expertise is a hopeful signal that digital habits pressured on us in a disaster could assist construct a brighter future not just for the corporate tech titans but additionally for smaller companies.

Conklin advised me that the pandemic pressured her to change into extra tech savvy in ways in which she believes will assist the restaurant in the long term. She stays pissed off 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 patrons to pay the invoice on their telephones.

Those are the sorts of digital providers that Conklin stated will make Glasserie extra environment friendly and extra worthwhile. “These are things I’d like to keep whether there was a pandemic or not,” she stated. “We want to keep pushing ahead.”

Most of the final 12 months, although, was all about muddling by. Glasserie’s eating room was closed or capability was severely restricted. It tried to make up for misplaced enterprise by opening a web-based minimart promoting objects like bottles of wine and bathroom paper. It began promoting alcoholic drinks and snacks by a brand new takeout window, and workers members cranked out emails to tempt diners with meals created for consuming at residence.

All of these pandemic diversifications are over. As different eating places are reporting, persons are wanting to eat out once more, and Glasserie is completely satisfied to serve them. “We’re busier now than we’ve ever been in our almost 10 years of existence,” Conklin advised me. That’s even with capability limits on indoor eating in New York.

Conklin additionally stated that the pandemic transformed her from a skeptic of expertise for Glasserie. “I have always been resistant,” she stated, 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 feel right to me.” But 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 other restaurant owners, Conklin complained about what she felt had been complicated phrases and excessive prices.

Recently, Glasserie has been utilizing a feature from Square, which sells digital money registers and different expertise to eating places, to take supply orders immediately on the restaurant’s website. Conklin makes use of a characteristic at hand off these orders to couriers working for Postmates or DoorDash for a further price.

She stated this was a manner for Glasserie to supply deliveries however on the restaurant’s personal web site and with extra management. If the kitchen is slammed, Glasserie can briefly pause the supply possibility.

Conklin nonetheless doesn’t like prices for deliveries. She stated she didn’t actually know what Glasserie paid to supply suppliers, exhibiting how sophisticated the app firms’ costs had been. “For me to find that out would take me a good hour or two and some real math,” she stated.

It additionally bothers her that Glasserie has no option to maintain tabs on supply orders and infrequently doesn’t find out about late deliveries or botched meals till it’s far too late to repair the issue.

But Conklin’s greatest headache isn’t expertise. It’s finding enough workers. Glasserie has marketed for workers on Craigslist and on restaurant job boards, and has gotten in contact with former staff. It’s been sluggish going.

I requested Conklin the way it feels now that she and Glasserie have shifted previous emergency mode to this new section. She stated she felt optimistic and unsure, however largely in a great way. “It feels very much like we are opening a restaurant from scratch,” she stated.

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