BevSpot Industry Profiles offer a quick glimpse into the life of various food and beverage industry leaders. Through their personal insight, we aim to reveal the pressing issues and trends within the industry.
BevSpot Industry Profiles →
Andrew Van Ermen is one of the owners of Wild Goose in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood. Van Ermen bought the fun and casual sports bar and grill about 12 years ago.
How did you get started in the food and beverage industry?
I’ve been in the hospitality industry since I was about 13 years old. I’m a graduate of Michigan State University’s Hotel Management program. After college, I worked for several hospitality companies, hotels, restaurant chains, and individual independent restaurants. Over the years, I worked my way through operations, accounting, and technology. My wife and I finally ended up buying Wild Goose and have been running it ever since.
What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing?
As an owner, I did not want to have a day-to-day job at the restaurant. That type of philosophy on ownership comes with certain challenges. The most critical challenge is hiring good people to make sure they execute on your behalf. Another challenge is managing data and information in order to make sure you are minimizing any loss, waste, or theft.
How does technology help you take on those challenges?
Having been in the restaurant business for a very long time, I’ve seen restaurant technology come a long way. It isn’t until recently that I’ve seen it be of really true assistance. Data was usually trapped within the walls of each of your establishments. Now, with technology like BevSpot, the ability to see data anywhere and use it to manage your business enables you to not have to be at each individual restaurant in order to succeed.
In your opinion, what are the greatest opportunities and challenges for the industry in the future?
One of the things I know restaurant owners struggle with is how much effort it is to produce business data. Integrations with a point-of-sale system on a real-time basis is the “Holy Grail” to me. The ability to see sales, inventory levels, and purchases without having to import or export data is where it’s at. It makes your data even more valuable and actionable. I know that can be done with the right technology.
When you’re “off the clock,” what is your go-to cocktail or beverage?
A good glass of red wine.