When we meet people who truly understand this industry, the connection just clicks. With so many small details and kinks to work out, it takes time to build a working operation. Cedric Adams, Operations Director of Boston’s East Coast Tavern Group (ECTG), understands what it takes to run a well-oiled machine. With over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, he’s witnessed firsthand the growth of technology and data in the industry, has seen what works and what doesn’t, and knows that in an ever-evolving industry, one thing remains paramount—the importance of surrounding yourself with a strong team.
As I sat in a dimly lit booth across from Cedric at 6B Lounge, it quickly became clear why this restaurant group is expanding so rapidly—it's backed by people who understand what it takes to build the right team and implement the right tools.
Prior to BevSpot, ECTG had implemented an inventory management system that just didn't improve the group’s efficiency behind the bar: “Our original solution worked for what it was, but its time had passed. Needing our own individual handheld system and allowing for only one person to take inventory when I’ve got two other people running around the bar—it wasn’t efficient.” Adams knew there had to be something better out there: “It’s not just about using technology. It’s about ease of use.”
With an engineering background and a love of numbers, Adams knows the value of hard data and the insights it can provide for his industry. About a year ago, when 6B Lounge’s Bar Manager Oran McGonagle presented Adams with BevSpot—a technology solution that would streamline bar management operations while also providing the right data—it was a no brainer to test it out at one location:
“With BevSpot, we’re driving down, we’re looking at costs, when we build a drink, we can literally build a drink in BevSpot, and then at the end of the year we can go back and look at the variance and say ‘we sold this.’”
“Unlike our previous solution, it’s on your phone and everyone can help out with doing inventory.”
Building the Right Team
When I asked Cedric about his role in the process of software implementation, and what advice he would give to future Operations Managers, he didn’t hesitate to give all credit to his managers behind the bar. As someone who chose hospitality over a Manufacturing Engineering career path, realizing, “as much as I loved numbers, I loved people more.” Cedric can’t speak enough about how people skills and customer service really drive his business:
“If someone asked me to describe my job, you know what my job is? Talent Acquisition. You’re only as good as the people around you, and that is the most important thing. I’m spoiled, I have a lot of really great managers. My managers do amazing things every day. They do all the work. These guys literally put in the work—face to face with customers, making friends, everyday. I only get to do the stuff I do because of the people who work for me. I’ve got good people, I’ve got good chefs, and that’s what it comes down to.”
And that is certainly what it came down to when the time came to consider BevSpot as a solution. I was curious about the process Cedric went through when considering new software solutions, and Cedric had only two words for me: Oran McGonagle.
“He’s the best. He is the reason that this is successful. He’s very smart and a good operator, and he saw the benefits right away. I said ‘if he thinks it’s good, I need to look at it,’ because the truth is he’s right 99% of the time. And when you have a product that someone can pick up and use right away—it’s pretty easy to get on board.”
Cedric, who spent 17.5 years bartending at a Boston staple, Silvertone, says, “I’ve worked for some really good people, and that’s half the battle.”
From the Perspective of a Bar Manager
So with such high praise to 6B Lounge’s Bar Manager, Oran McGonagle, I went straight to the source to learn about his process and what happened when first introduced to BevSpot.
“Ultimately, our goal was to move away from a piece of paper and work faster. That was not happening with the tool we were using.”
Becoming increasingly annoyed with the incumbent system, Oran pushed for giving BevSpot a go, “It was exactly what I wanted and exactly what the company needed.” He also notes how easy it is for him to train his team to use BevSpot (we’re sensing a theme with teamwork in this group and are happy that we can help!).
Not only has BevSpot taken about 70% off of Oran’s inventory time, but he has not missed a single one of his monthly performance-based bonuses since implementing BevSpot.
Sounds like Oran got a lot of time back in his days. So how is he spending that extra time?:
“I do a lot more research so I can make sure I’m carrying the best products at the best prices. My relationships with my reps are a lot more of what can we do rather than what are we doing. And I’m able to change the menu a lot more often—it used to be seasonally but I changed it just the other day to try a new beer.”
Whelp and love partnering with people who understand the importance of streamlining operations with great technology! Thanks for chatting with us, Cedric and Oran.