Getting Set Up with BevSpot

As a long-time industry professional, The Smoke Shop’s Director of Operations, Ian Grossman, has done it all. “Everything from dishwasher to executive chef, busboy to now Director.” But one thing he hadn’t done was run operations. He got his first taste of the responsibilities that come with running a restaurant when he helped a friend with their establishment.

While I was there as a consultant, my friend lost some of his management team and I took over running the operations. When I did that, one of my jobs was to manage their beverage program. I was first introduced to BevSpot in a, ‘I gotta learn very quickly how to order for this restaurant’ way. And I was really pleased with how easy that was to do with BevSpot.”

When Ian was brought on to run operations at The Smoke Shop, he knew he needed BevSpot to run a smart and efficient beverage program.

“Fast forward about six months when we’re opening The Smoke Shop, I called BevSpot almost immediately and said, ‘I don’t need a demo. I don’t need a trial period. I just need your program.’ And we’ve been using it ever since.”

How They Use BevSpot

BevSpot Beverage is a crucial part of the inventory and ordering process at all three Smoke Shop locations.

We take inventory weekly on Monday morning at each restaurant. That is done by our beverage director,” Ian explains. “He will start at each location and enter the inventory counts into BevSpot as his bar manager calls out items and amounts. Usually by the end of the day, he has finalized all inventories and builds an [ordering] cart in BevSpot. It’s pretty simple.”

For Ian, the amount of time his team saves taking inventory with BevSpot versus pen and paper is invaluable.

By the time you’re finished taking inventory [in BevSpot] if you did it accurately, you can generate an order and send it within minutes. With BevSpot, it takes roughly 90 minutes to two hours to do our weekly inventory. If we went back to the dark ages and used paper and pen or Excel, it would probably take two and a half to three hours at each location, if not more.”

BevSpot is also crucial for helping Ian and his beverage director keep track of variance. “After inventory is finalized, every Tuesday, my beverage director or I will go into our POS system, pull a product mix, and send that to BevSpot. BevSpot will then give us our variances. Seeing those variances is really important for us to keep tight inventory controls.

Getting the Kitchen Staff Involved

Beyond being a BevSpot Beverage power user, The Smoke Shop also uses BevSpot Food to manage their food invoices and food usage. Chef de Cuisine Will Salazar has been involved in the implementation of BevSpot Food from day one.

I’m forcing all of my kitchen managers to use BevSpot. It’s required now. We use it on laptops, tablets, computers, my phone—you name the electronic device, we’ve probably used it. If you could make BevSpot for Apple Watch, that would be great!”

As the leader in charge of the menu at multiple restaurants, Will’s greatest challenge is trying to be in more than one place at a time. “In the restaurant business, it’s always something,” Will says. “So imagine it’s always something times two, then times three, and times four. It gets exponentially challenging as you grow.”

With that challenge front of mind, Will saw the benefit of consolidating the food program for all three restaurants into one online platform.

Instead of having a million spreadsheets that crash my computer, I can just open my phone and be in multiple restaurants at once. Which is a huge help.”

Working with BevSpot

Going from an offline system to a technology solution can be challenging. What happens if something breaks or doesn’t work as expected? How will the technology company address issues? Ian’s fears were quickly put to rest as he started working with BevSpot’s Customer Success team.

It’s always been sort of surprising to me how much of a personal relationship I have with the BevSpot team. As a tech company, I expect there to be walls and layers of people to talk to get things done. If I ever have an issue with BevSpot, it’s addressed immediately by the top levels of the company. That’s a pleasant surprise.”

The Smoke Shop was also instrumental in helping the BevSpot team create, pilot, and test BevSpot’s Food Management software. Will played a key role in helping BevSpot understand the mind of a chef, and in the process, built a close working relationship with the team. “The relationship with BevSpot has been really fruitful and rewarding,” Will says. “It’s been a great experience building a product from the ground up. I’ve enjoyed the process helping to build an app that works for everybody.”

The Results

Besides saving time taking inventory and placing orders, BevSpot has helped The Smoke Shop spot variance and take clear actions to address it.

If we see a variance [in BevSpot], we can act on it,” Ian says. “Doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s a variance of a few bottles of beer, it might not be something we’ll be able to figure out. If it’s a variance of a case of beer, then it’s probably something we missed in inventory. If there’s a trend of missing Fernet, then we probably know that’s going to our friends in the industry and we need to address that with our bartenders.”

For Will and his kitchen staff, the ability to combine multiple systems into BevSpot has saved them a lot of time and effort. “BevSpot has been a great tool for us. A lot of the systems we were using [in the kitchen] have been consolidated into BevSpot. It’s been really nice for tracking invoices, price changes, costs of good, and usage.”