- Toast POS
- Toast Go™
- Kitchen Display System
- Toast Order & Pay™
Eventide Fenway uses Toast Go®, KDS, and Order & Pay™ to Deliver Superior Service with Fast Casual Efficiency
From 2018 to 2021, Eventide Fenway has embraced technology to create a great guest experience, keep staff engaged, and keep the orders coming.
John Myers is the General Manager at Eventide Holdings, the group behind Eventide Fenway, a modern fast casual concept bringing the best of New England cuisine to the booming Boston neighborhood.
Aided by best-in-class technology and the New Steps of Service, Eventide delivers a high-touch guest experience in an efficient fast casual model.
Read on to learn how they implemented handhelds to create more opportunities for food and drink orders throughout a guest’s visit — and how they adapted to COVID-19 with an expanded patio and Order & Pay™ technology.
Technology to Support Seamless End-to-End Operations
"When guests walk into Eventide Fenway," John explains, "they approach the counter and someone with a Toast Go® is ready to greet them. When they place their order, we ask for their phone number. This unique interaction allows us to notify them when their food is ready."
Orders from Toast Go® are immediately fired to the kitchen, where line cooks and expeditors work from a digital kitchen display system. "The order is immediately fired to the kitchen display screen for the expeditor and the hot line," John says. "With the KDS, the people working the line know exactly how many burger patties and fish filets they need to be prepping at any moment. The expeditor sees that too. It adds a new level of non-verbal communication."
"As each order is completed," John adds, "the expeditor taps a button on the KDS and the guest is notified via text message."
Mobile Table Service Enhances Guest Touchpoints
Eventide Fenway developed a continued service model which builds in more face time and upsell opportunities with guests.
"Toast helps us bring the continued service model to life with handhelds," John says. "Once they pick up their order at the counter, we didn't want the guest's interaction with the restaurant to be finished. So we have servers that roam through the dining room with Toast Go® handhelds. It allows us to have another interaction with the guest and to sell a few more food items before they head out the door."
Toast Go® handhelds have the full functionality of a stationary terminal, empowering servers to care for the guest without leaving the table. "With handhelds, servers take the order tableside, process the credit card transaction right there, and the guest can sign right on the screen and can get a receipt emailed or texted," John says. "It's an exciting way to do things. It's been fun and interesting for our guests."
Mobile Technology Designed for Restaurants
With a built-in credit card reader, hand strap, and pocket-size dimensions, John and his team have found Toast Go® to be better equipped for the restaurant environment than consumer-grade tablets.
"It's clear that Toast Go® was designed to be used in a restaurant," John says. "With our previous iPad system, we had issues with cracked screens and broken charger ports. Toast Go® is a more rugged and durable solution for the long term."
Bringing Order & Pay™ to the Patio
When COVID-19 hit, the Eventide team had to make some big changes. “The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to test a lot of different things, and see what works and what doesn't as things change,” says John.
In the summer, they added a patio equipped with Toast Order & Pay™. Guests place orders on their phones with QR codes specific for their table, and food runners bring the food to their table when it’s ready. To keep the multiple rounds of orders coming, servers still roam to those tables armed with a Toast Go®.
Guests handle the ordering and paying largely by themselves, but they still get to experience the traditional touchpoints of great hospitality and connect with their server. “I think people still like that human element of service,” says John.
With this new way of ordering, communication is key. “[It’s important to have] someone that explains the process before they sit down, as they're being brought to the table, walks them through how it's going to work — ‘Hey, this is the QR code. You're gonna scan this. It's gonna bring up the menu, you're gonna be able to order what you want someone to bring out the food, you'll have the opportunity to order more from them when they come around later, if you have questions’,” he explains.
At Eventide, every front of house staff member is cross-trained — it keeps them from getting bored in their jobs, and makes scheduling much easier. “We want anyone to be able to step into any of those roles,” says John. “Certainly Order & Pay™ allows you to sort of scale back on the number of staff, [but] you want to make sure you have people available to run food. You want to make sure you have someone that's there to see people explain the process and you want someone that's doing the continued service, but I think it's sort of an equal balance there. But you don't need as many people on the floor taking orders as you would in a traditional model.”
The Power of Guest-Led Ordering
When a guest is responsible for putting in their orders, they’ve got control over modifiers and add-ons in a way that was previously only possible through online ordering.
“I think that there's some more accuracy to your ordering… when a guest is putting them in themselves,” says John. And since everything goes right from the ordering system to the KDS, nothing gets lost in translation on its way to the back of house. “They're going to remember all their allergies, too. They're going to remember that they don't want pickles on things — little notes like that. I think we've seen increased order accuracy, so less food being sent back.”
Getting Front of House Staff Up to Speed on New Tech
Whenever new technology is implemented, staff need to be thoroughly trained on how to use it — and if it’s guest-facing technology like Order & Pay™, staff will need to understand the why behind the change and how to sell this new way of dining to their customers, says John. “Arming your staff with the right verbiage and the right way to make a guest feel comfortable in a sort of non-traditional ordering environment is very important — making sure your staff is prepared and empowered to speak about why you're doing things a certain way, and having faith in why are you doing it that way,” he says.
But once the training is done, it’s time to lend your ear to your staff and always be open to feedback. “Flexibility is important, making little tweaks and listening to your staff, if they have suggestions — they're the ones doing it every day,” says John. “When you're doing it, it's different. So being responsive to staff, feedback, being responsive to guest feedback and being ready to be flexible.”
Eventide Fenway marries technology, award-winning food, and personal service to create a delightful guest experience every time.
"Toast makes me feel confident that I can do my job and not worry about the underlying technology behind it," John says. "I'm excited that Toast is there to make our restaurant more efficient, more exciting, and that they are there to help us take things to the next level."