Toast Customer Story

Alpine Inn Increases Average Check Size By 45%, Processes Over $100k Per Week With Toast Order & Pay

Rossotti’s Alpine Inn, a fast casual QSR in California’s Bay Area, increases operational efficiency and drives higher order volume with Toast Order & Pay.


Faced with the challenge of reopening safely during a global pandemic, Rossotti’s Alpine Inn deployed Toast Order & Pay to empower guests to order and pay for their meal from the convenience and safety of their own mobile device. Now they are processing almost 90% of their on-premise dining volume through Toast Order & Pay, generating over $100k in revenue per week.

If You're Not Changing In This Environment, You're Missing Out

Around the Portola Valley area, Alpine Inn has a massive following. Operating Partner Greg St. Claire of Avenir Restaurant Group oversees restaurant operations, and like so many others, has seen the impact COVID-19 has had on the restaurant industry. Greg highlights the importance of being able to pivot during tough times.

“If you're not changing in this environment you're going to be in trouble,” Greg says. “You can't go back to the way things were. Toast software has really allowed us to pivot, and if you aren’t able to pivot right now, you’re going to be one of the companies that goes down. We recognized it and made the transition off Aloha.”

As plans to reopen took shape, Alpine Inn needed a solution that could help them keep both guests and restaurant staff safe. They found that solution with Toast Order & Pay.

“Toast software has really allowed us to pivot, and if you aren’t able to pivot right now, you’re going to be one of the companies that goes down. We recognized it and made the transition off Aloha.”

Greg St. Claire

Operating Partner

Creating Efficiency By Putting Guests In Control

Even before COVID, Alpine Inn faced operating challenges, with guests ordering from a cashier inside the tavern and picking up their food when they received a text. Multiple pickup areas added confusion, and when guests weren't paying attention to their phones, food was stacking up in the kitchens. 

Order & Pay allows guests to place their order and pay from their phone, and runners bring the food directly to their table at the moment it’s ready since each order is automatically identified to the associated table. This efficiency has drastically reduced backup in the kitchens and improved the customer experience.

Regional Manager and Operating Partner, Michelle Monterossa Qadri explains, “We were afraid that, instead of having three points of order entry, we could have 50 or more sending orders in at the same time. But we're able to run the food as it comes up rather than waiting for the guest so it makes everything more efficient.”

Executive Chef Sean Agoliati knew that training his staff would be crucial to success. He and his team conducted a training session before reopening in June and continues to train new hires. 

“We put them in the guest’s position,” Sean explains. “We sit them down at the table and everybody scans the QR code and goes through the menu and places an order so they know each step that goes into the process.”

To help put the system through its paces, the team also hosted a friends and family soft opening and invited managers and employees from other restaurants in their restaurant group to test the experience. 

"Our ability to be relevant in the community and continue to provide great customer service, a great experience, and a great escape for the community has been awesome."

Sean Agoliati

Executive Chef

It’s A New Experience, But It Couldn’t Be Easier

Highlighting safety measures and nailing the introduction were critical to guest adoption. Staff walk through each step of ordering and paying, including setting up an account for faster checkout in the future. 

“We frame it as contactless ordering and payment and people that are sensitive to COVID appreciate that,” Michelle says. “It doesn't feel standoffish. We're providing a safe environment.”

Staff are freed up to provide hospitality in new ways. The technology has allowed bartenders to make more drinks and servers to focus more on high-value touches.

“Runners are filling waters, asking how everybody's doing, doing a table touch -- while they're running food,” Michelle explains. “It's a way for us to check in and make sure that everybody's getting what they need.”

Putting ordering in the hands of the guest has done wonders, but the team emphasizes the importance of viewing everything from the perspective of the guest.

Michelle says, “We're so used to our menus and our POS being internal. The acronyms that cashiers know aren't something that the guest is going to know. Having descriptions and pictures makes it easy for the guest.”

Guests are empowered by the technology. For anyone who prefers to order with a server, the team uses Toast Go handhelds. Guests welcome the opportunity to leave the house and enjoy themselves safely.

“Our ability to be relevant in the community and continue to provide great customer service, a great experience, and a great escape for the community has been awesome,” Sean says.

“We're doing more transactions per guest than before. The guest doesn't have to disrupt their conversation, go stand in what could be a pretty long line to get a beer, and then go back to the table. They're more apt to order another beer because it comes quickly.”

Michelle Monterossa Qadri

Regional Manager & Operating Partner

Increased Efficiency Is Translating Into Sales

On average, Alpine Inn has been processing over $100,000 in orders each week using Order & Pay, which represents almost 90% of their on-premise dining volume. In a time where restaurants are hurting, Order & Pay has allowed Alpine Inn to thrive. 

Not only are these numbers impressive under the circumstances, they're up over last year! The average check size at Alpine Inn has increased by 45% compared to the same quarter last year. 

“If you look at our sales numbers they're pretty impressive,” Greg says. “It's like Groundhog's Day, except it's Valentine's Day over and over again. It's pretty shocking that we've been able to attain these numbers.”

A key to this success is that Order & Pay eliminates the need to wait for a server to put in an order or pay their check. The team says that not missing that extra beverage sale has been huge. Guests are appreciating this convenience as evidenced by their tips, Alpine Inn is seeing 6% higher tips on Order & Pay transactions compared to traditional orders. 

“We're doing more transactions per guest than before,” Michelle says. “The guest doesn't have to disrupt their conversation, go stand in what could be a pretty long line to get a beer, and then go back to the table. They're more apt to order another beer because it comes quickly.”

"These were often lost sales," Greg adds. "Now the guests do not hesitate to fire that second, third or fourth round. We are clearly not missing that extra pint, pitcher, or cocktail order."

The efficiency is helping to drive labor savings as well, allowing fewer staff to take on more responsibility. 

“Staff can now take a much larger section,” Greg says. “It means we'll cut labor down and increase the amount of money that the smaller team is making, which will lead to the longevity of them staying with us.”

Greg and team had their eyes on mobile order and payment technology long before COVID hit, and they’re optimistic that the technology has a place in their restaurant once restrictions are lifted. 

Sean adds, “I can't wait until we can have a mix where people can walk up to order, but also just order from the comfort of their table. Our staff will really be put to the test, because it's going to be unlimited -- really looking forward to that.”

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