Barbara Lynch, a James Beard Award-winner and Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, started the Gruppo with the mission to provide exceptional food, inspired wine and cocktail programs, and gracious hospitality.
All seven Boston-based concepts from the Gruppo have received international recognition including “Best New Restaurant” from Food and Wine for their flagship restaurant, No. 9 Park.
Ben Kaplan, Director of Operations at the Barbara Lynch Gruppo, was tasked with finding a modern, trustworthy restaurant POS system to improve operations across all seven locations. Here’s how the most critically acclaimed restaurant group in Boston thinks about technology.
Technology to Enhance the Guest Experience
For a group with such an incredible reputation for hospitality, the decision to purchase a new restaurant management system was heavily reliant on how it impacted operations and the guest experience at each restaurant.
“In many ways, the POS system is the heartbeat of the restaurant,” Ben says. “We rely on it to give our customers a valuable experience.”
Fine dining restaurants, Ben says, often face challenges when adopting new technology because there’s an assumed conflict between fine dining and high tech. The Barbara Lynch Gruppo team was looking for a company that ultimately shared their core values: delivering the best guest experience possible.
“Restaurant technology should be about getting out of the way. It should add efficiency and take away obstacles so that restaurant operators can do what is best for the guests. We went with Toast because we could see them as a partner, not just a vendor. They’re just as focused on an exceptional customer experience as we are.”
As an intuitive, cloud-based platform, Toast enables Ben and his managers to make real-time changes to the system without inhibiting service.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that our servers are focused on interacting tableside,” Ben says. “With Toast, it’s so much faster to do things like change the price of a menu item or edit modifiers and that really does free up staff to focus on the service. Because the Toast system is so sharp, the entire staff is more dedicated to serving the guests.
Toast’s ability to consolidate multiple vendors into a single platform was a huge factor in the Gruppo’s decision because it was crucial that they see return on investment. The labor tracking helps managers keep tabs on particularly long work weeks and staff morale. Ben uses Toast to report on sales performance by server and category so he can pinpoint areas where a particular server might need additional training.