Award-Winning Barbara Lynch Gruppo Finds a True Partner in Toast
If there’s one thing Barbara Lynch Gruppo restaurants are known for, it’s creating exceptional guest experiences. 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.
A New Standard for Service
Just as Barbara Lynch Gruppo is known for creating outstanding guest experiences, Toast is perhaps best known for the quality and commitment of its 24/7 support team.
"I've worked with a lot of point-of-sale companies,” says Ben. “Before Toast, I'd never had my expectations completely met when it came to the type of support we received. The level of ownership that Toast has taken over our success is something I've never seen from any other restaurant technology company."
Each of Barbara Lynch Gruppo’s restaurants is completely different, with separate processes, physical conditions, and staff workflows. As a restaurant-focused company, Toast was able to accommodate each location’s unique specifications.
“The Toast implementation team understood that switching POS systems was a huge wrench in our day-to-day operations. They worked at the pace we needed, provided the right kind of support along the way, asked the right questions, and were completely open to how we wanted to run things.”
In addition to 24/7 support, Toast offers full onsite implementation and training. The installation team works exclusively in restaurants, so the complexities and challenges that come with the industry are no surprise.
“It wasn’t a ‘cut and paste’ type of job,” says Ben. “Our Toast implementation was totally tailored to us. The installers found a way to help us be more efficient and effective without totally overhauling the way we’ve done business for 18 years.”
Above all, Ben and the Barbara Lynch Gruppo team were looking for a technology partner. They expect to be treated with the same respect and service that they provide to their guests. Toast’s speed and ease-of-use, unparallelled support and implementation services, and core company values laid the groundwork for a successful partnership.
"Before Toast, I'd never had my expectations completely met when it came to the type of support we received. The level of ownership that Toast has taken over our success is something I've never seen from any other restaurant technology company."
– Ben Kaplan, Director of Operations
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