With ambitious plans for the future, Brown Bag Seafood Co. is taking a systems and data-driven approach to growth.
Brown Bag Seafood Co. was founded by Donna Lee after she struggled to find a restaurant offering healthy, quick, and affordable seafood in Chicago – so she built her own. The first Brown Bag Seafood Co. opened at Millennium Park in 2014, and additional locations were quickly added across the city. With ambitious growth plans for the future, her initial vision remains the same: providing guests with quality seafood in an approachable, counter-service format. From the classic Salmon Powerbox to the Crispy Cod Tacos, Brown Bag relies on fresh, sustainably sourced seafood, flown in every day from around the world.
In anticipation of future growth, Brown Bag decided to standardize their POS to ensure they had the right foundation to dramatically scale their operations without sacrificing efficiency.
Before opening their third location, Brown Bag decided to go through the process of choosing their “POS of the future” to standardize across all future stores. While their existing POS system was functional, it was cumbersome to update the multi-location menu and the reporting was clunky. The team evaluated 10-12 potential vendors to find an enterprise-class alternative that offered scalability and extensibility. Brown Bag needed a platform that provided restaurant-grade hardware, a superior cashier experience, robust and flexible reporting, full offline capabilities and credit card acceptance, and the ability to integrate online ordering via their website – all for a reasonable cost for a growing restaurant chain.
Robust reporting and integration capabilities made Qu the top choice for Brown Bag Seafood Co.
After reviewing all of the options, Brown Bag chose Qu. While Qu provided a user-friendly cashier experience and dependable, robust offline capabilities, it was the reporting and integration capabilities that made it a no-brainer.
“The reporting we had before was clunky, difficult to filter, and just hard to get out what we needed. Qu has the ability to filter by tons of variables so we can see what’s happening in store and out of store,” says Zach Flanzman, Chief Strategy Officer. “The mobile dashboard view is great – I probably look at it too often,” he jokes, “but it’s really helpful to have metrics like sales, labor, and how many employees are clocked in right at your fingertips on your phone. There are 30-40 different reports you can pull, and so far there hasn’t been anything that I haven’t been able to do pretty easily.”
The ability to integrate online ordering via the website was also a big selling point. “It was really important for us to have all online orders process and integrate just like the orders in store. We previously had someone stationed to print the online orders, and they literally passed a handwritten piece of paper down the line. We wanted to automate the process and improve our speed of delivery and order accuracy. Qu helped us do that,” explains Lee.
Qu has enabled Brown Bag to implement creative solutions to balance online and in-store order processing, optimize the guest experience, and manage data-driven growth.
“The support from Qu has been great. Brown Bag customized Qu to support two different service models – peak and off-peak – to improve operations. It’s actually a really cool undertaking to support this from a systems perspective, and it was very exciting when all the testing worked,” says Lee.
The team further experimented to ease the disruption of large online orders to the in-store customer experience. “While online ordering is a huge channel for us, it’s really important that these orders don’t diminish the in-store guest experience. Large online orders can be hugely disruptive and very hard to get right. Qu’s flexible kitchen-routing technology enabled us to develop a process to better manage online orders and improve ticket times. Our online order accuracy is definitely higher, and I’d like to think our in-store guest experience is better too,” says Flanzman.
Qu’s robust integration capabilities have also proven to be critical post-launch. In addition to website orders, Brown Bag uses Chowly to map delivery orders from several third party partners. “Initially, using multiple delivery apps was overwhelming,” says Flanzman. “Before Qu, we were manually writing down the orders that came through on the iPads for each app. We were doing this for six weeks or so, and once we had the volume, there were enough wrong orders and employees complaining about it that we knew we had to deal with it. Now everything comes through seamlessly in Qu and we couldn’t be happier.”
Qu™, formerly Gusto®, is going beyond traditional Point of Sale (POS) technology with a singular focus on fast casual and quick service restaurant chains. Leveraging an API-first approach and a core suite of omni-channel ordering solutions, Qu delivers an enterprise-scale, cloud-based POS solution that’s fast, flexible, and forward-thinking, making it easy to implement, easy to use, and easy to afford. Improved guest experience, best-in-class integrations, and centralized enterprise management are some of the reasons leading restaurant chains choose Qu to help them move faster, stay nimble, and increase profits. Learn more at qubeyond.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.