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By Katherine Pendrill
Creating a sense of family through hospitality is what Toronto’s DaiLo is all about.
“DaiLo actually means ‘big brother’ in Cantonese, and in some sense it also means ‘big boss,’” says Owner and Chef Nick Liu. “We’re the big boss; we’re the big brother. It’s kind of a nod and respect to family. It’s something that we really feel is important here at DaiLo. We want to invite you into our house as a guest.”
Nick and his team have been serving new Asian cuisine in Toronto’s Little Italy for eight years. The DaiLo experience is “very multicultural,” Nick says. “It really mixes French techniques with a lot of Asian flavors and techniques. When you dine here at DaiLo, you can expect the highest quality of service, the highest quality of food, and the highest quality of booze.”
Sometimes, maintaining such high standards is easier said than done.
During Nick’s 30 years as a chef, he’s seen the restaurant industry change a lot.
What was once done manually is now done with the help of technology. Customers are looking for new, more convenient ways to enjoy a meal. And a pandemic has only added new obstacles to running a restaurant.
Throughout all of this, DaiLo’s main challenge has been managing the changing industry landscape while staying true to the original vision for the restaurant.
“The most important thing that I learned over the last several years was not to panic and not to change,” Nick says. “Pivot the way you need to pivot, but make sure that it makes sense for the restaurant. Make sure you’re not veering off too far and that you’re always moving forward and always doing the best that you can. There shouldn’t be a time where you just stand still. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.”
DaiLo found a technology partner that could help the restaurant adapt to changing times.
“At DaiLo we use TouchBistro POS,” Nick says. “It’s very integrated, it’s very comprehensive, and it has a very user-friendly interface. It’s a system that really helped us along. I think if TouchBistro wasn’t around, who knows if we would’ve been around for so long.”
TouchBistro has helped the restaurant do what it does best, but on an elevated level.
“Technology’s been one of those things that has really helped restaurants through the years and it’s something that’s really been inserted into the restaurant industry,” Nick says. “From when I first started, you had this book and you wrote guests’ names in with a pen and pencil. It was great and it worked, but the efficiency that we see with TouchBistro is just way more advanced and it helps us be way more efficient.”
TouchBistro hasn’t just streamlined operations for big boss Nick.
General Manager Trevor Chen says, “TouchBistro has made my life as GM much easier. Being able to access any number, at any moment in time, gives me a very good indicator of how the business is doing day per day. With cloud reporting, it’s been great to be able to access any information, from anywhere, anyplace, anytime. TouchBistro’s graphs are really helpful in projecting forecasts for the future of the business.”
With real-time visibility into key metrics, Trevor and Nick have been able to make better business decisions.
“Having reports is probably the most important thing for running a business,” Nick says. “Without knowing the numbers, you’re basically running blind. To have the reports every single day, and [be able to] personalize these reports in any way that you need to is very helpful. TouchBistro’s reporting makes running a business so much easier.”
And this increase in efficiency isn’t just limited to the back office. By using a payments solution integrated with the TouchBistro POS, DaiLo has been able to turn tables more quickly, while providing the best customer experience possible.
Trevor says that integrated payments have, “definitely led to more efficiency for the serving staff. At the end of the meal, you can thank the guests and have such an efficient way of processing their payments, which is a necessity for the restaurant, but it’s also not really part of the experience. We can focus on the interactions with the guests and spend less time talking about money at the end of the meal.”
DaiLo prides itself on providing guests with an inviting atmosphere. With TouchBistro, Nick, Trevor, and the entire team have been able to get to know customers at scale and strengthen guest relationships.
Nick says that TouchBistro, “really helps us know who our customers are and who our customer base is. It allows us to create friendships with people who we have seen and recognize their names, which we have in our systems. These things are very important when you’re running a restaurant. As we all know, the best type of business interaction is one in which you have a relationship.”
Part of developing loyalty and relationships with customers is anticipating their needs. This is especially important when it comes to catering to dietary restrictions, which TouchBistro helps alert DaiLo’s team to.
“The technology for the back of the house has been incredible; TouchBistro keeps things so streamlined and it prevents a lot of mistakes,” Nick says. “With customers that have been here before, we have all of their information and know all of their allergies, and that’s been really important for the back of the house. We already know what their allergies are so we can make sure that we have substitutions so they can have things that they usually can’t have, or we can create dishes for them if they’re VIPs or regulars. Having a POS system be so in tune – and have so much knowledge and have so much information – really helps with efficiency and helps with making sure nothing ever goes wrong.”
“This year will be our eighth year of operations at DaiLo and for some reason, this place just doesn’t get any slower: it just gets busier and busier,” Nick says. “To own a restaurant for that amount of time and to see the amount of success that we’ve seen is just unbelievable. It kind of really blows my mind.”
DaiLo has proven that experience, momentum, and a little help from TouchBistro POS is the recipe for a restaurant that runs efficiently and keeps guests coming back for more year after year.
Katherine is the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, where she writes about trending topics in food and restaurants. The opposite of a picky eater, she’ll try (almost) anything at least once. Whether it’s chowing down on camel burgers in Morocco or snacking on octopus dumplings in Japan, she’s always up for new food experiences.
By Debra Weinryb
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