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By Katherine Pendrill
The Tilted Pint in Bryan, Texas was once the dream of three friends. Today, the pub is a daily destination for locals in the state’s Northeast Corridor.
When Kelly Enright, Jason Areseneaux, and Jeff Blaszak decided to go into business together, their sights were set on filling a gap in the region’s hospitality market, which had no bars or restaurants at the time.
“Our passion for food, combined with the opportunity to open a pub and grill, was perfect,” Kelly says. “We wanted to create a VIP experience that made people feel special.”
The Tilted Pint’s slogan is “gather, unwind, recharge.” And it certainly delivers on that promise. A true neighborhood pub, the venue has a warm, cozy atmosphere with an intentionally low ceiling that makes you feel like it’s welcoming you in with a hug.
However, getting the pub to its current state was not without its challenges. In fact, it took two years of hard work to finally turn dreams into reality.
On their journey to opening the Tilted Pint, Kelly, Jason, and Jeff quickly faced some of the common problems restaurateurs encounter – purchasing the property was their first hurdle.
“We met with several different banks, and if it’s your first venture, banks will often steer you toward leasing a property,” Kelly says.
Knowing that they planned to renovate the space, the trio wanted to avoid leasing the building due to the risk involved with the high cost of renovations.
“If we were to fail, we would have nothing except a lease. We’ve all seen craziness over the last two years in this industry, so we felt that owning a building we could renovate was a better investment,” Kelly says.
Once the real estate deal was done in 2018, Kelly, Jason, and Jeff were on to their next challenge – securing building permits and tackling architectural issues. The property they purchased had housed everything from a farmers’ market to a pizza shop to offices over the years. It had a grease trap, but was missing other critical infrastructure.
“Unfortunately the vent hood was taken out, and that’s a very expensive piece of equipment. We immediately met with an architect and different contractors to figure out how to make the building work for us. All of that legwork takes a long time,” Kelly says.
The three friends initially planned to open the Tilted Pint within a year. However, they realized in short order that wouldn’t be the case. Due to administrative red tape and construction delays, it was 2020 before the pub began welcoming customers.
“We built our entire design plan around a patio being in the front of the building, but when we met with the electric companies, we quickly found out that wasn’t going to be possible,” Kelly says. “The building produces shade where we have our patio now, so the blessings are hidden sometimes.”
As they were getting the Tilted Pint up and running, Kelly, Jason, and Jeff learned that choosing the right partners is crucial – including food suppliers, kitchen equipment suppliers, and technology vendors.
“It’s so important to have someone who is truly going to be a partner so that you can have success. You want somebody who’s going to listen to your ideas, and try to take those ideas and present something that fits what you’re looking to do,” Kelly says.
When it came to choosing a POS system to streamline operations for the Tilted Pint, the trio of owners did a ton of research. They met with at least 20 vendors and ranked the pros and cons of their various solutions in a spreadsheet.
“Jeff is an engineer, and I consider myself tech-savvy as well,” Kelly says. “We wanted to make sure we chose the right equipment for us that was simple, seamless, and intuitive. We kept narrowing it down, and once we started to engage with TouchBistro, we saw that it was going to be a solid partnership.”
The fact that TouchBistro POS is an iPad-based system that integrates with payment processing partners like Chase sealed the deal for the Tilted Pint.
“In the business of taking credit cards, the fees can pile up. TouchBistro’s integration with Chase made it that much easier to get started and allowed us to minimize costs,” Kelly says.
Overall, TouchBistro’s robust features helped the Tilted Pint swiftly navigate its first two years of business during an extremely turbulent time.
“We really saw who our partners were when COVID hit. TouchBistro reached out, they were committed to us, and they found ways to help us during that dark time so we could continue to operate,” Kelly says.
TouchBistro also helped the Tilted Pint make the most of its big, beautiful, shaded patio during the pandemic. TouchBistro’s Tableside Ordering System made it easy to take orders outside and send them to the kitchen in real-time thanks to the fast, simple, user-friendly software.
“With other systems, you may have to walk over to a station to enter an order after you’ve written it down on a piece of paper. With TouchBistro, you’re able to do all of that right at the table. It creates a better experience and faster food service. That’s important,” Kelly says.
Tableside ordering is far from the only perk TouchBistro’s system offers. It also helps the Titled Pint stay on top of employee scheduling. Labor is a challenge in any sector, but the restaurant industry was hit hard during the pandemic. Using TouchBistro’s staff scheduling integration with 7Shifts has been a game-changer for the Tilted Pint.
“As a small business, you’ve got to leverage technology,” Kelly says. “TouchBistro’s 7Shifts integration allows us to easily schedule our team and communicate with them about new features and specials. It’s a powerful partnership.”
The user-friendly tech also makes training front- and back-of-house staff a breeze. TouchBistro’s Kitchen Display System is one of the Tilted Pint’s favorite features.
“We have a very tight kitchen, but several people prepare our large menu and different steps take place in the process. The visual display is essential for keeping the kitchen flowing,” Kelly says.
The Tilted Pint considers TouchBistro a true partner that’s committed to the pub’s success. And for Kelly, Jason, and Jeff, success is best measured through customer satisfaction.
“Day after day, the returning customers are how I know we’ve created a successful business,” Kelly says. “When people take the time to leave a review online and rave about the positive experience they had at our restaurant, then you know you’ve got something special.”
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.
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