Barrel House Pub
Barrel House elevates its dining experience by converting from manual operations to digital ordering and restaurant engagement!
About Barrel House
If you happen to live in Iowa or stop by to visit, you’ll find “food that lifts your spirits” in the locally owned restaurant, Barrel House. With locations in Davenport, Dubuque, Des Moines, Marion, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, and its first out-of-state location, Bloomington, IL, guests will enjoy juicy burgers, amazing apps, awesome pizzas, freshly made salads, and more. You'll enjoy a modern fun bar atmosphere that feels like a place you want to hang out at.
Barrel House was founded in 2011 as a side project by Jimmy Holt, a local entrepreneur and business owner who wanted to create something different. Holt coined the brand’s slogan “food that lifts your spirits” and has since taken the brand from a one-off location in Davenport to six across Iowa with the seventh location (Bloomington, IL) being their first franchise and in a new state. During the pandemic, the restaurant chain enjoyed opening locations across Iowa and looked into franchising to see its brand grow across the U.S.
Family-friendly tavern-style bar and restaurant elevating the dining experience
Barrel House wanted to answer the question “How can you have a bar-style, family-friendly restaurant with good food?” They noticed a gap in the restaurant industry for this dining experience and set out to achieve being the neighborhood family-friendly bar with great food.
“We’re very passionate about our brand and culture so we want to make sure we find the right fit when it comes to franchising and culture is a big thing for Barrel House. We have our cultural training program called ‘We CARE Culture’ to provide an atmosphere for all types of guests to enjoy, ” said Chris Posey, Director of Marketing and Franchise Sales at Barrel House.
From manual restaurant operations to digital ordering and restaurant engagement
When Barrel House first opened, the restaurant was traditional in taking and fulfilling orders. The restaurant brand was doing hand-written tickets and placing them on a ticket board to fulfill orders without having any online ordering or a restaurant app. Fast-forward to 2021 when the brand was looking into franchising, Barrel House began optimizing its digital ordering and restaurant engagement experience.
“We tried a couple of POS systems and really wanted to focus on technology and being invested in restaurant tech similar to bigger restaurant chains like Texas Roadhouse and Chick-fil-a. We wanted to make sure that even though we’re a smaller brand that wants to grow, we can provide the same technology that would allow us to do that efficiently,” said Posey.
Barrel House landed on Toast as its POS system because of its ease of use and integration capabilities. One thing that the restaurant chain still needed was a good (and as Posey described) “sexy” online ordering system that offered a modern look with customization with a robust rewards platform. On top of online ordering, Barrel House wanted to also have a restaurant app ordering for guests and be able to log their information for targeted marketing via messaging and offers.
“We started looking at different companies that did online ordering that integrated with Toast. We first started with GoParrot. There was a lot of manual work but it was a good stepping-stone platform we used. However, GoParrot was bought by Square so they stopped providing updates and improvements for the Toast integration and we didn’t want to switch our entire POS system.”
“I set out again looking for new companies that integrated with Toast. We looked at Appfront, Bite, Como, Craver, Olo, PopMenu, and a couple of other companies before talking with Incentivio. The rep interactions are important to me and Incentivio was extremely personable, which played into my decision to go with the platform along with the features of online ordering, a mobile app, marketing, loyalty, and more,” said Posey.
“Working with Michael for implementation and onboarding was a breeze. Continued support from him was amazing and a huge value to me. From sizing images to updating, understanding the backend, building marketing messages, promo codes, and more. The team at Incentivio was always a phone call away and that is a huge value add to the product,” said Posey.
Simplifying the restaurant tech stack with a true all-in-one platform
Barrel House previously didn’t have an all-in-one restaurant engagement platform. Most of the companies offered a couple or several features like online ordering and an app that then required another integration to provide either loyalty programs or marketing. With Incentivio, Barrel House was able to have online and mobile ordering, loyalty, marketing, and analytics in one platform, while still integrating into the Toast POS.
“One company we looked into, Como, was the app part of the puzzle and the rewards but they had a different company you had to partner with to build your online ordering system that tied into the app that then tied into Toast. My whole goal was to limit the amount of technology so we’re using it effectively; so I went with Incentivio because they do the online ordering, the mobile app, rewards, and digital gift cards, something we didn’t have before, which is now all in one platform. I’m not linking multiple platforms,” said Posey.
“I really like the messaging and promo codes features. That’s not something we had previously. I’m a big Starbucks app user so I love getting on there when they say to check your inbox because you’ve got double points or buy two drinks today and you get a free one tomorrow. I like that continual place for guests to see what’s current and new which Incentivio provides with their marketing product,” said Posey.
Since implementing Incentivio, Barrel House has 7,500 guest accounts with 1,500 new signups in the first 60 days when they previously averaged 500 users a month and increased digital sales by 366% after one month.