We’ve all seen a Netflix comedy special — the performer stands on a bare stage as laughing patrons sip beer and lean in to absorb every word. However, Caveat in New York City does things differently than the average performance venue.
Caveat NYC supports the best of New York’s performance scene: comedians, storytellers, drag queens, and even the occasional astronomer. The venue welcomes anyone with a story to tell, saying, “when someone is passionate about what they’re talking about, it’s amazing to watch.”
With a stocked bar to the side of long tables, they avoid the typical drink minimums other comedy bars enforce. And although that’s admirable from the perspective of supporting the arts, it makes hitting their bottom line harder.
So, how exactly did Bbot help increase their 2021 check size by 30% compared to 2019? We sat down with Caveat Co-founder Ben Lillie to talk shop and learn more about how he’s been leading his performance venue and bar to success.
Bringing flexibility to performance venue ordering
Caveat NYC’s unique approach to entertainment drew large crowds of all kinds, putting them squarely in the best-of-comedy circuit, with names ranging from Tig Notaro to New Yorker cartoonists.
But, like so many other businesses, COVID-19 hit the venue hard. Facing limited capacity seating, Caveat brought in less revenue from decreased ticket and drink sales. Many competitors found themselves closing their doors for good, but Caveat managed to scrape by.
As they welcomed back their smaller audience, Lillie realized another factor in their reduced average bar revenue: guests were hesitant to get up mid-show for drinks and interrupt the performers. Expectation was hurting Lillie’s bottom line.
“We needed to find a better solution,” Lillie told us. “The way Caveat is formatted is pretty specific - you have to walk across the floor to get to the bar, which means passing right by the stage. People just didn’t want to interrupt like that. That’s when we started looking into QR codes.”
Caveat found themselves looking for a better way. The club and restaurant needed an online ordering system to encourage guests to purchase drinks mid-show and deal head-on with limited staffing. Pre-show ordering was still high but overwhelming their bartenders.
That’s when Bbot stepped in.
With no additional increase in labor
Caveat used Bbot’s in-venue ordering solution to create a hybrid ordering method for guests, turning their individual needs into opportunities to increase average bar revenue.
Bbot’s contactless ordering and payment pipeline unblocked the mid-show barrier for guests who want another round. By using QR codes on tables, comedy lovers can order directly from their phones, even in the middle of a show. These scannable codes lead to a customized menu, showcasing selections better than a paper menu in their dark theater or waiting in a line that wraps around the room.
Turning their bartenders into runners also solved the lag in mid-show service — now, their staff does more than wait for intermission. These simple changes have paid dividends without spending extra money on hard-to-find hires.
With the touch of a button, each guest can start a tab from their seat, checking out and re-ordering whenever they feel like it. Because of Bbot’s innovative tab technology, Caveat has seen an increase in sales by an average of $9.50 to $12 per check.
Bigger check size, better revenue
Caveat NYC is back at its 110-guest capacity, welcoming their show-goers with open arms. Lillie estimates Caveat saw a 25% increase in revenue by using Bbot in-store order and pay.
“Bbot lets us serve customers at times when we wouldn't be able to otherwise. We wanted a tool like Bbot so people wouldn't have to get up from their tables, which is absolutely what's happening,” Lillie elaborates.
If you want to learn how Bbot can help your business scale and see an increase in sales, fill out the form below and get started with a free demo!