Cobble & Co’s parent company, The Greens, was sitting on an empty restaurant space amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. With future plans to open a Latin concept, they decided to maximize revenue in the interim with a pop-up, temporary restaurant, leading to the birth of Cobble & Co.
Cobble & Co. is now one of the many restaurants serving hungry customers in New York City, but one detail sets it apart from the rest: the dedication to staff. Eduardo Lopez, the restaurant’s manager, has over seven years of experience cultivating a culture of efficiency and great service with all the teams he’s worked with — including Cobble & Co.
“Without the team, you don’t have a restaurant, and you don’t have a business,” Lopez says.
So, how did Cobble & Co. launch as a full-scale restaurant with zero employee churn and higher wages during a time known as ‘The Great Resignation’? We sat down with Lopez to talk about how this ambitious plan was pulled off and enabled them to turn a profit within months of opening.
Opening a pop-up restaurant
Though technically a pop-up concept, Cobble & Co. is a full-service restaurant. Operating within strict capacity mandates, turning a profit would be challenging. The restaurant needed to open with an ordering system that would give them the flexibility to adapt and grow as capacity mandates changed over time.
Lopez also wanted to prioritize the well-being and safety of his staff. The management team needed to find a solution that would encourage safe interactions between staff and guests and help the team work more efficiently.
Maximizing revenue with seating limits
Utilizing Bbot’s array of smart ordering technology, Cobble and Co. not only opened without a hitch, but had the flexibility to adapt and grow as a business in unprecedented times. Cobble & Co. turned a profit within months of opening
With an ever-changing floor plan based on capacity restrictions, Bbot’s flexible tools enable the restaurant to quickly adapt when needed, effectively mastering the indoor dining mandates. It’s as simple as printing custom QR codes when they’re able to add a new table or dining area.
“Being able to have control over everything in the system gives us so much power,” said Lopez, “It allows you to make quick decisions.”
The restaurant maintains the safety of their guests and staff with Bbot’s contactless menus. The live system seamlessly integrates into their POS — both guests and servers see menu updates immediately. Servers spend less time taking orders and more time building relationships with the guests, leading to an average of $1,700 in tips for each server, almost double the industry standard.
Bbot’s tech enables Cobble & Co. to maximize the efficiency of their staff — they operate with ten FOH staff where a typical restaurant would require fifteen. This increase in efficiency means they spend half of the industry standard on FOH expenses. And in a system that’s known to burn servers out, this new way of operating creates opportunities to take care of servers in a more specific way.
Decreasing expenses enabled Cobble & Co to increase the wages of their back-of-house staff by $2/hour with zero employee churn since opening. “We aren’t just putting money into the bottom line,” Lopez stated, “[Bbot] allowed me to give the people at the back of the house a raise from the start.”
Keeping restaurant servers happy
The pop-up restaurant is still scheduled to close at the end of 2021, paving the way for the promised Latin restaurant that will open its doors permanently in the space. Cobble & Co. has been a successful venture for The Greens, and Lopez attributes its success to his basic principles of managing any business: “Put everything on the table, have an understanding of what you’re doing, and execute.”
But he reminds us that it’s a collaborative effort. “The best thing I can say to anybody is: create a culture where people are comfortable and understand that they are being taken care of. We are all working shoulder to shoulder.” And with zero employee churn, Lopez knows what he’s talking about.