Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 2015

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J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 5 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • 1 7 DineAmic Group Chicago "In Chicago River North, our places get busy, and self-serve helps with the ser- vice aspect. Sometimes it's diffcult for servers to get to tables or guests to get to the bar, this way they can walk up to the tap wall and serve themselves," says Keegan Moon, vice president of operations for DineAmic, which oper- ates fve casual restaurants and pubs and plans to open a sixth this summer. Two of those restaurants embrace the self-serve technology. When the Bull & Bear opened in 2009, Moon says it was the frst in the city to install this type of draft system. When that proved successful, the Public House gastropub debuted in 2011 with an even more elaborate setup. Bull & Bear offers fve tables with two taps each, in addition to eight draft handles behind the bar. Public House boasts 12 tables with 2 beers and a spirits line at each, in addition to 25 draft choices at the bar. This operation also has one "premier table," which has 2 beers and 2 spirits on tap and a 1,000-square-foot private party area that features a walk-up wall with 6 self- serve tap handles. "Guests love it — the taps are a fun novelty," says Moon. They are also an added attraction for parties and events. Guests will reserve specifc tables based on the offerings at those taps. And it has made the restaurants a destination for novelty seekers. The taps were part of the initial de- sign, not an afterthought. The manufac- turer of the system coordinated with the designer, the contractor and the draft- line installer. Tables were constructed around the faucets, and drip trays were built in. A computer displays the types of beers being featured on tap. Walk-in coolers store the kegs, and lines run to the tables and the tap wall. Spirits require slightly different hardware. When guests sit down at a self- serve table, a server activates the taps, allotting 24 ounces of beer or 2 ounces of spirits per guest. After they have gone through their allot- ment, the system automatically shuts off, and the server comes back to reassess the group and reactivate. For the wall taps, guests purchase a key fob loaded with a dollar amount and wave the fob at the sensor by the faucet to activate. Then they pour and walk away. "Servers still have to be hands- on, because we have to monitor guest consumption," notes Moon. Certifed Cicerones (the beer world's version of sommeliers) on staff at the restaurants offer customers advice and recommen- dations if needed. As DineAmic expands to other markets, the company is likely to install similar beer systems in the new loca- tions. Says Moon, "These bad boys will be in hot pursuit." At Bull & Bear, guests have been enjoying tabletop taps since 2009.

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