Von Elrod's embracing new technology, change amid pandemic worker shortage

Posted at 8:32 AM, Nov 12, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It seems like we're sharing so many stories of businesses forced to adapt during the pandemic. One of them in particular — restaurants.

After delivery and carry-out became paramount and routine throughout 2020, Hillary Holmes, the General Manager of Von Elrod's Beer Hall and Kitchen in Germantown knew more was needed.

Holmes was needing efficiency in ordering with several customers still weary of COVID-19, handheld menus went away, replaced by QR codes for phones. During the slower pandemic months, she and her staff implemented a tech called "SpotOn" — meant to expedite ordering and cooking, coinciding with changing customer demands.

“Some of the changes we made just helped us through the labor shortages that's happening in Nashville right now,” Holmes says. “By adding something as simple as a kitchen display system, instead of little bitty paper checks, I can run a culinary line with three to four team members instead of five to six.”

Holmes says it's that extra little bit of labor savings allows her to pay her staff a bit more.

“They've got a little more ownership and freedom, they're not stuck in just one spot,” says Holmes. But perhaps most importantly, “I'm still to create that experience for the guests with the same speed and efficiency and my team members are confident, too.”

Their data shows customers are on board and are ordering even more because of those QR codes and convenience that comes with it. Von Elrod's is also now 90% paperless. Perhaps the best part for staff, Holmes says they're seeing their tips increase by 3-5%. They're not the only ones using this new technology either. The Memphis Grizzlies, Nashville Fairgrounds and Vanderbilt University are embracing the system.