Restaurant innovators spend endless hours, sweat and precious money trying to spark fresh ideas that will tantalize diners into making their restaurant a destination, and keep them coming back. One of the best examples of an innovative restaurant concept in a town that is itself a destination is Crockett’s Breakfast Camp, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The 320-seat, tin roofed outpost is the brainchild of Gatlinburg restaurateur Kirby Smith. He, along with partner Jim Ogle, a horde of administrative staff, consultants, subcontractors and vendors spent the better part of a year gutting a vintage stone and timber structure that had previously housed a couple of well-remembered restaurants, then reassembling a one-of-a-kind breakfast camp. Crockett’s, which opened in April of this year, is located yards from the most traveled gateway into and out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which with some 9.4 million visitors a year is the nation’s most visited national park.
Smith, who owns and operates a half dozen restaurants under the No Way Jose’s Mexican Cantina, Blaine’s Bar & Grill, J. T. Hanna’s Kitchen, Iron Boar Saloon and Holston’s Kitchen brands in his native Sevier County, is perhaps one of the most innovative restaurateurs in Tennessee. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp serves as a legacy to David C. “Crockett” Maples, an original frontiersman, soldier, and Smith’s great, great grandfather who, along with his wife Mary R. Ogle operated a small supply store at the base of Mount LeConte, just outside of where Gatlinburg is today. According to Smith, Crockett and Mary were known for serving hungry travelers the best home cooked breakfast in the Smoky Mountains.
Dean Hitt, President and General Sales Manager of Sevierville, Tennessee based POSC Business System’s has worked with Smith as an advisor on point of sale systems for over a decade. Hitt says that over the years Smith’s restaurants have found cost savings in migrating off of a couple of different brands of touch screen terminals and are now using Pioneer terminals in the majority of his restaurants. “We at POSC Business Systems have installed a dozen Pioneer S-Line terminals with the built-in thermal printers in Kirby’s last two restaurants, Holston’s Kitchen and Crockett’s Breakfast Camp,” Hitt says. “We have replaced more than twenty aging and outdated touch-screen terminals at Blaine’s and the No Way’s locations, with Pioneer’s StealthTouch-M5 and S-Line terminals.” Hitt also said that, “This is one of the most unusual setups we have ever been challenged with. With 320-seats, Crockett’s is one of the biggest restaurants we have ever installed. Even with all those tables to serve, we’re only utilizing six terminals. Crockett’s is a cashier environment, where servers use only four terminals for order entry, the other two are cashier stations.”
“Kirby knew that this was going to be a destination restaurant and he designed it to accommodate the heavy volume with efficiencies of scale built in,” he adds. “We utilized SoftTouch Point of Sale software to accomplish those efficiencies.”
Hitt and his technicians were most challenged by Smith’s operations staff’s kitchen production line design. Their setup called for two back production lines that mirrored and flowed toward each other, both on the same line, with two “expeditor” positions on the center front of the line. During opening hours when volume is typically low, the plan called for only one side of the restaurant to be seated and only one kitchen line to be working. During the mid-morning rush, additional staff is added and the second side of the restaurant is seated and the second kitchen line kicks in.
“The real test was kitchen printing,” Hitt says. “With two sides of the front-of-house and two sides of the kitchen production line, they wanted to be able to turn the kitchen printers off on one side of the line when both sides were not in production and have any tickets that came in from that side of the restaurant reroute to the one production line. When the second line kicks in all the staff has to do is turn the second line printers on and tickets from that side of the restaurant start printing on their side.”
We accomplished this with SoftTouch by setting up two different menus, one for each side of the restaurant, both having unique item numbers set to print to printer groups on their respective side of the kitchen line. Both sets of printers were set to re-route to the respective printer on the other side of the production line.
“Training at Crockett’s took only three days, and they were able to go live within one week with Pioneer POS and SoftTouch addressing all of their POS needs and much, much more”, Hitt concluded.
About Pioneer POS
Pioneer POS Inc. designs and manufactures a complete line of industry specific all in one computers, touch screen monitors, and kiosks. Founded in 1994 and based in California, Pioneer POS manufactures its solutions from start to finish in the USA which are deployed in Healthcare, Retail, Hospitality, and Gaming applications. Pioneer POS has built an exceptional reputation with its customers and reseller partners for superior flexibility and responsiveness to customer needs including short lead times, long product life cycles (minimum of 5 years), easy customization, and quick turn around. Pioneer POS sells through qualified technology resellers throughout the US and globally.
About SoftTouch POS
SoftTouch Hospitality Management System is the innovative point of sale solution for the hospitality industry. We are focused on developing sophisticated, yet user-friendly system that helps businesses everywhere save time, increase efficiency, manage their needs more effectively, and get the most out of their day-to-day operations. SoftTouch system is developed to improve order placement performance, give management a greater control, and extend its highly advanced functionality to be utilized by virtually all hospitality businesses from small cafes to corporate chain restaurants. To learn more please visit www.softtouchpos.com