Franchising on the Cutting Edge of the Restaurant Industry

October 2022

There’s nothing more attractive to guests than the promise of something new and exciting. That’s why Barrel House is committed to staying on the cutting edge of the restaurant industry – in every way possible.

Flashy additions can help attract curious guests to your restaurant, and help with word-of-mouth advertising, it’s true. But Barrel House’s commitment to innovation goes beyond bells and whistles. Over the years, we’ve innovated on our original business plan, and these changes help staff create the restaurant experiences your guests crave. From exciting brand collaborations, to quality-of-life improvements, and even unique innovations like robot waiters, Barrel House is on the cutting edge of the restaurant industry.

Benefits of Innovation In The Restaurant Industry

One thing is certain: guests love to see something new! Regardless of what’s changed, an update is always a great chance to step up the customer experience. Any innovation in a restaurant is a chance to advertise and promote. Novelty plays well on social media and in traditional advertising mediums, and give you a clear call-to-action: come see what’s new!

For returning guests, a new addition is a great reason to come back. Your regulars will be excited to see what’s been added, and plan their return trip. These are the guests who are most likely to spread the word for you, posting about changes on social media and telling friends about the experience.


But returning guests aren’t the only ones that innovation attracts. By adding new collaborations, technologies, or just improving on old processes, Barrel House can attract new guests as well. Whether these new visitors are stopping in to try a buzzy social media trend, see something they’ve never seen before, or just experience improved service, every innovation is an opportunity to turn a new guest into a regular.


Bringing guests through the door is just one of the fringe benefits of innovation, though. At its core, Barrel House is dedicated to We Care Culture™, and any changes to the Barrel House formula fall in line with that ethos. Rather than changing for change’s sake, we’re committed to innovating in ways that improve the Barrel House experience for guests, staff, and owners alike.

Menu Collaborations at Barrel House

Over the years, we’ve integrated some truly exciting new ideas into the Barrel House model – but this past summer, we created something we’re really proud of! Barrel House launched a new drink menu with Red Bull energy, and we couldn’t be happier with the results!

This new collaboration has been a great addition to Barrel House’s beers on tap, wine list, and traditional full bar. We noticed the rise of cocktails in recent years, as well as the growing popularity of energy drinks, and the menu seemed to write itself.

Guests have been loving these new cocktails. They’ve made an excellent addition to our happy hour offerings! Returning guests are excited to try something new with friends, and they’ve brought in a few energy drink aficionados who haven’t tried Barrel House yet.

All in all, we’re incredibly pleased with the success of this first innovative collaboration, and are already working on our next partnership!

Technology Makes Barrel House a Better Place to Work & Eat

New innovations like our Red Bull collab might bring people through the door, but we’ve continued to innovate in ways that make Barrel House a great place to visit and work. We’re embracing technology in the front and back of the house, all with the same goal as everything we do at Barrel House: to make food & drinks that lift your spirits.

The pandemic has brought on the use of QR codes for menus – these have always been popular in larger cities, but we’ve found they’re now useful in markets of all sizes. Barrel House has embraced this technology to bring our menus to more tables, in a way makes customer service fast, easy, and safe.

Another pandemic-driven innovation has been online ordering, which has opened up a whole new market for carryout orders. But scannable menus and online ordering are features diners have come to expect, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

Our guests’ experience at Barrel House is defined by their service, and we’re using technology to improve that service every day. For front-of-house employees, handhelds are a huge leap forward. These devices give waitstaff access to information at the tip of their fingers, including ever-changing lists like beers on tap and current promotions. They also allow our staff to submit orders on the spot, saving time and trips, increasing order accuracy, and ensuring that guests have a smooth and seamless visit.

For back-of-house, our digital kitchen boards have been a great innovation in kitchen operation. Orders from waitstaff’s handhelds appear directly on the board – there’s no need to wait for tickets to print or decipher messy handwriting. This clear, automated system saves time, increases order accuracy, reduces food waste, and even improves safety, helping the kitchen accommodate special requests and avoid allergens. 

We’re excited to see which innovations are coming next for the restaurant industry, and how we can implement these new ideas in a way that makes Barrel House a better experience for guests and staff alike!

Barrel House Invests in Cutting-Edge Restaurant Technology

While some of our technical innovations are subtle and behind-the-scenes, we also love the novelty of exciting new tech! Like our brand collaborations, these innovations can bring guests through the doors, and create buzz with word-of-mouth. But as always, we choose innovations that will measurably improve – which is why we’ve hired a few robot waiters!

Barrel House currently uses robots to help with serving in two locations. The robots, produced by Bear Robotics, are designed to bring food from the kitchen to a specific table, where human waitstaff help to serve guests. The robots save our staff trips to the kitchen, and, frankly, they’re adorable.

Our staff have found that the robots are actually great “members” of the Barrel House team. A robot can’t replace human waitstaff, but they can make their jobs easier, and that’s just what our robot waiters have done. Especially on shortstaffed nights, having an extra bit of help on hand for food service while servers attend to other guests has been a huge asset.

Guests are always excited to see a robot making its way to and from the kitchen, and we’ve been impressed by just how helpful these exciting little gadgets are in promoting Barrel House’s excellent service.


Why Innovation Helps Barrel House Succeed

Whether we’re innovating with brand partnerships, ordering technology, or exciting new inventions like robot waiters, Barrel House has stayed on the cutting edge of the restaurant industry for over a decade.

Sometimes, folks are surprised to learn that a midwest franchise like ours invests in the latest and greatest, but we know that these investments are a part of our ongoing commitment to supporting our franchise owners. By finding innovations that propel each individual restaurant to success, we fulfill our mission of making Barrel House a great place to eat, work, or invest.

Our commitment to innovation is just getting started, and we’re always happy to give potential franchise owners more information on which innovations we’ve implemented, how they’ve helped, and which challenges we plan to tackle next.

If you’re a forward-thinking business owner (or first-time restaurant owner!) who wants to join a winning team, you’re in the right place. Reach out to our franchise team today for more information about how you can be part of Barrel House’s future!