the sandwich hut interior

As the third-generation owner of The Sandwich Hut in Providence, Rhode Island, Peter Kammerer made the decision to upgrade from pen-and-paper order-taking to Upserve POS at his family’s restaurant so he could take advantage of:

  • Sales data and analytics that show top-performing dishes and pricing insights
  • An easy, intuitive, and user-friendly POS that makes staff training a breeze
  • Offline Mode to ensure operations run smoothly, even during an internet outage

A Providence mainstay since 1963,
The Sandwich Hut is a popular business that was powered by pen-and-paper orders. But when general manager Peter Kammerer took over the family business, he knew technology was the key to scaling and achieving lasting success.

“We had to do it because I saw how much we were losing by writing everything down,” Kammerer says, noting that staff would also act as couriers to deliver handwritten orders to the hot and cold sandwich stations. “It was a lot of walking, it was a lot of talking, it was a lot of confusion. It was reading handwriting. All of those little steps, if you add that up, is a lot of wasted time.”

Further complicating things, delivery customers were expected to pay with a credit card over the phone.

“In the back, there was no portal. There was no cash register. So if a customer ordered delivery and wanted a total, you’d have to go back around the corner and interrupt the cashier. It’s hard to even imagine,” he says.

the sandwich hut

Switching to Upserve Streamlined Operations

Kammerer sought out a solution that would solve for confusion and inefficiencies without disrupting the customer experience, the employees’ day-to-day, or the culture established by his grandfather when he opened the sandwich shop nearly 60 years ago.

That’s why he chose Upserve POS. “We started with one iPad as the cash register, and then added the iPads in the back for phone orders,” he explains. “That changed everything about our takeout and delivery business. Our orders were now archived. We had data we never had before.”

The upgrade allowed Kammerer to respect the old-fashioned legacy of his family’s business while staying current with customer demands and expectations. “Even though we’ve renovated over the years, I wanted it to always remain true to its roots, respectful of that history,” he says. “By the same token, we’ve also been careful not to become a dinosaur and fade away.”

Staff Training Made Easy

Training staff on the new system was a breeze thanks to its intuitive design.

“When new employees arrive, I don’t really need to train them to run a credit card. If you’re familiar with touch technology, the rest is pretty much self-explanatory,” Kammerer says. “Upserve POS has great adaptability. We can change or edit orders in all kinds of smart ways.”

Sales Data and Analytics

“I like to look at big data. I like to look at things by the month, year, two years, three years,” he says. “That’s really cool to see what percentage of our business is catering in the past year, two years. How is that changing? Which sandwiches are selling best?”

And while, anecdotally, he may know he’s going to sell more meatball sandwiches and deluxe grinders than pepperoni sandwiches on an average day, it’s helpful to have the data to back it up. It also helps provide insight when The Sandwich Hut experiments with pricing changes.

It is helpful to see, for example, if I raise my prices, is that impacting buying behavior? That’s important to know. If I raise my prices 10 percent and my sales aren’t up 10 percent, then I should be worried because that means not only am I not busier, I’m slower,” Kammerer explains. “I watch and keep track of trends over a period of time to make sure we’re not moving in the wrong direction. That will tell you a lot about your business.”

Offline Mode

Upserve’s Offline Mode allows customers to operate as usual even during a WiFi interruption. Kammerer became an Upserve customer before Offline Mode was introduced, and says the addition of this feature has been key.

“It’s been great to see the arrival of Offline Mode, which gives us that opportunity to keep on rolling when things are getting back online. It was a major step and a major paradigm shift for us. It just allowed us to grow the business much more easily,” he says.

24/7 U.S.-Based Customer Service

There’s a humanness to the customer service, which is good because a lot of credit card processors are horrible with that,” Kammerer says. “So if you have to contact someone about an issue, you’re in this horrible labyrinth. The fact that I can call Upserve Support and get support is huge.”

sandwich hut employee

Continuing to Be a Staple in the Community

By using Upserve to scale and grow, The Sandwich Hut is sure to continue its legacy in Providence. That’s Kammerer’s goal – to remain true to his family’s legacy.

“It’s a family business, so part of that is that sense of pride. Part of it is the challenge of being in business for yourself and navigating this challenging environment and being successful. I care about the city of Providence. I care about my customers. I care about the neighborhood,” he says. “A city without independent small businesses is no city at all. That’s why I do this every day. I feel like I have a business with a soul. It’s so important to me that the city continues to be that kind of city. So if I can be a part of that, I will be.”

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Written by   |  
Stephanie is a Providence, RI native and eight-year food industry veteran. As Upserve's Content Marketing Coordinator she creates materials that help restaurateurs, managers, and service professionals succeed. When she's not writing, Stephanie is most likely traveling, cooking, or trying new restaurants.
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