5 Minutes with Trevor Tyler from the Eureka! Restaurant Group
With twenty-five locations across California, the Eureka! Restaurant Group operates a series of modern restaurants dedicated to supporting American craft beer. As the company writes on its website, “Eureka! is defined as expressing delight on finding, discovering, or solving something. Those that truly appreciate great food, craft beer, and small-batch spirits are discovering a better restaurant experience and Eureka! has elevated it to an art form.”
Operating a high number of establishments means that the Eureka! Restaurant Group is constantly striving to promote new beers, many of which are unique to each location. Additionally, educating their staff and guests on these location-specific craft beers is integral to Eureka!’s mission.
For about the last three years, the Eureka! Restaurant Group has been leveraging Untappd for Business (Try For Free Today!) to create custom menus to help promote not only their extensive craft beer list, but also their whiskey and specialty cocktails. From creating custom print menus to curating bespoke training materials for its staff, the Eureka! Restaurant Group has partnered with Untappd for Business for a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution.
We sat down with Trevor Tyler, Vice President of Beverage Operations at Eureka! Restaurant Group, to chat about how Untappd for Business has helped him create custom menus, efficiently operate menus at a large number of Eureka!’s high-volume establishments, and even how Untappd for Business’ analytics have helped him plan beer menus for future locations.
Grace Weitz: Tell me a little bit more about Eureka! Restaurants. What are you all about? What’s your mission?
Trevor Tyler: Eureka! Restaurant Group was founded in 2009 in Redlands, CA. We’ve built our beer program on the ethos of discovering American craft. We are one hundred percent American craft beer at Eureka! We also have an all-American whiskey program. We have a scratch kitchen. The food is mainly focused on gourmet burgers, but we also have some artisan sandwiches, some great salads, and signature items as well.
At Eureka!, our mission statement is, feeling good, feeling alive. That’s what we want to instill in our guests that walk through the building. We want to make them feel good and we want to make people feel alive. It’s why we exist as a company: feeling good, feeling alive. How we accomplish that is through our three main core values: Energy, discovery, and community.
Energy is about how you make people feel every day when they walk into the restaurant. Discovery is about always being curious; discovering new items, bringing on new beers, or bringing on new whiskeys. And then there’s community. Not only the community within our restaurant between how we treat our team members, but also the community outside of our restaurants. Being involved with the local Chamber of Commerce. Doing features in our restaurants that raise money for communities and charities we believe in. Most recently, in the month of June, it was Pride month. We did a craft cocktail promotion around a cocktail called Pride Party where we raised money for the Trevor Project. And during COVID, we focused on supporting frontline workers by donating meals to hospitals and some grocery stores.
GW: Eureka! joined Untappd for Business three years ago. How did you first hear about the platform, and what was that initial business challenge you were looking to solve with Untappd for Business?
TT: From a user standpoint, I was a pretty early adopter. I’m pretty sure I downloaded the app sometime in 2011. I’m not sure when Untappd for Business launched, but as you mentioned, we’ve used the program for about three years.The main selling point for me was the menu automation and being able to produce the menus, because before, we were just using an Excel program with formulas that broke all the time.
The two biggest things we love Untappd for is not only getting information out to our guests, but also we’re huge on craft beer education. It's a great one-stop shop to print out all the beers and all the rotating beers we have in each of our restaurants at any given time and post that for our team.
They come in and two new beers are on tap since they worked last. They can go to our community board in our restaurants and see all the new beers we tapped this week, read about them, go to the bartender and say, Hey, can I taste new beers we tapped? and review the tasting notes.
GW: And you’ve actually worked with Untappd for Business to customize these menus, right? Especially around some of the specialty cocktails you make quarterly.
TT: Yes, our graphic design team worked with the Untappd team to design a Eureka! custom menu that populates every time we take drinks on and off. We have a section on there called Beer Info Sheets. Our managers can go and update it, print it, and use it for our team. That way, everyone -- both our guests and team members -- knows what's on tap at all times.
And probably once a quarter, we have a featured cocktail. Last one we did was the Pride Party one back in June. We did a Fourth of July one as well. The next one is a Halloween October-themed one. Our graphic design team comes up with a special image and the Untappd team integrates it into our custom menus. That way, it's just more eyes on what we’re featuring for the moment for our guests. When we don’t have a cocktail going on, we advertise other things like our Steal the Glass events or our Beer To Go program. It's an extra visual for our guests to know about some cool things going on in the restaurant.
GW: What other specific business advantages have you noticed since starting to use Untappd for Business?
TT: Taking a beer off and putting a new one on in Untappd’s system takes a matter of seconds. Whereas the Excel program that we were using before, it would probably take at least three or four times as long to get it updated and find the beer description versus now it just auto populates. It’s a huge time saver for our managers.
Also, we find the current analytics we have through Untappd for Business very helpful because we can see what our guests’ preferences are when it comes to beer styles, specific breweries, what beers they want to see on tap, what they’re subscribed to. We can look at that per market and, if we need to order a few more beers this week, we can see what our guests in that area are asking for.
GW: Eureka! has twenty-five locations spread throughout California and a few other Western states. I imagine that tastes are different in certain markets, so being able to wrangle all those guests’ preferences in specific areas must be crucial.
TT: Definitely. It’s also extremely helpful for me as the Beverage Director when we go into a market I’m not as familiar with. I’m pretty familiar with most California markets. But take our new location in Roseville, CA, which we opened in late 2019. I knew a few breweries up there like Moksa and the ones that are already pretty reputable in the industry. But the hyper-local breweries I wasn’t super familiar with. Utilizing Untappd is what helped me dial in. When we open a new market, we go up there and meet with a bunch of new breweries. So Untappd helps narrow down who I want to meet with. The Untappd data is not always the be-all, end-all for us, but it’s something we take into consideration.
GW: I can imagine the Untappd for Business analytics give you a jumping-off point.
TT: Totally. That’s a great way to phrase it.
GW: Beyond the printed menus and analytics, what other features of Untappd for Business is Eureka! Restaurants leveraging?
TT: We just started using QR codes. We have a pretty extensive whiskey list and the functionality that Untappd provides to not only add beers, but also to have the ability to add other menus outside of the beer category is really helpful to us. Our whiskey list is pretty extensive. We have a permanent whiskey list, but we also have rarer whiskeys that are highly allocated. We want to have them on the menu, but they are not available year round. So we have a rotating whiskey list. The QR codes are really helpful to put below the permanent whiskey list. On the menu it says something like, Scan to see the full whiskey list. And guests can just scan the [QR code] and it will show them all the additional whiskeys that are not on the permanent menu.
GW: Anything that Eureka! Restaurants will look to leverage at Untappd for Business in the future?
TT: I do think that the expanded analytics you have is something that’s extremely valuable. We may look at that for the future!