Opening a New Channel for Institution Ale

Institution Ale Co. is based in Camarillo, CA where they brew unfiltered & un-compromised American ales. They have an on-site tasting room and also service bars and restaurants throughout Ventura County. They turned to GoTab when takeout and delivery became the only channel available through the pandemic.

Prior to COVID, Institution Ale had a small takeout business. Their menu consisted of a few “to-go” packs that were sold to a small number of repeat buyers. To support that channel, they signed up for GoTab in 2019 to streamline the order process. GoTab’s virtual deployment (software only) was the perfect option for basic online ordering.

With a cheap tablet device and cellular service, they could manage their GoTab orders without any special software. GoTab’s virtual deployment also gave them a branded digital menu that links to their website.

In March 2020, when COVID 19 happened, Institution Ale recognized they could use GoTab to help them to tap into a new revenue opportunity. They reached out to GoTab for help.

Institution Ale staff making delivery boxes.

Maintaining Operations Through the Lockdown

GoTab quickly deployed several system modifications to support their takeout and delivery business and almost overnight, Institution Ale’s GoTab volume increased from several orders a week to over 50-60 percent of the brewery’s total revenue. They went from previously having a very small takeout/delivery option, to redirecting their entire staff to the new operating model to continue operations.

New Features Added for Institution Ale

Institution Ale GoTab menu.

GoTab moved quickly to update the platform to provide the following new features:

  • Geofencing of delivery area through Google Maps API
  • Support for unlimited delivery addresses on customer profiles
  • Delivery address verification through Google Maps API
  • Route optimization for drivers by time or distance
  • Printed packing slip generator
  • Messaging interface for drivers to contact customers on delivery route

How Takeout and Delivery Worked for Institution Ale

First, prioritize the order process on your website. Institution Ale has a robust and really attractive branded website where visitors can browse the different brews and even shop for Institution Ale merch. Since prior to quarantine their customers weren’t accustomed to online orders, it was important to make that option very prominent for their customers.

So they re-directed the user flow on their site to favor the GoTab ordering path.

When starting out, add some simple communication on your website to point customers in the right direction. This is a brand new technology for many people, and while data shows that return users are nearly always successful when placing subsequent orders, first timers could benefit from simple instruction. 

Make your delivery model more like Amazon, less like Dominos. The hardest part of running their own delivery operation was scheduling and resourcing. While traffic was light during the initial stages of quarantine the drivers were able to complete their orders fairly easily. But when traffic started to pick up, delivering on time became much harder. One feature GoTab is considering, based on additional customer requests, would be to support this with delivery windows versus specific order time slots. More to follow on this.