How a craft beer bar added food, and revenue, practically overnight.

When the world came to a stop in mid-March, Ordinance One, a craft beer bar in the Tampa, Florida area, was like many establishments across the country: closed, and without revenue. Months went by, and it was difficult for owner BJ Ciper to see a path to profitability due to the capacity restrictions imposed upon his operation.

He was craving agility, and searching for a way to transform his business.

“I started hearing noise that bars would have to remain closed, or at least have capacity restrictions, until the end of the year,” Ciper says. “And I just thought, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ And that’s when I reached out to Welbilt to talk about what type of oven they could set me up with that would help me add food to the menu.”

Welbilt—an innovative kitchen services and equipment manufacturer that’s been around for over 90 years—set Ciper up with a Merrychef high-speed oven and a Delfield undercounter freezer, and in a matter of days Ciper had put together a menu of finger foods to serve to his bar patrons. Offerings like a Pretzel and Sausage Plate, Tater Tots with Bacon and Chives, Beef Sliders, and Puff Pastry Crab Rangoon helped bring his loyal beer-drinking following through the door. Ciper estimates that he went from completely closed, to having made back the investment he sank into the two pieces of equipment, in about two months.

“Like most restaurants, our overall tickets are down since reopening, but our ticket average is up $5,” Ciper says. “If you think about it, the food keeps patrons here longer, spending more money. It’s been a complete game-changer for us, bringing in revenue we otherwise wouldn’t have—and all of the ingredients I can purchase down the street at the local grocery store.”

Other virtues of the newly launched Merrychef eikon® e1s oven that Ciper added into his operation are that it takes up very little space, is ventless, and because it has smart technology that can save cooking information like time and temperature, it requires a single touch of a button to cook consistent food to spec. This upside is typical of Welbilt’s broad equipment portfolio, which is designed and built with ease-of-use, quality, and agility in mind.

“One of the reasons we went to Welbilt is because my brand refuses to compromise on quality,” Ciper says. “I would not just add some food that’s being microwaved in the back. And at the same time, Welbilt’s equipment is literally easier than using a microwave, and requires zero training of staff for them to use it.”

Ciper had no shortage of praise to offer the team at Welbilt, saying they had a role in helping him develop a menu, and making sure that his transition to using the equipment went off without a hitch.

“Before I opened this bar, I was in beer distribution for 20 years, selling mom-and pop craft beers, and I figured in that line of work I’d seen some of the best vendor-buyer relationships you could possibly see,” Ciper says. “And yet, my relationship with Welbilt is the best vendor relationship I’ve ever had. They answer my questions before I even have the question in my mind. They go above and beyond, it’s hard to describe how great the brand truly is.”

To find out more about Welbilt and its equipment, check out its website.

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