Etc. Opening Day
Starting last fall, I enlisted Jennifer Marble’s help in building a new website to better represent the two restaurants here. I found out about her when Amy Forbes from Perkins Cove Candies asked me if I wanted to join the Perkins Cove 03907 website (https://www.perkinscove03907.com/). Amy said I would love Jennifer, her attention to detail and the ease of working with her on the Barnacle Billy’s/Bunny Clark sections of this site. I did. In fact, I liked her work and working with her so much that I had her design the new Barnacle Billy’s site. The only thing I asked, besides making it look good and easy to use, was that I be able to edit it myself. So far I have been too busy to sit down and master it. But I have done some editing. And she will add anything to the site that I need quickly. She also completed a very informative instruction booklet that I can use on my own. This is my first attempt at writing in the Billy’s Journal on this new site.
I can tell you that having someone local, like Jennifer, who is so adept at working on the website with all the new online enhancements and who knows the search engines like a Ferrari mechanic knows his machine is refreshingly delightful. She can be found at https://www.jennifermarble.com/. I highly suggest that if you are interested in building a new site that you get in touch with her.
Today is opening day for Barnacle Billy’s, Etc. Lately, the weather has been cold, windy and rainy. So business at Barnacle Billy’s (Original) has had variable success to this point in time; great on the sunny/warmish days and slow on the cold/rainy ones. Still, it has been very enjoyable to be open and doing business. And I have been delighted to see all our regular patrons and the new patrons as well. I love walking the floor, asking how their meals are and answering questions. I get quite a few compliments but I defer to my employees, most of whom have returned for another season and who have been with me, some for over thirty years. They make me look good.
Life at Barnacle Billy’s (Original) is much the same as it has been for many years. Some of the changes that were implemented to benefit the Covid crisis have remained the same, like having disposable menus, leaving the sugar bowls off the tables, using squeeze bottles for the condiments instead of communal covered containers, potato chip bags and having rum punches to go. I’m not sure if all this will remain going forward. These, of course, are subtle changes except for the rum punch sealed bottles to go. Much about going forward with the to-go bottles will depend on a future mandate by the state. The sunset on this law is 2024. At that time the Maine Legislature will review this law and continue it into the future or decide to go back to the way it was. Before Covid we were never able to sell alcohol that would leave the premises. Since we started the to-go rum punches, we have had a very positive response.
Going back to Barnacle Billy’s, Etc., we have had some great work behind the scenes to make this year better than ever. We have not changed our past menu items. But we have included new ones including adding gluten free choices, vegetarian dishes, lobster pie and lobster mac & cheese. Sarah Cannon and Micah Tower have done a wonderful job getting the new menu set up. Sarah, in the meantime, has made the menu much more user friendly. This is a new menu, the graphic design of which I really love. I think you will too.
In the meantime, Eric Littlefield and Travis Cutter have been working on implementing all the new menu changes and designing the kitchen in such a way that all this will work efficiently in the preparation.
I have been working on all this with Micah, Sarah, Eric and Travis, offering suggestions and directing their path of operation in the manner with which I would think that my father would have liked to see it go. It is so easy to work with these four. I’m really excited to see what tonight will bring. We open Etc. at 5 PM. At that same time, we will be closing Barnacle Billy’s (Original), something we have traditionally done with the opening of Etc.
After we closed for the season last fall and at our first managers meeting, one of the items on the agenda was consolidating our point of sale (POS) system. At that time and through the years we have been using a different POS system for each restaurant. This had been tough when employees from one restaurant went to the other to wait tables or take orders, getting used to different system. So I made the decision last fall to go with one POS system for both restaurants, cloud based so it can be accessed from any computer online, more user friendly as compared to the previous systems and have less steps when using the computer to make a sale. Other benefits I was looking for were hand-helds so customers can pay at the table, gift cards online, a payroll system that would encompass the employees in both restaurants, have more control with our payroll system and to make the whole system more efficient for everyone. We have achieved this and more. The lead on this goes to Matt Pedersen who has been invaluable in making this happen. If it wasn’t for him, I might not have gone this route. He alone had made the transition so easy. Yes, we have had glitches and I’m sure we will see some problems we will have to solve with Etc’s system. But I have full confidence that, by working together, we will solve all of these inconsistencies and move forward, all with Matt’s direction and computer expertise.
At the same time, Stu Dunn, our manager at Original and our liquor manager for both restaurants, has been taking the bull by the horns adapting all our liquor, beer and wine to the new system. He’s also very hands-on when it comes to working with the POS, pricing and controlling liquor sales. He is a quick study with new things.
So tonight will be the true start of the season with both restaurants working and both online. We have the best crew who I have ever had the pleasure to work with. And everyone, all our employees, seem happier than ever to jump right in. And I am looking forward to greeting our patrons who specifically like Etc, those who love both restaurants and anyone else who would like to dine with us this evening. I hope to see you there!