With a mobile tableside ordering system and a sales-team mentality in place plus new menu items on the horizon, The Berg Haus hopes to become a go-to restaurant for folks in the Castle Pines area and beyond.
The sports bar and grill opened in January 2020, and its founders never dreamed there would be a year and half of postponed or canceled sporting events. They couldn’t have seen the supply chain disruptions or the labor shortage the establishment in Castle Pines would face either.
“We’ve been fighting tooth and nail, changing everything,” Bruce Ringgenberg, majority owner and managing partner of The Berg Haus, said with pride about how the company’s adjusted to all that’s been thrown its way since the pandemic began.
Most recently, The Berg Haus has given customers the opportunity to use their phones to place food and beverage orders for dine-in right from their table or bar stool. Servers still greet patrons in person and will take orders the traditional way if that’s what is wanted, Ringgenberg said. But the option for customers to get things started for themselves is also available.
Ringgenberg doesn’t expect or need everyone to self-order. But he thinks some technology-adept regulars will appreciate the expediency of sending their requests straight to the kitchen or bar. If 30% of customers order by phone, Ringgenberg estimates he’ll need two fewer servers on the floor.
“We can still keep the same level of service with fewer people, which is what was the motivator behind it anyway because we couldn’t get people,” he said. It takes a staff of 22 to man the independent neighborhood gastro pub, which can seat nearly 200 people inside and 100 on the patio.
Like most businesses in the nation, The Berg Haus has struggled with labor. It even shrunk down its menu to the basics this spring, offering only wings and burgers for a time, in an effort to simplify the work its short-handed kitchen faced.
The Berg Haus pays its back-of-the-house workers several dollars above minimum wage and has changed the way it compensates staff as part of an effort to keep more qualified people in the kitchen, Ringgenberg said.
“If we don’t have people making food, we don’t have a product to sell and then you’re making zero,” Ringgenberg said he tells his employees.
The Berg Haus is building up its team and expects to have a full crew before the end of May. With some of its part-time workers coming home from college for the summer, The Berg Haus should presently have all the help it needs, Ringgenberg said.
The next step is expanding what the kitchen offers. Ringgenberg said customers can look forward to fun food and beverage pairings and new menu items this summer as The Berg Haus strives to earn a place in the heart of its community.
When people want to go out, only a smattering of places immediately occur to them, Ringgenberg said.
“There’s really only five or six that they keep on their mind. … We want to be one of those,” he said. “That’s the goal.”