2012 in Review

Well folks, 2012 is drawing to a close and we wanted to take a look back on what was a very eventful year for us. The year started with us locking up the doors on lots of great memories at 2700 S. Lamar. Our old location on S. Lamar was the second store to open and it was also the second Kerbey Lane to move. We had 20 tables and 11 counter seats, with about two dozen parking spaces at the old store. It was not unusual for our customers to have to wait 90 minutes for a table on the weekends and our kitchen was so cramped and illogical that it could take 20-30 minutes or more for customers to receive their food after ordering. We had reservations about saying goodbye to old 2700 but in the end we decided to cross the street and move 3 blocks further south into a former Blockbuster video.
We had the opportunity to design 3003 S. Lamar as a more logically flowing restaurant space. The new store has 53 tables, including 12 dog-friendly tables outside. The wait for a table on a busy weekend shift is closer to 15 minutes now and food typically arrives at the table in half the time it used to take. Parking can still be tough when it’s busy but at least now there is a full size parking lot with multiple entry points on two major streets.
Just a few months after moving our S. Lamar store we gave Kerbey UT a major facelift. We had done various minor improvements since taking over the old Conan’s Pizza space but the basic look of the building hadn’t changed since its pizzeria days. Not only that but the flow of the restaurant was completely illogical with no clear place for guests to wait for a table and servers crashing through a congested doorway with trays loaded up with food. The booths and the flooring did not match each other and the exterior was really starting to look sad, with letters falling off. Well, when students returned this fall they were greeted with a fresh, clean, updated Kerbey Lane on the drag. We’ve improved the flow, increased the restaurant’s capacity and generally improved the look inside and out.
We have re-invented the way we do our featured pancakes this year as well. For years each store had its own featured pancake that would change randomly. Some locations had very creative features that would last for several days while others would get stuck in a pancake rut, with the same boring featured pancake for weeks at a time. Now we have engaged in a Unified Pancake Initiative. In 2012, we premiered a new line of exciting pancake features and all five locations have the same feature for a week at a time. That means, if you “Like” us on Facebook but you live in Waco you know that you can take a drive to Austin and count on any of our locations serving the same pancake you read about online.
You can also order fancy coffee drinks at any of our five locations now. Our guests said they wanted Cappuccinos and Lattes so we bought Espresso machines for all of our stores. Our servers were initially resistant but now that they can drink all the Espresso their hearts can handle, they have been swayed. The arrival of fancy coffee machines means our Hot Cocoa is made with real milk now! No more instant cocoa, now we serve the real deal and it’s delicious y’all. Not only that, we can make Hot Cocoas with Soy, 2% or Skim milk.
We have also made improvements in areas that may not be immediately evident to our guests but should enhance the overall experience. We have replaced the old paper printers in our kitchens with a computer system that displays the orders for the cooks in a way that is both more logical and timed more efficiently. With our new computer system food does not sit in the window as long and the plates are timed to arrive to the guests at the same time. If there is an order for Grilled Chicken on the same ticket with a scrambled egg, the computer doesn’t send the egg order to the egg cook until the grilled chicken is almost finished. This helps us to reduce food-waste and keeps things more organized for our servers, cooks and guests.
The way we order food from our suppliers has also been made more efficient, streamlined and trackable. Now it is easier for us to tell what items are and are not popular and we also are less likely to run out of menu items. Not only that, our managers can spend more time with guests since they spend less time pouring over redundant paperwork.
We have implemented new initiatives to keep our customers coming back as well. We call them “Code Reds.” When anything goes wrong, whether it be that the music is too loud, the restaurant is too cold or a guest was dissatisfied with their food we track the complaint. That way we can spot trends faster and see what needs to be improved. We received complaints about our Biscuits, Eggs & Gravy so, we changed the biscuits. We received more complaints so we changed the gravy. We continued to tweak the recipes and the presentation until we stopped receiving complaints and now we serve a much better product.
You may also have noticed that we have changed the way we do our social media. We are trying to be more timely, interactive and informative through various social media platforms. Now, you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and this blog. Unlike a lot of businesses who hand over their social media reigns to an outside company, we have given control over to a server who has been a member of the Kerbey family for five years. So, that’s why Kerbey’s online persona is so much like our real life personas.
We had so much fun serving you all thousands of gallons of queso this year, oceans of Orange Juice and enough pancakes to build a city skyline. We love you Austin and we look forward to serving you again throughout 2013. We have lots of exciting happenings in the upcoming year and we can’t wait to show you what’s in store. For now, we’ll be here for you throughout the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with extra staff to keep things moving. See y’all real soon!

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