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Unlocking Excellence: A Restaurant Case Study with Trust Restaurant Group

Cover Image for Interior bar shot of Rare Society. The bar has black and gold accents
By Tock Staff

From saving over $180,000 to driving $295,000 in incremental revenue, learn how Tock has played a role in Trust Restaurant Group’s growth.

In 2016, chef Brad Wise set the San Diego dining scene ablaze with TRUST. His brand of smoke-fueled, wood-fired cooking drew both accolades and crowds.

TRUST quickly grew into a full-fledged collective called Trust Restaurant Group (TRG), opening multiple concepts, including Cardellino Italian Chophouse, Fort Oak, Rare Society, and The Wise Ox. Their locations are across California and Washington, with more to come.

This case study explores how Tock helped TRG overcome challenges around managing costs, increasing revenue, and streamlining operations while scaling as a restaurant group.

Interior image of Trust Restaurant. Dining room includes wooden tables with place settings and an open kitchen
Trust Restaurant (San Diego, CA)

Challenge: Inability to invest in the business due to high booking fees.

The restaurant group initially used OpenTable as their reservations platform, but a crucial challenge emerged as the restaurants grew: booking fees.

OpenTable implements a $1 charge for each booking made through their website or app. The platform also charges an extra $0.25 fee for reservations made via the OpenTable widget. With plans to grow the restaurant collective, Chef Wise saw an opportunity not only to save in an impactful way but to build better systems for success as they grew.

Tock Solution: Tock’s flat monthly cost led to savings of over $180,000 in booking fees during 2022.

TRG booked 180,094 covers in 2022 across six restaurants. With Tock’s zero cover fees and flat monthly payments, they saved over $180,000, assuming a fee of $1 per cover. “These savings mean investing in our teams, whether that’s giving us the ability to hire managers, provide health insurance and 401k’s to full-time employees, or offer continuing education opportunities to all team members,” says Wise. “Tock allowed us to build a stronger, better, more robust operation from the ground up.”

Oysters with a lemon from Fort Oak
Fort Oak (San Diego, CA)

Challenge: Diversifying revenue streams to stay afloat during COVID-19.

Cardellino opened in January 2020 as an unabashed celebration of Italian-American dining. In March 2020, the all-day eatery had to rethink its business model to weather the pandemic.

Tock Solution: Selling a Thanksgiving to-go special that drove over $295,000 in incremental revenue.

Chef Wise’s ‘Takeout Thanksgiving Feast’ featured a huge spread that fed up to eight people. The $475 package included Thanksgiving dinner, dessert, and breakfast for the next morning. There was also an optional wine pairing for an additional $150. Cardellino marketed and sold the package as a pick-up option via Tock, selling $60,200 worth of meals in 2020. “As we could not open for dining, this was a vital lifeline to keep us afloat, and one that we could only achieve through our partnership with Tock,” attests Wise.

The Thanksgiving package’s popularity, combined with Tock’s capabilities to easily replicate experiences, inspired Cardellino to continue this special in 2021 and 2022. Sales doubled in 2021 and continued to grow in 2022, amounting to $295,892.78 in gross sales.

Steak, bone marrow, and sauces sitting on a table
Rare Society (Solana Beach, CA)

Challenge: Managing time-consuming tasks like onboarding and training while scaling the business.

TRG considers service to be a core pillar of its business. To maintain the high standards of service as the collective continues to expand, they needed an automated training system that could be customized and implemented across multiple locations.

Tock Solution: Standardizing TRG’s existing training systems for multi-location use.

TRG collaborated with Tock to develop customized training for hosts and managers. In addition to incorporating TRG floor plans and other visual assets, the training also included restaurant-specific examples and practice prompts for staff. “This training is such a pivotal piece in the success of our openings,” says Wise. TRG employees also have free access to online courses and live weekly training via Tock Academy.

Learn how Tock can power your business while saving resources and increasing revenue by visiting our website.

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