Almost 20 years ago, two local New England guys, Harry Gnong and Gary Simon, decided to share in their passion for everything British and opened the very first British Beer Company— in none other than downtown Plymouth, MA. Also referred to as the BBC, they have somewhat of a cult following and a very loyal customer base.
With 14 locations, the BBC is primarily located in Massachusetts but has 2 establishments in New Hampshire as well. Corporate Beverage Director Shane Egan started with the company 7 years ago, and with a hint of an Irish accent, he fits right into the atmosphere.
A Story of Success
The first bar that opened in Plymouth only seats about 20 people, but is a unique British style pub, and is what inspired the theme for the brand. When asked what sets BBC apart, Shane states “atmosphere,” without skipping a beat.
“Our customers are generally local and very very loyal. We have pics all over the bar of customers wearing BBC garb—they take it very proudly.”
There is no general age range. At any given time of day, you can meet patrons from 21 to 81 years old—BBC is appealing to a wide range of ages. Due to this type of customer/fan base, the company does very little marketing and allows each GM (who they coyly refer to as “Publicans“) decide for their own community. One thing Shane doesn’t deny, however, is the leg up technology has given them.
Old Style, New Tech
Using old chalkboards and reprinting menus can’t work forever with a growing brand, but BBC was still hesitant to introduce technology.
“My concern about bringing digital menus in, was that it wouldn’t fit our theme (an old school British pub), but it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s still an old British pub, but we keep up with technology.”
TapHunter is a software that the BBC has found great success with, as all of their patrons are generally mobile-friendly. He has noticed that the second they tap a unique beer, they have fresh faces coming through the door (something he has no doubt is due to the convenience of the technology). Additionally, it has kept them from costly menu reprints, and endless chalkboard erasing.
“We spent a huge amount of time printing menus. TapHunter has helped that enormously—not just the beer menu, but the wine and cocktail list as well. It’s saved so much time with the managers out of the office and onto the floor where we need them.”
It’s no surprise that brands like the British Beer Company are continuously successful. They pay attention to the needs of their staff, adopt the latest trends for efficiency, and most importantly, cater to a community—not just a customer.