Cafe Strange Brew Speeds Up Service with Carbonara App

Southside in Glasgow, an urban spot stocked up with nineteenth-century stone tenements and a range of snooker halls, has a delectable selection of small hospitality venues ready for visitors worldwide. If you’re ever prowling for brunch, well, you’ve come to the right place.

Sitting just opposite a large snooker hall, Café Strange Brew takes pride-of-place in Glasgow’s growing roster of places serving brunch. Since late 2015, it has served as a welcome addition to the locale and is a popular favourite among locals.

Café Strange Brew Opened to Great Success

Owner Laurie MacMillan opened Café Strange Brew on the wing of an ambitious mission. In its first days, we were “pushing the boundaries of brunch”, said Laurie in a recent GlasgowLive feature. 

A bit different from the usual, the café has maintained popularity with locals ever since its big opening. As it happens, many claim Café Strange Brew is the best Glasgow has to offer. 

When you look inside, you’ll agree with what most have to say. 

A stylish menu serves brunch favourites, from local takes on French toast to full-on strawberry cheesecake lunchtime desserts. A fine selection of gourmet-style, good value food keeps customers returning, catering to everyone’s dietary requirements.

The effort has ensured that Café Strange Brew often pops up on “Best Brunch in Scotland” lists. Its increased popularity promises to remix and redefine the Glasgow brunch scene. Years back, new visitors would expect to see queues stacked up out the front. (When travel sites like Hidden Scotland declare Café Strange Brew a must-visit, visitors had expected no less.)

However, that has all changed. Café Strange Brew remains popular, but has ditched the tiresome waiting lines. To the delight of their customers, Café Strange Brew is now using Carbonara App, an efficient restaurant system that values everybody’s time. 

We recently spoke with owner Laurie to find out how they’re getting on. 

Figure 1. Cafe Strange Brew Exterior via Instagram

Pen-and-paper Limitations

Described as one of the most Instagrammed spots in the city, it comes as no surprise that since 2015 Café Strange Brew had constantly welcomed mass crowds. Laurie has estimated that on regular days the team would seat around 200—250 per day. Not to mention that its dog-friendly policy ensured increased custom from those just out on their daily stroll.

Working with such dense crowds was both a blessing and a curse. The increase in footfall meant more work for staff — and using a pen-and-paper roster to manage walk-in customers proved faulty.

This was tedious, said Laurie. A pen-and-paper system came with limitations: “With pen-and-paper, there was no record of the time when you added the customer, or how long they’ve been waiting. This could be problematic at times. Also, at times [we] would take a phone number and phone people back, but that took a lot of time.”

So staff had only a rough idea of how long customers would’ve waited for one of the café’s tables. The problems Laurie observed had slowed the café’s work efficiency — that is to say, the café unwillingly risked losing customers due to unpredictable waiting times.

Also, until integrating restaurant technology, the team had no other option but to deal with incoming phone calls when also working. 

They soon found out that an app would save them a lot of time and money.


Figure 2. Cafe Strange Brew Interior via Instagram

Integrating an Efficient System was Crucial for Fast Service

Before Carbonara App, Laurie went with a competitor’s system but had found that it had fallen short. Thanks to Carbonara App they were able to quickly dispel these problems. 

“Carbonara is easier to use than [a competitor’s app],” Laurie told us. “The main view is much more informative, it’s clearer and more cleanly laid out, and the features and operation are more concise.”

Over the years, Café Strange Brew has trialled multiple ways of keeping customers up-to-date with their wait times. With Carbonara App, Laurie said the team had finally found a system that suited them best. 

“Carbonara App also allows us to better communicate with the customer,” she said, gladly. “Customers were getting more information from the text messages from [the app], and we also would receive messages back and understand where the customer is.”

Enjoying Carbonara App

The team loved the app’s two-way communication features. Now they were able to build an understanding of a customer’s location, having a distinct edge over a pen-and-paper system.

There was also the bonus of anticipating any late arrivals. “Probably the most important feature is the connection with the customer — being able to communicate over text with [them]. This improves the customer experience and it also makes it easier for our staff to manage the waitlist. If people are running late, they message back, and this is quite helpful.”

Café Strange Brew can now savour guest reliability. Customers are no longer enigmas drifting in Glasgow’s Southside but reliable guests who find it convenient to let the café know about their whereabouts.


Figure 3. Illustration by Daniela Pettenato via Instagram

[bctt tweet=”“With the Carbonara App, everything is a lot quicker. It’s faster to manage the queue, and customers are quite surprised that we have Carbonara as an option. They really like it.” – Laurie MacMillan, owner at Café Strange Brew”]

Carbonara App: Key Advantages for Café Strange Brew

Laurie was very well-pleased about Carbonara App’s benefits, and enthusiastically shared her final opinions on the app’s advantages.

“With the Carbonara App, everything is a lot quicker. It’s faster to manage the queue, and customers are quite surprised that we have Carbonara as an option. They really like it.” 

The benefits don’t end there. Laurie commended the app for making everything quicker. In fact, being able to communicate with customers improved everyone’s experience, from:

  • better estimated wait times
  • better waitlist management
  • better overall service 

We finally asked Laurie about the overall effect Carbonara App has had on helping her business in 2021. She responded with her top recommendation: “Yes, absolutely. I absolutely would recommend Carbonara to other restaurants. Carbonara App has been really helpful for us.” 

We’re delighted to help places like Café Strange Brew thrive. Learn more about what Carbonara App can do for your business and contact us today

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