Turin is currently trending in the international foodie scene. Since the mid-2010s, the northern Italian city has witnessed an emergence in street food venues and small corner restaurants, serving the hip and young in one of the country’s biggest university populations.
Both traditional and international cuisine is on the menu, as various hotspots serve up local takes on regional dishes, such as the pane con la milza, a Sicilian beef dish. Other meals are heavy on the best of local ingredients. Garlic, rice, and olives are always at home in Turin’s many venues.
Slap bang in the centre of one of the city’s emerging quarters is Poormanger 2, the second in the city, that has catered to tourists and locals alike for over ten years. Their specialty is potatoes — the most versatile vegetable in European cuisine — and in particular they craft up both baked potatoes and gratin-style dishes. Anyone with a healthy appetite for heaps of toppings — spinach, red peppers, salami — needs to visit.
Poormanger 2 have been using Carbonara App for just over two years. We recently caught up with the local team to find out how their experience with the app has improved business over time.
Evolution of Poormanger
Originally the Poormanger team were accustomed to a fast-food style of catering. When the first venue opened in 2011, customers ordered at the counter, then took the food when ready. Five years later, the company switched business styles and introduced table service. As such the restaurant is well-versed in the ways of customer demands in a fast-paced environment.
This has meant Poormanger has expanded operations, and employed table service methods to their liking. Previously, customers had to collect cutlery and glasses themselves. But when unexpected news hit the western world, Poormanger quickly had to evolve with the times.
The Past Two Years
In 2020, when governments across Europe introduced measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, Poormanger closed for two months. This was a troubling time for the hospitality industry worldwide — and Poormanger was no different. The team had to think of a way to remain in business until measures were eventually lifted.
In May 2020, they did just that. Restaurants reopened, and Poormanger used Carbonara App to stay in line with national hospitality guidelines. Crowds, queues, and lines of eager customers waiting for service were no longer viable.
Drawbacks — Paper Guestbook
Previously, Poormanger used a paper guestbook to add waiting customers to their guestlist. This caused clients to either queue up for service or amass outside to wait for tables. Poormager resides in a crossroad of cloisters, stone arches that open onto Turin’s historic quarter. The lack of immediate space, however, had meant crowds were never comfortable hanging around outside.
People were afraid of losing their seats, Eliana the manager informed us. If guests chose to leave, then a pen-and-paper guestlist would not protect their place. Since Poormanger was so busy, they had to seat anyone available to maintain steady turnover.
Commenting on their old guestbook system, Eliana noted some of the things the team got right. “We have always been good at estimating the wait times; sometimes, especially during the weekend, the wait [could] be up to one hour.” But this created some anxiety among waiting customers. “Even if customers had to wait one hour, they didn’t feel safe walking away even for half an hour, because they were afraid of losing their table.”
High wait times made the pen-and-paper waitlist tricky to maintain — even before the pandemic hit north Italy. Eliana went on to tell us how going digital made her job much easier.
A Digital Waitlist Solution
Adopting Carbonara App, Eliana’s team soon witnessed a change in customer confidence. “Customers love [Carbonara App]. They feel happy and secure walking around waiting for their table without the need [to spend] up to one hour in front of the restaurant.” Turin has many fun spaces to explore, including many scenic spots from big green parks to stone-paved squares. Letting customers explore local settings, Carbonara App helps customers to enjoy the wait.
Eliana and the team also quickly fell in love with Carbonara App’s features. “The digital waitlist is really useful, fast, and intuitive,” she said. “It has everything we need: icons to know if there’s a dog, need of a baby chair, wheelchair, if the customer wants to sit inside or outside. This information is essential for us to manage tables better.”
SMS Features are Beneficial
In addition, Eliana mentioned a key feature of Carbonara App: guest communication features, a free two-way SMS system.
“Customers feel more comfortable walking away,” she said. “Being in contact with the restaurant through SMS is like a guarantee.” Two-way communication features enable customers to secure their place on the restaurant waitlist. Carbonara App makes sure all restaurants can use this feature to its full potential — find out how it also provides WhatsApp functionality.
Carbonara App Improves Table Turnover Rates
Through Carbonara App’s digital table tools, Poormanger has increased their table turnover rates and promoted overall productivity. Digital features have enabled the restaurant to predict guest times, knowing when waiting customers will arrive for their tables.
“Sometimes customers leave their table earlier than we expected, and with Carbonara [App] it’s really easy to recall a customer back.” This ability has made a dramatic improvement to Poormanger’s cover capacity. “Before there was nothing we could do, only waiting for the customers to come back and leave the table empty for [a few] minutes, which I think made us lose up to 30—40 covers.”
The change is a welcome one — for ultimately Carbonara App has had a positive impact on Poormanger’s overall restaurant revenue.
Turin’s restaurants can now reap the benefits of a free restaurant reservation manager. Find out how other venues in the city have used Carbonara App to help manage guests.
If you liked this article, why not find out more about Carbonara App? Talk to us about your restaurant guestbook experiences. We’re always here to help.