Bully’s East is bullish about the future. Founded in 1971, the venerable full-service restaurant and bar is a San Diego institution—sought for its dimly lit leather booths, bustling happy hours and hefty portions of horseradish-encrusted prime rib. Located near the San Diego Chargers’ stadium, the restaurant is a family affair, started by dad J.D. Dahlen and wife Ginny. And, with son Derek Dahlen now at the helm, Bully’s East employs 60 people seven days a week to uphold the long-standing tradition of “the best prime rib in town.”
“Customers have lots of choices in our area so we’ve had to really reinforce our brand, offering weekly and daily specials to get people in the door,” said Dahlen. As a result, the restaurant often serves large parties of multiple tables and must service peak customer volumes while keeping order accuracy high.
“Our stationery POS system was a dinosaur,” noted Dahlen. “When we had a problem it could literally take weeks to get service, and that was just crippling us.” Servers took orders by hand, then walked to a stationery POS terminal to send batch orders to the kitchen. With the old system, order changes created kitchen confusion, often resulting in wasted food. “Order changes are inevitable, but you have to serve the customer first or they’ll go somewhere else.”