Comic Strip Live Saves Big on F&B Costs with Maitre’D’s Bar POS

What do Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield and Maitre’D POS have in common?

They’ve all performed at the legendary Comic Strip Live: New York’s oldest and most prestigious comedy club. And while those other legendary comedians performed just once in a while, Maitre’D has been held over for every performance since April 2013.

Because running a comedy club is no laughing matter.

Comic Strip Live serves drinks and some basic food items, and they sell merchandise (hats, t shirts and the like). There are two areas to the club: the club room itself and a waiting room at the bar where people wait for the club doors to open. That can be a lot of people packed into a moderate space, and that can create chaos and confusion for servers as they try to handle drinks, especially with pencil and paper, which is the way it was done for years.

With a two-drink minimum and a brisk merchandise business, that made the situation rough at every point. Orders were taken hastily and not always correctly or clearly (which meant wasted liquor and wasted time). Every patron ran a tab, which was settled at the end of the show. There was only a single credit card terminal—which ensured a continual bottleneck at the card station and impatient people waiting to leave. And, in all probability, in an uncontrolled environment like theirs, tracking and tracing waste and pilferage was impossible. Finally, paper is a difficult thing to keep track of, and there were always issues at the end of the day tracking sales to cash, handling voids and returns, and so on. And no reporting. So while the front room was getting the laughs, the back of the house was falling on its face.

That’s why Comic Strip Live turned to Maitre’D’s bar POS, and to our partner Manhattan POS to get the operation in order. Today, using only the core POS system, Comic Strip Live has every part of the business under control. Every drink, meal and hat is entered into one of four Maitre’D POS stations around the club. Accuracy is now 100%, since nothing is poured, cooked or sold unless it’s in Maitre’D. Each terminal has an integrated card reader so the bottlenecks to create bills at the end of the show are gone. Other things that took extra server time—like voids, splits and discounts—are now handled entirely by Maitre’D. In the back office, Comic Strip Live is able to take advantage of all of Maitre’D’s robust reporting capabilities. They can track inventory sold vs inventory poured, server productivity, beverage cost, best-selling items, and more. Next up for them is setting up the inventory system to track items from order to consumption.

Comic Strip Live as a great example of the way Maitre’D is deployed by many smaller restaurants and venues. It follows a unique concept in an intimate venue. Still, using only the core, affordable Maitre’D POS, it’s as operationally efficient and well-managed as the largest restaurant chains in the world.