F&B Summer Solutions

3 Tips: "How to Beer Garden"

The heads behind the concept: Bernd Radecker, Gorilla Bar, and Marcus Gessler, operator of six of the participating concepts.
The heads behind the concept: Bernd Radecker, Gorilla Bar, and Marcus Gessler, operator of six of the participating concepts.

In 2020, multi-restaurateur Marcus Gessler demonstrated on Münster, Germany, how a digitally organized beer garden takes off Covid-compliant. Now, he is happy to share his start-up know-how for the second Covid summer. Here are his 3 tips for summer success.


#1 Finding the right spot

"Before you can even find the perfect place for yourself, you have to be clear about your concept," says Marcus Geßler and explains: "You can't say across the board whether a beer garden will be better received in the city centre on cobblestones or in a city park in the countryside – of course, it's also a matter of how big you want to make the beer garden itself."

Unlike permanent venues with an established community, one of the most important tasks is to catch the eye and score points with as many potential patrons as possible in a short period of time, he said. "I believe that you do yourself a favor if you take the pop up concept to a location where people already like to be in their free time, rather than trying to steer them there with a lot of effort." What this usually means is that new and existing concepts, including shops, can mutually stimulate business in busy places close to the city. "In contrast to the meticulously planned interior of a restaurant, it's primarily the surroundings that determine whether you feel comfortable or not."

#2 An offer you can't refuse

Marcus Gessler has converted an overseas container into a bar to offer a variety of drinks from draught beer and lemonades to wine and mixed long drinks - for up to 500 guests. Although there is no kitchen in sight, Gessler is sure to offer the best menu in town: "We don't cook ourselves here, but we don't have to, given the good, varied foodservice offer available in Münster," he explains. Anyone who wants something to eat orders via the beer garden website. It contains the complete menu of all participating restaurants in the university city. They then deliver the food directly to the beer garden.

Biergarten.ms, Münster 2020: Digital gegen die Krise

#3 Simply work efficiently

Gessler's Covid pop-up beer garden owes its success in part to its digital platform for operations. "Almost all of our processes here run through chayns," the restaurateur reveals. The software provides digital check-in for guests to trace contacts if necessary, and was the basis for contactless and cashless ordering and payment. The service staff did not have to deal with "handheld computers" for orders or giant wallets for cash. Even the stop at the traditional cash register was eliminated altogether. The guests' smartphones were the sole "working medium", the QR code on the deck chair and beer table the digital link for the food and drink selection. A digital self-service system, where the guests take over the service themselves. "It is estimated that we save half of our daily walking paths and can certainly also save 30 percent of the time that we would otherwise need," calculates Marcus Gessler.