Starting a business is a risk, but you’ve got to dive in head first. Nobody understands this better than Randolf Jorberg who founded Beerhouse, after visiting a beer bar in Heidelberg, Germany.
The brand is at the forefront of innovation, from the systems they use to the way they think about beer and customer experience. Since opening their first Beerhouse in Cape Town, they have grown to 3 locations across South Africa in just 5 years.
We chatted to Precious, the “Fresh Presh of Beerhouse” to learn more about the Beerhouse story, their challenges and how they use Yoco. Here’s what she had to share.
How and why did you start Beerhouse?
The idea behind Beerhouse all started during a trip to Germany. In April 2012, Randolf Jorberg, Founder and Head Dreamer, was sitting with his then-girlfriend in a beer bar in Heidelberg, discussing the various beers that were available. They wondered why no similar place existed in Cape Town.
It was from realising this gap in the South African market that Beerhouse was born.
That night, upon returning to their hotel, Randolf reserved the domain name beerbar.co.za. He redirected it to a new Facebook page, invited his Capetonian friends and posted some beer related content.
With no industry experience, Randolf knew that a successful bar business starts with a good location. They decided on Long Street in Cape Town, the bustling party street in the heart of the city. A few days after signing the lease for 223 Long Street they still had no real plan on how to open a bar, but were ready to spread the word.
The next steps were to print T-Shirts and visit the Cape Town Festival of Beer, where they met the brewers that would become our closest partners.
They also solidified the Beerhouse vision for the first time: Give our guests a 365 day a year beer festival experience, and be the go-to tasting room for the South African craft beer industry.
After much success in Cape Town, we were often asked to bring our 99 bottles and over 25 taps to Johannesburg. In July 2014 we took the leap and brought Africa’s biggest beer variety to Gauteng by opening a branch in Fourways. In November 2016 we opened Beerhouse Centurion as part of the company’s plan to be South Africa’s go-to venue for beer choice, knowledge and experiences.
We aim to have 20 Beerhouse outlets nationwide by 2020.
What makes you different?
What makes us different is that we see ourselves as the hub for all things beer. We provide the best local and international selection.
We are committed to being a tasting room for the burgeoning beer industry, supporting local micro-breweries and giving them a podium on which to shine. Beerhouse lives to give beer lovers an all year round Beer Festival by providing a large and inclusive variety of beer and brew food. Social atmosphere, high standards of service, beer culture and education are also very important to us.
In August 2017, we pioneered the Brew Food movement. This is a new era of exploration that brings in a fusion of food and beer. Beerhouse teamed up with Ultimate Braai Master winner Piet Marais and his team to create a food menu that combines the best of both worlds.
Our Brew Food menu integrates smoking techniques from in-house custom made natural hard wood smokers. The awesome flavours of smoked meat are punctuated by Brew Food elements including beer fermented sriracha, beer cheese emulsions, brew pickles, amasai ranch sauce and more. All these elements either use beer or fermentation and pickling to create flavours that compliment smoked meats.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge in building our business has been to overcome the traditional mindset of the hospitality ecosystem in South Africa. We understood from the start that we wanted to be innovative.
We have been early adopters of new innovative tech and software. This has been a challenge as it does not necessarily, in its early days, give you as much control over your business. However, its potential is undeniable. We future proof our business using cloud based software, mobile iPads for ordering, and Yoco credit card machines.
With the pace of change in the world at the moment if you’re not thinking innovation and disruption, you’re obsolete.
How do you use Yoco and how does it help you?
We use Yoco at the bar as well as tableside to accept card payments at all three of our locations. Yoco helps us to speed up service and we are able to have a quick turnaround of customers at the bar. It also makes the cash-up process at the end of the day more efficient, which means our staff can get home earlier than they normally would.
The system is cost effective with a once-off affordable payment rather than a monthly rental. Yoco is also environmentally friendly, as there are no receipts printed after every transaction.
The personal service received from the Yoco team is great. They are really keen to work with you to grow your business! Visit the Beerhouse website to learn more about the beer revolution.