Brew & Brew's Secret to Making Smart Inventory and Staffing Decisions

At Brew & Brew in Austin, Texas, it’s all about good beans and good beers — the space features a full espresso bar and 38 taps. The brainchild of brothers Matt and Grady Wright and Matthew Bolick, Brew & Brew has been using Square since it opened its doors in 2013. We caught up with Matt to see how things are going and hear how Square Point of Sale is helping Brew & Brew make smart inventory and staffing decisions now and down the pipeline (we’re looking at you, SXSW).

Square: How did the idea for Brew & Brew come to you?
Matt Wright: My brother and I were regulars at a coffee shop in Austin. We became friends with Matthew Bolick, who was the barista there, and just started brainstorming. This was in 2011, when third-wave coffee and craft beer were really starting to take off here. Fast forward to 2013, and we purchased an existing coffee shop and eventually turned it into what is now Brew & Brew.

What did you guys do before?
I worked in consulting and email marketing in the tech space. My brother was in project management for a construction company. We were both working long hours and thought, “Why don’t we put all this energy into our own business?”

Why coffee and beer?
Working in technology for so long, I wanted to get into something that felt more real, more physical. An in-person transaction. I like the simplicity of being like: I made this coffee in a way that I’m proud of, I see that you’re enjoying it, and then I see you come back tomorrow. It’s more personal.

How have you grown since the beginning?
We now employ anywhere from 10 to 15 people. Sales have been growing consistently year over year. It’s been really gratifying to see. Square Point of Sale’s data has really helped us to quantify our growth.

How else does Square help you run your business?
The most useful thing that Square has done is give me access to all my information — I love that control. I use all the reports in Square Point of Sale — items detail, sales, hour over hour sales. I can keep a pulse on how the shop’s doing. Does the manager need to leave what they’re doing and go help out at the counter? The data I get from Square makes everyone’s job run more smoothly.

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You offer lots of specialty coffee and craft beers. How does Square help you make inventory decisions?
My brother uses Square a lot for beer ordering, because he can see how popular things are. He looks at the sales for each category and also individual items over time. We change beer very frequently and use Square to help determine next week’s offerings.

How do you decide what new types of beer and coffee to try out?
All three of us were avid consumers before we started this business, so we follow our palates. We have a consistent relationship with local brewers and roasters, so we’re in the know about anything new. The decision-making is somewhat intuitive, but we also use Square a lot. Say we bring on a high-end, single-origin espresso. We look at the sales numbers. Is it worth the training or the extra expense? Square helps us make smart decisions around stuff like that.

Brew & Brew is also very involved in the local community. How do you approach your community efforts?
Being in business is great, but it’s really the people around you who are gonna make the job more fun. We happen to be attached to a music venue — there’s a door between the two spaces. A lot of our employees play on that stage. We also make a point to help support local nonprofits.

Speaking of music, ready for SXSW?
SXSW is chaos! Square actually helps us out a lot with managing it. We use projections from last year to estimate what we’ll need in terms of staffing and inventory this year. We can plan ahead, whereas before we were completely guessing.

If you’re in Austin for SXSW (or any time, really), be sure to swing by Brew & Brew for a cold (or hot) one. (They’ll be open for Music, but closed for a private event for Tech).

To learn more about how to use analytics and social media to help grow and manage your business, watch the webinar we co-hosted with Main Street Hub. Square Inventory is a part of Square Point of Sale, click here to learn more about our free inventory management software.