Drawn Agency

Porter | Alignment Unlocks Potential

At its most basic level, Porter is designed to help merchants manage their inventories and menus, and help patrons simplify the process of ordering, reordering, and closing out tabs — all of which can be done using a mobile device via Porter.

The Porter development process has been one big exercise in design thinking and iterative prototyping — and all in the name of creating an aligned experience. We built a pub and realized that we needed a new kind of menu that would update faster, blend in with its environment, and yet still clearly communicate with patrons. We created it. We opened the doors. We stepped back and watched what happened. We watched people peek in and see how long the line was before choosing to enter (or leave). We watched people who wanted another round as they checked the lines before deciding to order. We learned, unsurprisingly, that patrons have aversions to standing in line. Unfortunately, with counter service and fast-casual restaurants, that’s usually part of the deal. We wanted to create a different kind of experience for the patrons of our pubs, so initially, we tried out some re-ordering apps that delivered reordered rounds directly to patrons’ tables, but that wasn’t quite right, so we built a custom solution.

We talked to managers about how much time they spent on inefficient tasks, like entering each available beer into five different systems. It was too much, so we solved for that, too. And then we realized that we had designed a product that would be valuable to restaurateurs around the world, so we began developing it, and continued our iterative process of fine-tuning along the way. (We’re still refining it, in fact.)

Of course, we had recognized Porter’s potential with counter-service pubs all along, but as we started sharing it with the world, we quickly realized its additional potential use for dine-in theaters, room service at boutique hotels, bowling alleys, pizza joints, stadiums, and many others who serve customers in this digital age. It can provide them access to better data and more efficient processes, allowing them to sell more and manage less, so they can enjoy the businesses about which they’re passionate. Patrons get to skip standing in lines and, instead, spend more time with those they came to be with, creating more analog time together through the use of a digital app.

Drawn has relished the opportunity to leverage the lessons learned through years of food-industry entrepreneurship and implement solutions that pubs all over the country can benefit from. Porter is now live at a handful of taphouses, breweries, and fast-casual restaurants across the Northwest and it’s expanding to a nationwide market.

And really, this is just the beginning of the next cycle of observation, testing, and responding with an app that just continues to get smarter and more useful for its customers. As Porter’s partners, Drawn will continue to respond to opportunities for better service, data and analytics, and advanced customization that make Porter feel like a personal assistant, a “quiet set of helping hands” for patrons and merchants alike.

Porter has been reported to increase merchants’ average ticket size by 20% and generate an average of 65% higher tips when compared with traditional counter service. It was selected by Square to help pilot the POS platform’s new Square Marketplace. And in 2020, Porter is beginning nationwide sales.