The decades-old Boston-based Lyons Group has nearly two dozen restaurants concepts including sports bars (Bleacher Bar, Game On), neighborhood hangs (Harvard Gardens, Lucky’s Lounge), and celebrated culinary destinations (Bar Enza, Scampo). With holdings this varied, making a big change with their reservation system required forethought. “Our biggest fear in changing systems is that we were not going to bring in the same revenue as we did in the past,” says Sam Alberts, purchasing director for the Lyons Group.
Deciding to Make the Switch
Although the group was hesitant to make the switch when first approached nearly two years prior, Alberts notes his mind was changed in part by the increasing number of Boston-area restaurants he saw using Resy. “It was about the volume and quality of restaurants on Resy locally,” he says. “There is a great mix of classic spots, like Toro and Oleana, plus the newest, hottest restaurants like Fox & the Knife, Contessa, Woods Hill Pier 4. They’re all on Resy.”
The group first began with Resy on a small scale in late 2021, discovering an optimal way to slowly transition from their previous reservation system. While waiting for their existing reservation contract to expire, Lyons Group opened their newest property, Bar Enza, using both the preexisting subscription and a new subscription to Resy. “You can have a thousand demos on a new platform, but they don’t matter really until you actually use it,” says Alberts. Hosts were trained on Resy’s system and then used it on the floor in real time by toggling between booked reservations on the old system and Resy, comparing the interfaces.
Alberts says, “We needed to control the dining room, to understand how to use the pacing settings. To really maximize every seat in the restaurant when we’re busy. Timing-wise, trying Resy with Bar Enza first worked out great.”
Good enough that at the start of 2022, the Lyons Group rolled the rest of the company’s properties over to Resy.
Alberts also sings the praises of Resy’s onboarding and support teams. Not only to get the group up-and-running over the past few months, but also by how they empowered Alberts himself. “Resy’s willingness to do anything we needed as a group has been great,” he says. “Personally, I’ve needed to master the back-end in case people have questions. The support team has helped me be an internal support for the group.”
In addition, SEO and marketing in general has been a recent focus for the Lyons Group, and Alberts notes the Resy team’s synergistic ability to help with that goal as well. “The Resy team has guided a lot of conversations with our SEO team and our marketing team. For example, we want Sonsie to be top of the brunch list if someone goes to Newbury Street,” he says, citing the group’s long standing Back Bay destination restaurant.
For the future, Alberts sees grand possibilities in how the Lyons Group could put other elements of the Resy experience to dynamic use. He first zeros in on the cross-property guestbook functionality. “Getting all of the guestbooks in one place is going to be great from a corporate standpoint,” he says. “Imagine the guests’ notes following diners across the restaurant group. If a person goes to Sonsie one day, then goes to Scampo the next week, the host can say ‘So good to see you again.’” That holistic approach can also apply to guests’ drink choices. “If we can keep track of people’s wine preferences, it could help our sommeliers provide an even better experience. There could be tremendous power in that.”
Likewise, Alberts sees great potential in the Resy Global Dining Access program. “Five of our restaurants are in that group. It puts us in front of a higher-end traveling clientele that our traditional marketing avenues wouldn’t get in front of. We’re just getting started with it.”
When asked if he would recommend Resy to another restaurant group, Alberts doesn’t hesitate. “At this point, I absolutely would. For many reasons: The caliber of restaurants that are choosing to go with Resy; the customer service. I was once a chef. I am somewhat of a discerning diner, and I spend a lot of time with the kinds of restaurants that are on Resy. If a restaurant wants to elevate their image, Resy puts you in the right group and conversation.”