After two decades, Britannia Pub made the switch to a new service model. Their only regret was not making the switch sooner


Venue type




Located on historic Route 66 in the heart of Santa Monica, The Britannia Pub, affectionately known as ‘The Brit’ by locals, has been a cherished fixture of the promenade for over 20 years. It comes by no surprise, with its vibrant atmosphere, this British-style sports bar caters to a diverse clientele, from loyal regulars to passionate sports fans and enthusiasts of live entertainment. Whether it’s cheering on their favorite teams, belting out tunes at karaoke nights, or enjoying live music and comedy shows, patrons of The Brit find themselves immersed in a dynamic and welcoming environment.


When Britannia Pub was first introduced to Union, they were immediately intrigued by Union’s Guest-Led service model, which enables guests to order and pay via their personal device. As a sports bar, they often faced overwhelming crowds during games, leading to challenges in serving everyone efficiently. The post-game rush to close out tabs always exacerbated the situation, causing bottlenecks and frustration for both guests and staff. With a guest-led service model, guests can pay and tip on their own terms without having to wait on staff. For Britannia, the idea of streamlining the payment process and avoiding the chaos of handling physical credit cards was more than appealing.

The management team wasn’t quite ready to make the switch, and took some time to think about the decision. A week later, their POS system at the time abruptly failed, threatening to shut down their business. 

"Within a week our system completely shut down. It just did not work anymore. So I called Union and said, ‘can we put a rush on this?’ And they did!"

They immediately called Union and said it was time to make the switch. Union’s local team provided in-person support and installation, ensuring a seamless transition so that Britannia Pub could continue operating without interruption. It was no more than two weeks after their POS failed that they were set-up and operating with their own guest-led service model.

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

With over two decades of experience, Britannia Pub thought they had seen it all, until learning about a guest-led service model. One would think that this change might have taken some time to get comfortable, but it was quite the opposite. Despite it being a completely new system, Britannia was quick to adopt their new ways of operating.

“There are so many aspects to choose from, but I’d say the best feature about Union is that it’s just so user friendly. In every aspect. From putting an order in to reading a report. It’s just so simple.”

Britannia’s first test came a few months after installation, when Philadelphia sports teams coincided their games into one action-packed weekend. As the Brit is an official Eagles bar, they attract Philadelphia fans from all over. This specific Saturday involved rivalry football and playoff baseball for Philadelphia, and with it, a massive influx of fans that caught Britannia off-guard. With only 4 staff members, they watched as more than 2.5 times their normal customer volume rolled in, filling every inch of the bar with hyped up supporters. 

“We got absolutely overrun. There was footage of it and everything. People were standing all the way into the street, trying to get in. I even looked into getting security because I was worried about all the people.”

With their new service model in place, all a guest had to do was scan a QR code, allowing them to easily open a tab and order their food and drinks. To accommodate everyone, Britannia’s strategy consisted of two bartenders managing drink orders, making drink after drink, while the other two staff members handled the floor and food orders. Whenever an order was ready, staff would simply notify guests through the POS to come pick it up, alleviating the burden of having to deliver orders. Finally, once the game finished and the overwhelming number of guests wanted to close out and leave all at the same time, they simply did, without any assistance from staff. A time that normally caused all of Britannia’s nightmares quickly became the easiest part of the experience.


The proof was in the numbers for Britannia Pub. When examining the difference between check sizes that day for guests who utilized their guest-led model versus ones who didn’t, they found a 126% increase in check size that were guest-led. 

For Britannia, this only validated what they had come to see with a guest-led service model; when guests don’t have to wait on staff to order and pay, they spend more and leave happier. Though the day presented its challenges, Britannia Pub navigated their busiest day in history, thanks to the support and reliability of their new innovative service model.

"The guest-led service model was the only reason we were able to cope that day. You wouldn’t have been able to serve that many people without it, it would’ve been impossible.”

“This is your new best friend”

After installation, the staff at Britannia Pub were quick with questions, wondering if the perceived lack of personal interaction with a guest-led service model would affect their tips. Their fear being that if they let guests order and pay when they want, then they would have less interaction with them, resulting in lower tips and a cold environment in the bar. However, they quickly realized that the opposite was true. With the burden of taking orders and payments now lifted, this granted staff more time to focus on providing attentive and personalized service.

“I told the servers it actually gives you more time to talk to your customers. Now when a guest places an order, you just need to deliver it without any errors, and that is the perfect time to engage with them.”

Again, the proof was in the numbers for Britannia. After the first two weeks of using the new system, Sonia, the manager at Britannia Pub, took the initiative to share tip data with her staff. She showed that during major sporting events, they had around 50% of guests using the app to order and pay. Of those tabs, staff always received a 20% tip or higher. 

“I showed the staff that we had around 50% of people use the app, and they never got lower than a 20% tip. Whereas before, you would have people leave much lower tips because they were waiting forever to get their checks and orders. After I showed them that, the staff were immediately bought in”

This transparency changed the staff’s perception, demonstrating that they were still earning tips despite the shift in service model. As a result, the staff fully embraced the new system, becoming strong advocates for its benefits. Now, they proactively inform customers about how to use the QR code and navigate them through the system if needed, using their freed up time to consistently check-in with guests. Overall, the staff’s complete buy-in has been instrumental in the successful implementation of Britannia Pub’s guest-led service model. 

“Now the staff embrace it, they all know how it works. Whenever we sit down with a new hire we say ‘this is your new best friend,’ and show them the system. Everyone loves it.”

With this blessing, also comes a curse

With over two decades of providing exceptional service and hospitality to customers, Britannia pub has ushered in a new era with help from their new service model. The impact has been so influential that they now find themselves unable to imagine going back to their old ways. However, they have also realized that with this blessing also comes a curse. For now whenever they visit another venue and witness their previous traditional service model in action, they can’t help but think of how archaic it is, getting impatient over something as accepted as waiting for your check. Upon reflecting on their journey, they’re only regret is not making the switch sooner.

“It’s actually mind blowing to me now how you could ever go back. It really is. Because it’s just so easy, anyone who’s not using it I look at them thinking, ‘wow, this is just so old school.’”

Want to learn more about Union's Guest-Led service model?

Click the link and learn how Union can help grow your business