Ranked in the top half of Yelp’s list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in the US for 2015, Kitchen Table Café has made quite the splash in its short time in the City Park West neighborhood of Denver.

Owner Dave Kilroy describes himself as a lover of great food and great service, and that is the exact reputation that he’s established for the business. The Denver restaurant is home to some of the most delicious Kansas-City barbeque, featuring all-natural meats and organic vegetables slow-cooked to perfection. Now in its second year, the midwest-inspired eatery has garnered more press and looks to continue its ascent as one of the top quick-service restaurants in the country.

We spoke with Dave to get his take on the growing Denver business scene, as well as the roles that technology and ShopKeep’s point of sale have played in the business, among other things. Check out the conversation below.

How would you describe Kitchen Table Café?

I’d describe it as a traditional, authentic Kansas City-style barbeque restaurant with a modern twist. Think of it as a barbeque spot with the old school recipes that you love, but running the show with modern technology.

Kitchen Table Café food

What’s it like running a small business in Denver at this time?

Denver is a great city with even better people, and it presents a lot of opportunities for business. The economy here is growing substantially and opening up many jobs. The small business market is booming, and while it has it challenges as well, I really enjoy it. Technology is also becoming big here, so weaving it into a traditional business like a restaurant makes a lot of sense at this time. Restaurant POS systems like ShopKeep are popping up more often and customers love it. For example, it’s become very common, and even preferred, to go paperless and not print receipts. People here prefer to go digital and save paper, as well as see cool new technology in small businesses.

What role has technology played in helping you run the business?

Technology is a huge reason that I have, and will continue, to be successful at my business. Yelp and Facebook have been utilized, almost exclusively, to drive customers to my business. If I had to guess, I’d say that almost 80% of my customers have come from these 2 sources, and that count continues to grow. A current PR campaign of mine is almost completely web-based. In the future, I’d like to add mobile and online ordering also.

From a simple dream, a shoe-string budget and leading technology, I have been able to build a restaurant that was ranked #37 on the “Top 100 places to eat in 2015” by Yelp – all in under 18 months. Shopkeep has helped us keep up with our large increase in demand. It’s scalability and ease of use mean that it will be around for years to come.

Kitchen Table Cafe

What do you like most about ShopKeep?

From a company standpoint, I love supporting the grassroots technology companies because you invest in your customers and are committed to continuous improvement. In the short time that I’ve used ShopKeep’s restaurant pos, I’ve already noticed all of the updates. In terms of the system, it’s allowed me to remove the servers, save space and cut energy costs, and I love that I can set everything up the way I want it. For example, color-coordinating our menu buttons to group entrees, sides, beverages, etc., has saved us so much time on each transaction and with training my employees.

What’s the hardest thing about starting a new business?

The hardest thing about owning a restaurant in the beginning is that it takes a while to establish good cash flow. It requires a lot of patience and dedication, and you have to have a positive outlook and passion for what you’re doing.What are some of the biggest challenges that you face now?

kitchen table cafe

What are some of the biggest challenges that you face now?

Well the restaurant business is difficult in many aspects. You’re dealing with dynamic personalities all of the time – with both the customers and your staff. Foodservice brings lots of different people to your doorstep so it’s just about adapting all of the time. You may encounter a doctor, policeman, teacher, restaurant employee and a child – all in one shift. It can be extremely stressful for some and exhilarating for others like myself. You have to be passionate about it to enjoy it.

About the Author

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate, and Head of Marketing at ShopKeep point of sale’s UK headquarters. Paul uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.