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How small changes and calculated risks became Tap & Barrel’s recipe for success

Now with seven locations in B.C., CEO Daniel Frankel talks about how his strategy of supporting local has made his restaurant chain the largest purchaser of craft beer in the province, and primed the company for expansion across Canada

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Brewing up local support

“The name Tap & Barrel really stemmed from wanting to have everything on tap. All of our beverage program came from the barrel. We want to eradicate bottles, all together.

Tap & Barrel was born out of me putting everything that’s important to me in one basket. So that was supporting local, environmental stewardship, creating strong partnerships and building with reclaimed and repurposed materials. [We wanted to] create that third space, that home away from home was very important [to us].”

Minding the small changes

“We obsess over incremental improvements— the Japanese call that Kaizen: small incremental improvements that have a compounded effect and that will just make us so much stronger at the end of the day. Opening a location 200 meters away from our flagship store in Vancouver’s Olympic Village, I didn’t take that lightly. The thought process there was centered around [figuring out] how do we do this in such a fashion that we don’t completely cannibalize our existing core business.

We looked at [the newly opened Brewhall] property as an opportunity to address a lot of the issues we were contemplating and where we wanted to experiment. We didn’t want to compete with all our purveyors because we are the largest purchaser of craft beer in B.C. And we are very proud of being a platform for showcasing local product. So instead of competing with them we decided, “Let’s be a collaboration brewery and bring them in to co-brew.” The success has been nothing short of spectacular.”

Next move

“[Now with seven locations in B.C.] we want to keep going. We feel that there needs to be a Tap & Barrel in every community. Certainly, across the country and even beyond. “

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.



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