The Sal Streamlines Operations with Support from Digital Main Street

Story by Nancy Saunders

Located on Thunder Bay’s Frederica Street in the heart of Westfort, The Sal—or Salsbury Grill— serves up classic diner-style favourites. Owned and operated by Aaron Gillingham, The Sal is a family-oriented operation with a 44 seat capacity. Since acquiring The Sal in 2017, Gillingham expanded the menu, hours of operation and overall capacity.

As a result of COVID-19, “The Sal has developed a new website and online ordering platform, started delivery and curbside service, opened a seasonal patio, implemented a digital restaurant based ordering software, and expanded merchandise for sale,” says Gillingham.

Touch Bistro, a restaurant software used for taking and processing orders, was purchased with funds from the Digital Main Street grant. Servers use iPad Minis to take orders that are sent directly to the kitchen printer, with transactions being stored and processed on a tablet that acts as a main processor. Implementing Touch Bistro brought many benefits to the way The Sal does business. “Ticket times dropped significantly, errors have been reduced, overall transaction efficiency has increased, and reporting is now available to quantify and analyze our sales,” says Gillingham.

Training opportunities provided by Digital Main Street show business owners how to choose and implement digital technologies and tools to grow and sustain their business and support their digital expansion. With focuses ranging from digital marketing to foundational technologies, the training provides free, easy-to-use self-learning tools that can be implemented right away to enhance business practices. “Never has it been more necessary to digitize your business. Overnight, every business operation had to change or pivot in order to survive. The Digital Main Street training was insightful and useful for implementing these new systems. We would like to continue to implement new systems that were introduced in the training program,” says Gillingham.