Etch, a 4Top Hospitality Group restaurant located in downtown Nashville, has welcomed guests for dinner dates, group gatherings, and private events since opening in 2012. By taking a quick glance at Etch’s Facebook reviews page, you will find five-star ratings from countless customers impressed by the delicious cuisine, incredible service, and proper sanitation procedures; a non-negotiable trait for restaurants in a COVID-19 world.
We spoke with Ali Gensert, Marketing Director for 4Top Hospitality, about what the guest experience looks like at Etch under normal circumstances and how Etch has adapted to the challenges COVID-19 has presented across the hospitality and events industry.
1. Tell us about the history, menu, and ambiance a guest would experience while dining at Etch? What makes it unique compared to other restaurants in the Nashville area?
Etch opened in 2012 in the ground floor of the Encore Tower in downtown Nashville. Featuring an eclectic menu from renowned Chef Deb Paquette, the cuisine at Etch boasts bold, global dishes inspired by Deb’s favorite spices and flavors from around the world.
The dining room is equipped with two private dining rooms, a full bar, and open kitchen with bar-style seating, allowing guests to interact with the culinary team throughout the meal. The warm, inviting atmosphere and prime downtown location provide the perfect landscape for enjoying business lunches, intimate dinners, group celebrations, and drinks before the concert or hockey game.
Our team is dedicated to providing a five-star experience to each and every guest, and look forward to remaining a staple of the Nashville scene for years to come!
2. Can you tell us how COVID-19 has impacted Etch? What strategies and initiatives have you used to bounce back throughout the pandemic?
Given our downtown location, we are seeing much less foot traffic and tourism than we typically do. Additionally, many nearby businesses have closed during this time.
After closing for a short period of time, we reopened our dining rooms and added a variety of options to make it easy and accessible for guests to enjoy our cuisine at home: free delivery to nearby hotels, packaged dessert and wine kits to bring home, family-style meals to go, and an online ordering option for curbside pickup and delivery.
We enhanced our existing cleaning measures and implemented social distancing in our dining room to safely serve guests that still want the true Etch experience. We’ve remained flexible and creative to pivot from a full-service, fine dining restaurant to meet the needs of our loyal guests.
3. Under normal circumstances, what does the private event scene look like at Etch? What has it looked like during COVID-19?
We offer two private dining spaces for business meetings, cocktail receptions, and seated dinners. Both rooms are adorned with warm, ambient lighting, semi-formal place settings, and frosted doors, separating the rooms from the main dining rooms.
The Intermezzo Room seats up to 12 guests and is best suited for smaller, intimate meetings and events. The Encore Room, located towards the back of the restaurant, accommodates up to 44 seated or 50 standing guests with a private bar and optional A/V setups.
During the COVID-19 restrictions, seating is far more limited to comply with local guidelines on seating capacity, and tables are set without glassware and silverware setups. Guests are brought rolled silverware and beverages upon ordering so as to not have items on the table that could be touched by multiple people. Receptions are not allowed at this time due to restrictions on mingling. We are currently only able to accommodate groups of 25 or less with a maximum of six guests per table, spaced 6 feet apart from one another.
4. How has Tripleseat helped you accomplish your goals during the pandemic? Did certain Tripleseat features specifically help even more now than before?
We actually made the switch from Gather to Tripleseat in May of 2020. It was perfectly timed because we were on the slower side (unfortunately), but that gave us the opportunity to master a new system.
The Tripleseat Social Hours (Tripleseat’s ongoing virtual roundtable series) were very helpful! Our team loved hearing the tips and tricks of what other states and restaurants have been doing so we could implement something similar at our sister restaurants in Nashville, Huntsville, and Memphis. We have also enjoyed the advanced reporting features. The ability to easily forecast and set attainable sales goals during this time has been fantastic!
5. What plans and strategies did Etch use for driving revenue during the 2020 holiday season?
While we still look forward to hosting groups on a smaller scale, we brainstormed other ways to reach our guests during this unprecedented season. We welcomed private dining groups based on the guidance of local authorities with proper party size capacities and social distancing measures in place.
Additionally, we offered customized virtual chef experiences and tailoring packaged meal and beverage kits based on the needs and wants of our guests. This allowed us to still be a part of celebrations in whatever way that suits our guests’ needs best.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Fall 2020 Issue of Seated magazine.