The Technology Behind North Texas’ Newest Entertainment District

Big Beat Dallas

Downtown and Uptown in Dallas has long been known as the place to go for a night out, but there is a new contender for hosting the best night out any day of the week.

Big Beat Dallas, a multi-venue destination that boasts five restaurants and bars surrounding the Texas Lottery Plaza in the middle of Toyota Music Factory in Irving, has already made its mark on the nightlife scene. With live music and happy hour specials every evening, Big Beat Dallas has all the makings of Texas’ own Las Vegas or New Orleans. Even more interesting than the front of house entertainment, food, and drink is the technology that makes the magic happen.

Photo credit: Chris Alvarado

Launch DFW sat down with Daniel Halseth, the CIO/CTO consultant at Big Beat Dallas, to discuss the ins and outs of what keeps the venues rocking and the drinks pouring.

What does a daily planning meeting look like when there is no “off” shift?

I think the team (Jake Thompson, director of marketing) does a good job of planning out events that are coming for the month. For instance this month, there is a beer and bratswurst event, the Cinco de Derby is coming up in May. So they do a good job of putting their heads together and talking about programming, what’s going to attract people of different backgrounds and ages that would want to come.

What can they do that’s a little different than other Cinco de Mayo events, not just a margarita promotion but what more can we do.

What is the relationship between Big Beat and Toyota Music Factory? Is there a beginning and an ending or is it intermingled?

We’re the nonstop activity for the property premise. When people thought before it was just the Irving towers and the Irving Convention Center, now there is this space where you have Live Nation and their concert schedule for the Pavillion. On top of it, they know that Big Beat is the nonstop entertainment. Our operational status is usually a Monday morning 9 a.m. to set the stage for all the different schedules and shifts across each of our teams and departments. Then the marketing point is really scheduled out by concept, by local events, by community and what really blends and brings this special sauce to each audience. It’s pretty spectacular.

Martini Ranch (Dinner, Drinks, Dancing), one of the restaurant concepts at Big Beat Dallas. Photo credit, Chris Alvarado.
Highway 61 (Blues, Bourbon, Burgers, BBQ), one of the restaurant concepts at Big Beat Dallas. Photo credit, Chris Alvarado.

I look at the digital as well, because I have a digital marketing background, to see the different audiences and how they connect.

Can you conceptually break down the restaurants and music spaces within Big Beat Dallas?

You could almost think of it like Photoshop, where you have the layers. Within Big Beat Dallas, we break it out into sandboxes in digital which is where we have the messages customized around each of our concepts and our live stages. It’s the five-star chefs and the different cuisines of each space, and the audiences that blend with each of those concepts and how to reach them and target them on ad search and marketing campaigns.

“It’s like a digital Disneyland.”

How did you prepare for the hardware you would need?

Everything was driven from point of sale. Point of sale hardware on Oracle, Wi-Fi capacity for social activity and activation on the plaza, and then scalability from data sources like TV and media, sound and broadcast and livestream counterparts, and servers that would allow me to the research to connect both the buildings with local and international scalability. Also it was important that we could run an infrastructure from here that would allow us to scale to future cities as a brand. We want to be able to launch our template from here and look at how we could go to future cities and drop in hardware and instantly connect with the mothership if you will.

From a staffing perspective, to take all the trends of communication…the one I embraced was Workplace by Facebook, which is enterprise secure encrypted network that is Facebook but without being public. I took a cue from Starbucks and other Fortune 500 companies to allow our baristas and mixologists to be able to train a recipe change or chef change within video or live stream internally and then be able to share, showcase, or tweak that and apply polling within the company so that we could streamline whatever we’re changing within the company.

By the Numbers: Big Beat Dallas Central Tap System

Big Beat Dallas Tap System
Photo courtesy of Big Beat Dallas

Rather than provide individual kegs for each restaurant concept, Big Beat Dallas features a central tap system piped into each space. With 31 beers, that’s a LOT of beverage. Here are the numbers behind the system.

  • 150,000 – ounces of craft, domestic, and imported beers housed at Big Beat Dallas (the venue has a max capacity of more than 250,000 ounces of draft beer onsite while maintaining the highest quality conditions for the best tasting beer).
  • 125, 210, 385 – amount of piping (in feet) that connects Highway 61, Bar Manzanilla, and Martini Ranch, respectively, to the central tap system.
  • 12-14 – pounds of pressure needed to dispense via the pump method. Big Beat Dallas restaurants use beer pumps to “pump” the beer instead of the traditional use of CO2 pressure to “push” the beer. In a traditional push system, bartenders have to apply higher CO2 pressure to keg to move beer from keg to faucet (up to 28 pounds), which leads to over-carbonation of the keg.
  • 37 – degrees at which beverages are kept constantly. Cooler temperatures and draft beer flow data are monitored and collected in real time using BevChek, the global leader in draft beer technology. Managers can get text message alerts in real-time if cooler temperatures fall out of optimal serving ranges. Similar to a gas pump, flow meters inside the beer lines record customized data, which is then linked to their point-of-sale system to provide information needed to create the best guest experience.

To see the live music schedule and learn more about restaurant concepts, visit Big Beat Dallas.

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