There are bars with domestic beers, gluey nachos, and one glitchy TV that make you realize there’s a six-pack in the fridge at home (and more comfortable seats). Then, there are bars that redefine the term “bar,” stretching it to include giant ping pong, a pilates class, the movie Moana, and a build-your-own bloody mary bar. Armory, nicknamed “the arsenal of entertainment,” is the biggest bar in St. Louis—both in terms of its 250,000 square feet and its conception of what a bar can be. 

With 150 staff members and $50,000 in weekly food sales on average, Armory is larger than life. Equal parts bar and venue, Armory hosts large events of all types: live music, MMA fights, cornhole tournaments, and enough happy hours and DJ nights to keep partygoing St. Louisans busy all year long. Live entertainment brings guest traffic, and increased guest traffic puts demand on Armory’s tech. While the humble neighborhood watering hole might have one point-of-sale and 4 or 5 tables, Armory operates with 30 POS stations to accommodate their six bars. “Technology plays a big role in how fast we can serve our guests,” says Armory General Manager Anthony Matteo. Each Armory bar has a custom POS screen, so bartenders can only select from the items available at that specific bar. It’s a small feature that becomes a huge time-saver, considering bartenders are serving over a thousand customers on peak nights. 

Meeting guest demand also requires synchronicity on the back end. For Armory, that means the kitchen is churning out burgers, tacos, and the St. Louis classic fried ravioli without a hitch. A kitchen display system (KDS), integrated into the restaurant POS, helps ensure order accuracy and alleviates paper ticket-related chaos, helping cooks work faster and communicate more clearly. 

Cook at Armory in front of a KDS screen.
A kitchen display system (KDS) ensures accuracy and alleviates paper ticket chaos.
“What makes the KDS superior is the fact that you know how long an order has been waiting, as opposed to when someone throws a ticket on the expo line,” says Matteo. “If it’s blinking red at you, it’s time to go with that order.” 

Matteo has worked in kitchens his whole life, starting with his first dishwashing gig at 13. He’s seen every kind of server chicken scratch and all varieties of sauce smeared on order tickets. The ease and cleanliness (both visually and literally) of the KDS mean that even on a busy Saturday night when Armory is processing up to $50,000 in food, they see no sendbacks. 

An Amory bartender processes an order at the SpotOn POS station.
With a custom POS screen, bartenders can only select available items at that specific bar.

Armory’s high throughput is just the start. With 250,000 square feet of space, there is so much room for activities. For Armory’s patrons, that means unlimited permutations of fun. For Armory as a business, it means they can continue to adapt—hosting MMA fights one day, cornhole tournaments the next, and the next entertainment craze the day after that. Armory’s jam-packed schedule shows no signs of slowing down. “The venue isn’t finished,” says Matteo, “We’re opening a rooftop bar in the summertime, a disco roller rink in the basement, a Vegas-style nightclub, two event spaces, and a full pizza kitchen. And SpotOn will grow with us.”

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