The restaurant: PizzaExpress
The EPoS system: Torex
Pizza Express and Torex finally tied the knot last year after a five-month pilot scheme in selected restaurants. Torex systems are now used in all 356 branches of Pizza Express in the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands and have been helping to streamline the ordering and billing process.
How’s the relationship developing?: Since it installed Torex’s system six months ago, Pizza Express reports reduced customer-waiting time for orders, and a faster turn-around for bills. This is because with the new system restaurants can run an ‘open table service’ which means any waiter can serve a table and add to, change or print a customer’s bill.
Before the new system was input, waiting staff also had to visit the kitchen to give the order, now orders are sent directly to kitchen and bar printers, reducing customer waiting time and minimising the chances of mistakes. Head Office can also keep better track of stock and cash information from each branch as it now receives data updates every 15 minutes.
Pizza Express says: Front-of-house staff have responded positively to the system, according to IT director John Sullivan because it means they spend less time processing orders and bills and more time serving customers.
“This was the largest IT project ever undertaken by PizzaExpress," he says, "and was delivered without disruption to business trade in some of the busiest weeks our restaurants have seen. The new system is also the platform for many other initiatives we are currently working on which will deliver significant business value."
Torex says: “The recession has hit the hospitality industry particularly hard, as such the need for technology that delivers an exceptional customer experience, while capturing essential sales and stock data, has never been greater," says VP Hospitality Steve Mansfield. "Torex has worked closely with Pizza Express to deliver a solution that will not only improve customer service, but will also provide flexibility when adapting to future business demands."
The hotel: New Forest Hotels
The EPoS system: J2 and Stevens Business Systems
Last year, upon completion of refurbishments and facility upgrades to its four hotels - The Bartley Lodge in Cadnam, The Forest Lodge in Lyndhurst, The Moorhill House in Burley and The Beaulieu Hotel near Lymington - New Forest Hotels decided it was time to upgrade their cash register systems too, so sought the help of Stevens Business Systems’ Operations Manager, Lee Drew, who suggested the J2 580 PC-based EPoS.
Ten terminals were installed in the bar and restaurant areas across the four hotels between March and September last year. They use ICR Touch software to run point-of-sale operations and are linked to the the front-office management system, SoftBrands’ PORTfolio PMS, and to back-office software which are installed at the group's head office, making the whole process more streamlined and more secure.
How's the relationship developing?:The system impressed the hotel's management instantly because the small terminals fitted seamlessly into the bar and restaurant areas. They are also silent and fanless, which are ideal for food preparation areas.
Fingerprint recognition on the tills offers added security, but is also used for staff sign-in which management says not only clarifies which members of staff are on duty, but also gives greater control over cash and reduced shrinkage.
Waiting staff say as the electronic system puts orders directly through to the kitchen they can spend more time front-of-house looking after guests and chefs say the system leaves less room for error with orders. The new system also prints bills more quickly than the old one.
New Forest Hotels says: “Once you get used to where the buttons are, the system is easy to use. There is less room for error, it is useful when you are recommending wine and it’s easier for the chefs to understand. At the end of service, the new system makes it more simple to charge meals or drinks to rooms,” says Jenny Withington general manager of The Beaulieu Hotel.
J2 and Stevens Business Systems says: “As hoped for, this new integrated technology solution has streamlined its operations and made its points-of-service more secure and visible. New Forest Hotels are an important and loyal client, so we’re pleased we’ve been able to help them to achieve the business improvement they were looking for,” says Drew.
The pub: The Glow Lounge
The EPoS system: AccuPOS
Clapham's relaxed bar The Glow Lounge decided to install an Epos system four years ago to help it keep up with an increase in trade and keep an eye on stock levels. The AccuPOS system was chosen for its suitability to small to medium size businesses, especially those offering a range of products (drinks and food) and because it could link in with the bar's accounting software.
How's the relationship developing?:
The Glow Lounge co-founder Bart Thomas says the fact that bar staff no longer have to remember prices of drinks or food means they can serve customers quicker and food orders go direct to the kitchen via a remote kitchen printer, lessening the room for error. However, it is the stock-tracking function that has been the biggest help to the business. With this function, the owners not only know when they need to re-order certain products, but can also see easily which drinks and dishes are proving popular and which aren't. "Other reports have allowed us to adjust our openings to maximise our revenue and not be open during quiet times,” adds Thomas.
The Glow Lounge says: "The solution has allowed us to concentrate on making the Glow Lounge the venue it is today without the usual headaches that come with running your own business," says Thomas.
AccuPOS says: "AccuPOS is ideal for both counter and full-service restaurants and bars that need to send orders through to an additional location, i.e. a kitchen or food preparation area. It may also be attractive to operators looking to cut bookkeeping costs."
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