Investing in technology to help deliver a 44% increase in turnover!

The Coach House Inn, bar and restaurant is located in the heart of The North York Moors National Park in the small moorland village of Rosedale Abbey, a remote location with limited access to the types of services enjoyed in most parts of the country.

When we took over the inn they were using a very basic cash register that must have been at least 20 years old. There were three product selections available, drinks, food and bar snacks, staff had to either calculate the costs in their head or ring in each value manually. The week’s takings never matched the till summary and from a management perspective we had no real idea of what products we were selling.

Whilst a low tech existence in a remote rural location has a certain romance to it, walking in on the manager covered in reams of till paper trying to work out why he was over £500 down on takings, made us realise that changes had to be made.

We chose to install a stylish MePOS tablet based electronic till system using Tablet Cash Register Software from Smart Volution, supplied by Secure Retail. We invested in a very cost effective line of site Wi-Fi connection supplied by Moorsweb, as locally the landline broadband connection runs at 1.8Mbps at best, enabling us to make full use of the hardware and software, as well as providing our customers with access to free Wi-Fi.

Our staff range from 16 to 73 years in age and they all adapted very quickly to the software, which makes the use of pictures for product selection, and of course whatever your age, the use of tablets is second nature. The Smart Volution software comes with a full, on unit, training package which helped us get started, but in reality the staff were happy to use it straight away and were fully operational within one work shift.

To say that the system has revolutionised our business is absolutely no exaggeration. The stock management system has allowed us to manage stock levels more efficiently, as well as speeding up the weekly ordering process. We can easily establish margins by recording the buy and sell prices, and calculating waste from barrel and spirit bottle sales has helped us to pin point where we need to invest to help maximise our profitability.

We quickly managed to establish, much to everyone’s surprise, that our bar side coffee machine was loss making. Whilst the sale price was right to enable us to compete with other local businesses, the volume of sales, coupled with the cost of the lease and ingredients, just did not make economic sense. We have now replaced the machine with a more cost effective solution.

The measure and waste management software has helped us identify that beer lines running from our cellar were leaking, so have since been replaced. We have significantly managed to reduce wastage and most importantly, we can continually monitor our performance to help us make the right product selections. Astonishingly, line cleaning aside, we have managed to achieve less that one pint wastage on some of our locally sourced real ales, with similar high performance on other beers, lagers and ciders. This has only been possible, and quite frankly we would not really have had a clue, without our register software.

The MePOS allows us to take orders and payment at table and at busy times, the sight of staff queueing to record their sales is long gone. In busy times for our business, during the peak summer months, can involve taking well over 100 covers in just a couple of hours.

The latest technology advancement in our bar area is Electronic Shelf Edge Labels (ESLs), our bar is rather small and has to display multiple products. We assessed the products that needed additional support to help get the message that we wanted to make across to our customers. This ranged from product pricing, product availability and temperature condition. The results were instant, for example we had struggled to sell our range of bottled beers, just by indicating to our customers that they were very reasonably priced and served at cellar temperature, we have managed to increase both sales of the product and improved customer retention by introducing them to a wider range of Yorkshire real ales.

Probably the most important aspect from an owner’s perspective is that I can keep in touch with the operation of the business from wherever I am, using my mobile phone to view live sales’ data. The Smart Volution Tablet Cash Register Software is a system that is eminently scalable to encompass multiple sales outlets, the reporting suite is excellent and overall I would have no hesitation in recommending it to business’ both large and small operating in any retail sector.

David, Owner of The Coach House in Rosedale Abbey, North Yorkshire.