The Courtesan Dim Sum Bar, which recently opened to rave reviews, has gained flexible control over its diverse food and drinks menu using the latest till technology
Opened just six months ago, The Courtesan Dim Sum Bar
in Brixton has fast become a magnet for those living South of the River Thames who enjoy authentic Cantonese Dim Sum, accompanied with an exciting fusion of flavours acquired from across the UK capital.
Behind the venture is new restaurateur, Hammant Patel Villa, who commented: “We simply acted on a gap in the market by creating an innovative and modern Dim Sum experience. As you would expect, with over 50 fresh dishes on order from the menu and new additions and enhancements added each day as we expand the experience, we are quite demanding from what we need from our accounting and ordering terminals."
Future-proofed IT investment
A relative newcomer to the London restaurant trade, with a previous career in IT, Hammant knew that flexible and future-proofed systems would be key to both initial and ongoing success. As such, when it came to procurement of three new tills – for the bar, private function room and main restaurant serving area – he added: “Searches I made on the internet quickly revealed that the functionality I needed seemed to be the reserve for high-end EPoS [electronic point-of-sale] systems with big price tickets, but with no user interface and heavy installation and ongoing maintenance overheads.”
Unhappy with having to settle for a large and cumbersome PC-based EPoS system, Hammant noticed that Casio had launched an ‘alternative EPoS technology running on the Android Platform,’ according to its marketing, within its new Casio V-R100 EPoS
system. Marketed specifically for small businesses to gain the maximum momentum out of their restaurants and catering outlets as the first EPoS in the world to run on the Android smartphone platform, Hammant called Casio to confirm the marketing claims and was pleased with its affordability.
The order for three Casio V-R100s was placed prior to Courtesan’s opening. Hammant noted: “Ordering the Casio V-R100 meant that we had just opened the restaurant up to fields of possibilities with all the applications of the Android platform available at our fingertips. With new apps being added each day, our investment was future proofed and we could grow and add apps as fast as we liked. Suddenly, in quiet times, staff could access the internet and social networking sites, and we are able to read reviews and even respond to requests made in the social community, like requesting tables over Twitter.”
Suitable interface and hardware
Restaurant staff were quickly trained on the system in order to get to grips with the large, colour 10.4-inch adjustable colour touchscreen, which also allows management to quickly add specials and flag new dishes. At the weekends, when the bar area can be busy, inevitably spills occur, but the V-R100 is designed to be splash-proof within a compact rugged casing.
Printing from till to bar to kitchen has also been put in place, positively effecting productivity between the workspaces. Hammant said: “As we are in our first year, our understanding of effective workplaces and positioning areas is evolving. What we enjoy with the V-R100 terminals is total flexibility in changing or adding another printer available on the (wireless) network. For the V-R100’s low-level entry price point, that’s a pretty nice feature and has formalised the ordering procedure so that there can be no mistaking which customer wants what, and in which order.”
Courtesan has also been developing an innovative drinks menu and Hammant can now track popularity of individual drinks and monitor the flow of drinks orders between the three parts of the restaurant. The Casio V-R100’s intelligent order engine can not only highlight the popularity of drinks profiles but, if required, can also anticipate ordering based on previous transactional takings.
Streamlining process efficiency
Further efficiencies that add to the bottom line can be considered when energy savings are considered in the mix. The Casio V-R100 demonstrates significant energy savings of typically 85% electricity savings against traditional EPoS systems. Hammant said he particularly liked the fact that, along with this saving, there are no noisy fans to distract from the relaxed ambiance the restaurant aims to offer.
Hammant is also keen to also expand use the V-R100 systems for email and SMS marketing to existing and new customers. “Restaurant marketing has changed dramatically in the past few years. We used to rely on footfall to attract new customers. But now, with the power of the internet and platforms such as Android, we literally have the power at our fingertips on the restaurant tills to create and manage a community of customers and offer them promotions. The advances are literally revolutionary.”