Flawless Demo Wins Wireless POS Contract
It wasn't an easy sell, but this Toronto VAR closed a large contract with a successful demonstration of its wireless product.
When in July of 2001 BizWiz Systems (Toronto) caught wind that a 9,000-square-foot club would be opening in Ontario, the Volante Systems VAR knew it had a potential wireless POS (point of sale) customer. With that much ground to cover, cocktail waitresses at the trendy new Monopoly nightclub (London, Ontario) would have their work cut out for them, and Takman Chow, partner at BizWiz, knew a handheld POS could help.
Don't Underestimate The Power Of The Demonstration
The first obstacle Chow faced was that Monopoly's management was leery of wireless POS. The group of entrepreneurs who opened Monopoly are all hospitality industry veterans who have seen their fair share of problems with wireless POS devices. Chow's second meeting with Monopoly included a demonstration of the Volante Systems software running on a Tesoro Pocket PC. After Chow set up a temporary Symbol Spectrum 24 remote access point in the club, the president and general manager of Monopoly escorted him through the front doors and across the establishment's parking lot. "Standing between me and the access point were about 600 feet and a concrete wall," said Chow. "The president looked at me and said, 'Prove that it works.'" Chow successfully sent several orders to the kitchen, alleviating the concern of the club's management. "Later, they told me that they planned on opening ground level and rooftop patios, so they needed to see that the wireless network would work from outside as well as indoors," Chow explained. He admitted that a rooftop patio may create the need for another access point in the future.
Chow competed with Maitre D', PixelPoint, Aloha, and Squirrel for the contract. He reports that other VARs in the running for the project also offered wireless handheld solutions, but contends that only BizWiz was able to execute the demonstration flawlessly.
It took three demonstrations with different levels of club personnel before Monopoly chose BizWiz to install the Volante system. Along with the software and two handhelds, Monopoly purchased nine POSIFLEX TP6000 integrated 15.1" and 12" terminals and had them installed at various fixed locations (bars and server stations) throughout the building. Chow says his explanation of the club's return helped close the deal on the initial two units Monopoly bought. The combined cost of software and hardware puts ownership of the handhelds at $2,500 per unit. Chow conservatively estimates the units have improved order taking efficiency to the tune of a $500 to $1,000 increase in sales per evening, or upwards of 50 additional drink orders per unit each night.
Ease Of Integration Helps, Too
Monopoly brought in BizWiz to train its staff of 80 bartenders, kitchen help, and wait staff on the units, a task Chow claims was made easier due to the young, technology-oriented staff. Within two weeks of the initial order, due to server demand and increased sales revenue, Monopoly requested two more handheld units from BizWiz. "Every cocktail waitress at Monopoly wants one, because when they're using it they can continually take drink orders. They're earning hundreds more in tips each night because they can hit so many more customers," Chow said.
Another selling point for BizWiz was Volante's integration of FreePour liquor control software. Each time a drink order is taken, FreePour translates the drink's recipe and creates a batch file that charts how much of each ingredient should have been used. At the end of the evening, bottles are weighed and a variance report is generated, revealing what was weighed versus what was keyed in. "With such a large server staff and so many bartenders, inventory control is a very important element to profitability," Chow added. "Focusing our pitch on this software helped us win the sale."
Chow cites growing pains common to new hospitality businesses as the most challenging aspect of the installation. "When you think about it, a new restaurant's management doesn't even know its own staff," he related. "Everyone is on a learning curve when it comes to understanding what the establishment wants to achieve operationally." Chow says that after it held several meetings to gain an understanding of how management wanted to run its business, BizWiz was able to tailor its solution and train the staff accordingly.
The Monopoly installation is a feather in Volante's cap because the club is using so many of the software's modules. The wireless POS, back office, table management, traditional POS, inventory, and labor scheduling programs at Monopoly are all branded by Volante. The club plans to begin a VIP card and customer discount program, opening the door for Chow to sell Volante's customer relationship database module as well.