Touch Screen Installation Brings VAR New Clients, On The House
A daylong touch screen installation at a 40,000-square-foot nightclub brings POS (point of sale) VAR $35,000 and the promise of new clients.
Despite the popularity of touch screens in the hospitality vertical, opportunities still remain for POS VARs in this market. This was apparent when VAR Dan Good of A&G Cash Register, Inc. (Lima, OH), was called in to a cash register-ran 40,000-square-foot nightclub 75 miles from A&G's headquarters. This size POS installation would be larger than any other performed by A&G. Good accepted the challenge and turned this strip mall-size nightclub into a $35,000 job in just a day.
Touch Screens Speed Sales Cycle
The nightclub came to A&G after reviewing a demonstration of Future POS Software at a trade show. The nightclub contacted A&G shortly afterward because it was the only reseller of Future POS Software in the area. At the time the club used four electronic cash registers for POS transactions. With thousands of square feet of ground to cover, the 35 employees could not keep up with the customers' orders. Without the right software, it became impossible to track the club's inventory, which is composed primarily of alcohol. Another problem was customer wait time, making it necessary for a new system to help speed service.
The nightclub had the typical problems of any business in the hospitality industry without an automated system: difficulty tracking inventory and difficulties offering customers speedy service. What was atypical for A&G was the size of the installation. Good installed 9 Dell GX50 with 1.0 GHz, Celeron Processors, 9 Epson TM-T88 thermal receipt printers, 3 Epson TM-U200 dot matrix kitchen/bar printers, Future POS Software Keys, and 9 L5CDS flat panel touch screens from Tatung Co. "Speed and ease of use were a priority for the club. After demonstrating how the system would operate in a real-life scenario, A&G was able to show the nightclub quantifiable benefits. The touch screens aided in the final decision because of their speed and large graphics on the interface," Good said. For example, the 15-inch Tatung monitors offer a response time of 3 milliseconds, and large interface graphics that can be easily accessed. The total sales cycle lasted three weeks.
Overcome Integration Obstacles
"Running the network cables was the most challenging part of the install. Because we had so many terminals, we wanted the hub in the center of the building, which happened to be right above the dance floor," Good remarked. "The last thing we wanted, once the primary installation was over, was to be up in the ceiling on a Friday night trying to troubleshoot the hub." To avoid this scenario, the hub was placed in a back office. This adjustment required longer Category 5 cables than A&G had. The 100-foot cable Good typically used for this type of installation was not long enough, so 200-foot cable had to be used. Since Good did not have immediate access to this length of cable, the install took an extra 2 to 3 hours.
Despite the brief setback, the nightclub was able to run the system in just one day. Training for employees, including managers, took three hours and the quick service menu was set up in about two. As a result of the installation, the club is able to track inventory item-by-item, minute-by-minute. A feature that updates inventory in real time, every time an item is ordered, makes this possible. Inventory totals are displayed on the touch screen monitors, making inventory verification a one-step process. Inventory can also be accessed by the manager in the back office. These features have increased accuracy when it comes to calculating inventory and taking orders. Customers' wait time has also been reduced because if the nightclub is out of an item it is displayed on the touch screen monitors. Orders are filled more efficiently because now the system takes care of directing the information to the right printer whether it's in the bar or the kitchen.
A&G completed a similar installation since this one at a restaurant in Bellefontaine, OH. Good says because of the minimum amount of service these systems require, A&G is able to take on clients that reside up to 150 miles away from the company's headquarters. A&G is currently working with the nightclub to implement similar systems in other hospitality POS environments.