The south-west's family-run chain of Italian restaurants, Bottelino's, has reported that early trading in its eighth and latest venue, opened last August in Portishead on the outskirts of Bristol, has exceeded expectations.
Bottelino's owner and managing director, Mike Botta, puts this down to a winning formula of "Beautiful, fresh, traditional Italian food, supported by personal service and an efficient business infrastructure."
Whilst exceptional food and service have made for enduring appeal in what is now a third-generation enterprise, recent wise investments in contemporary technology have ensured that the business runs well. From some years, Bottelino's has partnered with specialist hospitality solutions company, Silver Eagle. Silver Eagle authors its own software, with the front-of-house and the back-office requirements of restaurants in mind.
In addition to enabling Bottelino's to automate the mainstream functions of taking orders and reconciling bills, Silver Eagle has bespoke-developed two pieces of software for them. The first is a 'timed office' function, which enables the restaurants to offer differential pricing according to the time of day, eg. pasta dishes are sold at the special price of 4.95 at certain times. This is integrated into the till software's accounting processes. The second function manages Bottelino's loyalty card scheme, which enables diners to purchase and use a card at any Bottelino's restaurant, in addition to having PC-based access to check balances and purchase goods from the www.bottelinosdeli.com online deli.
When it came to selecting the hardware that its software would run on, Silver Eagle recommended PC-based touchscreen EPoS tills from manufacturer J2 Retail Systems. Says Nick Tanner, Silver Eagle's sales director: "J2 stands out for reliability so we go with them every time. They're very competitive price-wise and, from a reliability point of view, they're absolutely brilliant. Plus their after-sales service is excellent."
Observes Bottelino's owner and managing director, Mike Botta: "I am not very IT-minded but I find our system very easy to use. For younger staff, it was like riding a bike, and it soon became second nature for our older staff who, at first, didn't want to change from pen and paper. Now they don't know how they lived without it! All our dishes are defined to touch buttons, so it's straightforward to find them on screen. We've needed minimal training."
Bottelino's has opted for J2's model 580 till, which offers different mounting options; some units are wall-mounted, others counter-mounted. "We like that flexibility if we are short of space, and it means we can position tills safely where waiting staff are running backwards and forwards."
The unit's aesthetics come in for praise too, as does it silent operation. "The tills blend in very well. They're practical, they're fast and they make our staff very accurate. Reliability has been good too. All in all, both software and hardware do the job and we are very happy," continues Botta.
He concludes: "Portishead is one of the UK's fastest growing towns; it has doubled in size in five years. We'd been looking to open another restaurant, and the opportunity arose for us to acquire a stunning site overlooking the marina. We can seat 150 diners inside, and a further 60 outside, all enjoying panoramic views. We have done very well here. Business has exceeded our best forecasts. Portishead has now become our flagship restaurant."