Sunderland-based Gill's Fry Fry has been run by a local family for 40 years. Today, the business combines traditional service standards with high-quality food and state-of-the-art technology.
Its four shops boast the most advanced cooking equipment and comprehensive software, equipping them to serve award-winning fish and chips and other hot dishes swiftly, securely and in tip-top condition. From online ordering and a smart 'phone app', to high-end environments for staff and customers, Gills Fry Fry has introduced standards that take fast food service to new levels.
Four years ago, owner Dave Gill decided to extend operations to include home deliveries. He engaged with an EPoS solutions provider that could take the business to its next level, managing both a counter-based and delivered service.
Home deliveries demand a new business model: staff trained to take telephone orders, kitchen and shop processes to manage timings and deliver food hot and in good condition, drivers to be managed and more complex day-end cashing up. Every element needs controlling and information produced on how well it's working.
Explains Geoff Whittle of solutions provider Integer: "Dave Gill needed an EPoS system that would run his shops and deliveries without missing a beat. Our system is targeted to delivery so was a good match. Plus we're well known in this sector and could reference many local users."
In 2011 saw the rollout of the first Integer and J2 system. A year later a new 'head office' shop opened at Town End Farm, and this now runs with seven J2 630TFR terminals. There are two further locations, all of which have multi-line kitchens split into fryer, kebab and pizza sections.
Gill's Fry Fry's technology encompasses counter-based EPoS, online orders, telephone orders and smartphone orders. It streamlines shop service and home deliveries and provides a process backbone. Importantly too, it enables Dave Gill to easily control this multi-site business at all times.
- With EPoS linked to the kitchen, orders are freshly cooked in minutes, giving the business a competitive edge;
- Thanks to smart functionality, telephone orders take only seconds as customer details are already available;
- The new system encompasses counter, telephone and online orders, generating incremental business without extra effort;
- Management control comes from being able to monitor the activity of every till and delivery at any time, from anywhere;
- The system's ease of use and time recording make staff more motivated, productive and less costly to employ;
- Because the system links orders placed with what is cooked, till shrinkage has reduced and profitability is up.
A point of difference for Gill's is cooking fresh food fast. Explains Dave Gill: "Many shops pre-cook in the hope customers will come in but in quiet periods the food dries out and quality suffers. As soon as we take an order, our EPoS sends a signal to the fryer and we cook everything to order in 5 minutes. Food this fresh has given us an excellent name, even in an area with lots of competition. The system must take a lot of credit for this."
Speedy telephone orders
Integer has developed some clever data look-up functionality. "Now before we even pick up the 'phone the customer's address displays on the terminal. It used to take 2 minutes to take a telephone order, now we can do it in 30 seconds. This looks very professional and stuns the customers."
Managing multichannel orders
Integer has bespoke-developed a smartphone and tablet app' for the business, enabling it to keep front-of-mind on customer devices by providing menus, shop locations and opening times. "Integer manages our on-line orders for us, 30% of which come from our mobile app'."
Control at anytime, anywhere
At the end of each evening, it used to be difficult to track down who had delivered what, where. "This system takes care of all of that," comments Gill. "Now the system emails me reports so I keep on top of everything and see where the drivers have been. I can log in remotely from head office or my mobile so don't have to be on site, ideal when you have multiple shops."
Increased staff productivity
"The tills are straight forward and user-friendly. If my staff can use a mobile they can use this system." Staff time recording has improved too. In the past, late arrivals were not accounted for. "Our new system controls log-in and log-out, so staff race to get to the shop on time. They also log-out and log-in for breaks. Thanks to the system I'm controlling my staff and getting better productivity."
Reduced shrinkage & increased profitability
The new system reconciles payments with orders. "We deal with a lot of cash and were finding staff giving away food. They might note down items such as extra pizza toppings but not always charge for them. Now we have a closed loop system - customers pay for every item entered into the till otherwise it won't send a message to the kitchen to cook them. If we want to give, say, a free topping, the system asks for a password that only managers have".
In countless ways, the new Integer and J2 system has made Gill's Fry Fry a more profitable, tightly-run and customer-focused business. Concludes Dave Gill: "Integer look after us well. Other fish and chip shop owners come to see our system and I'm happy to recommend what I use."