Upmarket espresso and wine bar chain Artigiano has this month celebrated two years since its launch, at the same time opening its fifth location. In March 2013, the business chose St Paul's, London as it first venue. Early expansion saw it open at the end of that year in Exeter. Reading followed a year later and then two venues in Cardiff in early 2015.
On the subject of technology, Operations Manager Mike Keough explains that the new business opened with a custom-built EPoS solution. "It seemed a good idea but it soon became clear this was not the right system for us. By the time we'd been trading a year, we could tell it was holding us back."
Once time and budget became available, Keough went to the market to source a replacement. "I looked at lots of systems and evaluated them against the particular needs of the Artigiano business. TISSL came out as the clear winner."
The TISSL solution was first rolled out in October 2014. It comprises EPoS, Head Office Enterprise, Chip & PIN and contactless payment support, plus integration with Fourth Analytics. The software runs on PC-based touchscreen EPoS terminals.
As for the reasons for selecting TISSL, Mike Keough states that an integrated PDQ system for Chip & PIN transactions was critical. "TISSL integrates with Barclaycard, which is ideal as they are our merchant services provider."
He continues: "Something unique to us is that our coffees are made to order by a barista, operating separately from the main till. So we need to have our coffee orders communicated to a barista screen, not just to a dispense printer. Very few systems do this but TISSL does."
Artigiano was already using software from Fourth for stock management and ordering, and for staff payroll and rotas. "Fourth told us TISSL was a really good company to work with and that's proved to be the case. We've taken TISSL's integration with Fourth Analytics and it works really well. We're aware TISSL is the only company to have a POS feed into Fourth Analytics so we're fortunate to have this."
When TISSL demonstrated its system, the Artigiano team felt both software and hardware were "the nicest" they'd seen. "We like the navigation and the responsiveness of the hardware. Compared to what we had before, TISSL is slicker and more streamlined. It's just what a fast-paced service business such as ours needs to keep queues short and customers happy."
Shop managers value the fact that the hardware supports fingerprint recognition. "Staff can always borrow a PIN or a key fob from a colleague but fingerprint login is unique and completely secure. It means we can track precisely which servers are doing which transactions."
Reporting was, not surprisingly, another deciding factor. "We wanted really useful data which wasn't currently available to us." Today, each manager uses TISSL for day-end reports, looking at department sales, cash-overs, cash shorts and discrepancies. The system also displays employee time-card data. Exporting monthly data to the company accountant monthly is easy, observes Keough. "The back-office enterprise system produces good hard data which, when linked into Fourth Analytics, gives us something really useful."
"A challenge for our business is sustaining trade from early morning to late at night, bridging the change from coffee bar to wine bar. We're taking TISSL's integration with Ecrebo Loyalty and we're excited to have found a low-cost solution that's ideal for us. We believe loyalty vouchers will be a great way to get out the message that we're an all-day business and encourage coffee drinkers to come back in the evening for a beer or glass of wine, and listen to some music."
Observes Mike Keough: "Moving to TISSL was a pre-emptive strike for growth. That's very much why we chose its enterprise system, which can help us manage group operations. We've already proved with our latest opening in Cardiff how fast and seamless it is to roll out TISSL to a new business. This week's installation went without a hitch, so we feel in TISSL we have a growth-friendly infrastructure."
"We feel very lucky to have chosen TISSL. In particular, the integrations with Fourth and Barclays are a real godsend, plus TISSL is a nice company to deal with. Working with TISSL is a very personal experience and you feel it's a company you can grow with," he concludes.