Founded in 2004, Abokado was the brain child of husband and wife team Mark & Lindsay Lilley. Whilst honeymooning in Australia and enjoying freshly pressed juices and takeaway sushi that was not only fresh but also reasonably priced, they were inspired to bring the same healthy food philosophy back to London. Seven years on and seven stores later they have been recognised by Hardens Restaurant guide as being "A brilliant alternative to the lunchtime sandwich as well as better than Pret A Manger for food".
With rapid expansion plans in mind, Abokado needed an EPOS system that would grow with their business and provide management information and controls. The Symphony suite by MCR Systems was selected as the perfect fit for the business. The system was initially installed at the Euston station site. Mark comments "I was very impressed with the Symphony system as soon as I saw it. The thought of being able to access real-time sales information, and change menus and prices easily from wherever I am is a great benefit and saves so much time and effort. With our old systems we have to go round each store and change our menus on the tills manually. The stores also have to collate the reports manually and send them to head office. Symphony gets rid of all this manual work".
Symphony was again chosen for the new Broadway site, opposite New Scotland Yard. This was the first of the high street stores to install Symphony and has been a huge success. The speed of service through the SymPOS point of sale terminals provides a fast, efficient service. "We had our best ever opening day's sales, and the staff have taken to the tills instantly".
Integrated Chip + Pin
Another first for the chain is the introduction of integrated chip & pin terminals into the EPOS system. This has been another success and helped with speed of service, especially with the ability to take contactless payment which has increased significantly . Card transactions are automatically processed from the POS to the chip & pin terminal, saving time and negating mistakes. "Previously, we would have had to process the transaction through the till and then again through the chip & pin terminal. This often caused problems due to staff errors and the time it took to process transactions". The new system uses the broadband line to authorise card transactions. This not only speeds up the transaction time, but also saves money on phone lines and call charges.
The Symphony suite gives the Abokado team the flexibility & tools to help grow the business. Head office staff can control menu changes and all aspects of the till functions in all sites very easily. A product, price or till layout change is done once and affects all tills in all stores. They can even send changes to the tills mid service, so if there is a quick menu or price change needed, they don't have to wait to implement it. Real time reports are available to various members of the team wherever they are. "With the system being web based, I am able to view reports at the office, home or anywhere I have an internet connection. My team also have access, and the software is so flexible that different members of the team can access what they need to. For example, my store managers only see reports for their store. Head office staff have access to reports for all stores, but we are all working from the same database".
The true power of the system comes from the reporting engine that collates, filters and presents management information to all users. The digital dashboard allows users to view Key Performance Indicators that are relevant to them and provide a snapshot view of business activity. Mark comments "I am able to quickly view business performance across all stores, and importantly if there are any potential problems by viewing exceptions. I can also monitor staff activity and any mistakes they may be making, along with average spends, top sellers, hourly sales etc."
Another benefit for Abokado is MCR hosting the system for them. MCR take care of all aspects of data management, leaving the Abokado team to manage the business without the headache of any IT issues from their EPOS System. The system is future proof as any updates or new versions are automatically downloaded.
Abokado are now considered a leader in the market for healthy fast food. The number of stores is currently at 23 and they have aggressive expansion plans and with Symphony in place, this will make it easier to manage the business. Matthew Kemp of MCR comments "we are pleased to continue to work with Abokado, and as an expanding company it is essential they made the right choice of EPOS provider. MCR have the expertise and support structure in place meaning we can support their growth. We are delighted with the way they have embraced the power of Symphony and look forward to continue to help drive their business forward".