Mecca Bingo, part of European gambling and leisure business The Rank Group, has completed a significant systems upgrade as part of its evolution towards more advanced technology across its 93 bingo clubs. Over a 6-month period, solutions provider MCR Systems - with whom Mecca Bingo has partnered for 8 years, took an estate-wide project from initial pilot to final deployment. The project has covered two elements:
- The first-time installation at 17 clubs of 88 PC-based touchscreen terminals manufactured by MCR partner J2 Retail Systems. J2 630 terminals running MCR's SymPOS operating environment have been chosen;
- At these and the remaining 76 clubs, the latest versions of MCR's Symphony Enterprise and Stock Manager solutions have been deployed.
A phased roll-out ensured all key system users had comprehensive training prior to each club's go-live, with 4-5 clubs being deployed weekly. The intuitive design of Symphony and SymPOS meant users were quickly operating the system confidently, capturing accurate data from the outset and immediately delivering benefit to Mecca in the form of opening stock-takes, real-time stock depletion and full audibility of stock and cash movements.
David MacIntyre is F&B EPOS Manager for Mecca Bingo. He explains: "Our move to J2 hardware was prompted by a number of factors. The J2s give us more capability and flexibility when it comes to menu design. We felt too that we needed to move to an emerging and innovative IT platform. More and more of our customer solutions involve IT so it makes sense to future-proof the business by putting in advanced units with greater compatibility."
The J2 630 touchscreen tills have a sleek, modern appearance. Use of solid state drives eliminates moving parts and improves reliability and robustness. The new tills are highly configurable. Staff log on using a unique fob key, which improves security and provides Mecca with valuable sales information by staff member. An unlimited number of staff can use the tills concurrently without speed of service being compromised.
"We're aiming to achieve a single hardware solution across our business," continues MacIntyre. "Whilst we still have older Uniwell units in the majority of clubs, I can see the potential of the J2s I'm very excited about a future when all our clubs have J2s with a standard customer interface. I can see huge potential."
In the meantime, David MacIntyre is making Mecca Bingo's IT team and project stakeholders aware of J2 functionality that could assist them save costs throughout the business, such as Chip & PIN support and ordering Food & Drink through Mecca's electronic bingo system.
The upgrade to the latest versions of MCR software is a marked improvement, as MacIntyre describes. "Now with Symphony Enterprise and Stock Manager across the business, our back-office processes have a fresher look and are smoother and more intuitive. It's good to have Symphony running everything across both front-of-house and back-office."
Symphony's operator interface comes in for particular praise. "Symphony Enterprise is highly-aligned with Microsoft products so the interface is very familiar. There's lots of functionality there that's very exciting."
Mecca club managers are able to track all stock movements. Symphony gives full visibility of sales and stock information dynamically, at a club, region or estate-wide level. This accurate and timely information gives Mecca tighter control of stock holding and enhanced gross profit management as well as equipping the business to better manage its controllable costs and cash and stock variances.
Symphony Stock Manager provides complete control over both wet and dry stock, enabling Mecca to enter all of its recipe and ingredient information into the system and calculate the total cost and theoretical item-level margins. The system automatically decrements stock levels down to ingredient level as sales are made through the tills, and allows for line checks to be taken at any time, highlighting any stock variances by quantity and value.
States MacIntyre: "We may move to 'suggested orders' which will further improve stock management and make it more streamlined. This will help us reduce both wastage and stock in hand, whilst making it less likely that we'll run out of stock. Having less money tied up in stock will also improve our cash flow."
Thanks to Symphony, Mecca has been at the forefront of compliance with the new FIR (Food Information Regulations) regarding food allergens. Although not mandatory until 13 December 2014, Mecca has been able to deliver FIR information to customers 3 months before the deadline.
Mecca Bingo has deployed in excess of 450+ Symphony Reporting licences as well as 300+ Symphony Enterprise users and 300+ Symphony Stock Manager users. There are over 3,000+ individual POS operators across the 93 clubs, trading on more than 340 POS terminals.
Concludes David MacIntyre: "The MCR guys have been invaluable. I've worked with many EPOS companies and I find MCR's pre-project support, project support and ongoing day-to-day support second to none. MCR treat us like a valuable customer and really do stand out as exceptional suppliers."