Ensuring a great performance for hospitality at The Lowry
Set in a magnificent waterside location at the heart of the re-developed Salford Quays in Greater Manchester, The Lowry is an architectural flagship with a unique and dynamic identity.
The venue houses three theatres for performing arts (1,730, 466 and 180 seats respectively) presenting a full range of drama, opera, ballet, dance, musicals, children's shows, popular music, jazz, folk and comedy. Its 1,610 sqm gallery spaces display the works of LS Lowry alongside changing, contemporary exhibitions. To support this the theatre operates a fine dining restaurant (Pier Eight), a coffee shop and a total of six bars.
The Key challenges – coping with Interval ordering and managing multi-department stock control
Unlike normal hospitality operations, a theatre with bars and restaurants presents a unique set of challenges. Lyndsey Tickle, hospitality manager at The Lowry explains:
“Hospitality revenue is critical as it supports The Lowry’s artistic ambition by ensuring financial sustainability. The timings of when our patrons visit our restaurants and bars however, is often driven by the performance schedule, resulting in measurable peaks and troughs in demand.
“Our patrons like to order food and drink prior to a show and during the interval, but waiting in a queue can spoil the overall theatre experience, and if a patron loses patience may even result in lower potential revenues. At The Lowry, our performances often have intervals so this becomes an issue. The ability to up-sell and cross-sell during this period remains critical to our business.”
Another challenge that The Lowry faces is trying to manage stock control across different types of hospitality outlets. Lyndsey continues; “Managing our stock control across seven to eight separate locations was time consuming and needed a system that was automated and would therefore simplify the entire process”
The previous incumbent EPoS at The Lowry was not able to address these key issues; therefore, a decision was made to replace it with an innovative solution that could directly address these concerns, offer more back-of-house functionality and ultimately provide real value to the theatre.
After an extensive review of the available systems on the market, the The Lowry selected pointOne EPoS. Lyndsey comments on the selection; “We looked at several solutions, however pointOne EPoS offered a range of features and benefits that together made a complete package that was designed to meet the specific challenges of theatres.” She continues, “The stock system in particular stood out as it had the potential to deliver exactly what we needed without being overly complicated, and it was also good value for money”
“We looked at several solutions, however pointOne EPoS offered a range of features and benefits that together made a complete package that was designed to meet the specific challenges of theatres, and it was also good value for money”
What pointOne delivered to The Lowry
The pointOne solution has been designed with theatres in mind, and the ‘package’ includes:
Effective Interval ordering – This enables The Lowry’s patrons to pre-order interval drinks allowing staff to have the orders ready and waiting. “Interval ordering is used across all our outlets,” says Lyndsey,” not only for drinks, but also for ordering desserts from the restaurant allowing customers to spread their meal across the entire performance, enhancing their overall experience”.
Multi-department Stock Control – According to Lyndsey the pointOne Stock Control solution has been a revelation. She explains “With our previous systems we had lots of manual processes that involved a lot of printed sheets, which was very time consuming. With pointOne this is now all automated. We can now do ‘spot checks’ and if we see something is wrong we can address it immediately. Also, we typically have one delivery of stock that is split into several store rooms. Using the system our staff can quickly identify what needs to go where. It gives us so much more control.”
Kitchen Management – pointOne provides kitchen screens which enable the theatre to control the amount of front of house traffic in its 168-seat restaurant. Another feature the staff like is that it also provides a safety net for issues such as controlling allergens. The staff know exactly what is going out at any time giving them far more control over the restaurant environment.
Mobile Terminals – The Lowry is often used as a private venue for graduation ceremonies, weddings and Christmas parties. When these functions occur, it is important that the venue can react quickly to the additional demand and implement additional EPoS tills at ‘champagne’ or ‘G & T’ points.
The Results – shorter queues, more footfall and an integrated controlled environment
According to Lyndsey the pointOne installation at The Lowry has been a great success, “We are very pleased with the solution. We now have shorter queues and therefore more customers taking advantage of our hospitality offerings. The stock control has made our lives much easier and is making us a much more efficient organisation.”
Lyndsey concludes; “In summary, what is really good about pointOne is that everything ‘talks’ to everything else, our back-office and front of house function are now fully integrated and we think the system is very good value for money.”
The key benefits that pointOne delivered to The Lowry:
- Shorter queues and more upselling opportunities during the interval
- Saved valuable staff time with an automated multi-departmental stock control system
- Enabled the theatre to better manage its front of house with integrated kitchen management
- Provide opportunities to improve sales and cash-flow with mobile POS at ‘one-off’ private functions and events