HardwareHaskins Garden Centre

Haskins Garden Centres have been blooming since the family business first took root in Dorset in 1882.

Today, the Haskins family still own the growing group of garden centres with four locations in the South – Ferndown, Southampton, Worthing and Crawley.  In recent years the biggest area of growth has been the restaurant side of the business.  With four restaurants completing over 15,000 transactions a week, accounting for over 20 per cent of the overall turnover, Haskins is more than a plant retailer but a leisure destination too.

And with a vision to expand its garden centres to six in the near future, Haskins was looking for an EPoS partner to manage its thriving hospitality business.

Haskins Systems Manager, Claire Viney, said: “We had a stand-alone catering stock control system to help with stock management in our restaurants. This system had four separate databases – one for each centre – and so data entry was duplicated four times. The centre restaurant staff had full access to the system and changed recipes to suit their own chefs, which resulted in the databases growing out of sync with one another due to no central control.

“We manually integrated this stock control system with our retail EPoS system tills. However, due to the limited functionality, we had to sell products generically. For example, we would sell a scone as a scone and couldn’t capture the flavour. This not only meant that our stock control was inaccurate, but we had no visibility of our best and worst selling items. Neither system was helping us to run an efficient operation, and with the future plans to expand our number of garden centres, we were outgrowing the system.”

So, the hunt was on for Haskins to find a suitable hospitality technology provider offering a fully integrated solution for stock control and EPoS. After much research and a comprehensive procurement process, Zonal was appointed.

“We were impressed by the functionality of Zonal’s Aztec EPoS and the ability for it to adapt and grow with our business.  The fact Zonal is also a family business meant they shared our customer focused values and that gave us reassurance that we would be taken care of,” added Claire.

Sixteen Aztec EPoS terminals and six iServe devices have been installed across the four locations and the benefits are already being enjoyed.

iServe delivers a cost-effective, reliable replacement to the traditional order pad, so that from anywhere in a Haskins restaurant, for example, team members can take orders, print and process payments, providing a superior service to customers.

Haskins Group Catering Manager, Ben Harrison, said: “The reporting we can access is making a huge difference to the way we manage our business and our menus.  We can now see what dishes are popular and giving us the best margins and those that either need refining or taking off the menu.

“We operate quick service restaurants, but we are keen to evolve that so our teams are empowered to carry out check backs at the tables, which not only helps us gauge customer satisfaction but provides an opportunity for our customers to top up their order with either a fresh cup of coffee or dessert.”

Haskins is looking to take this a stage further and enable customers to order their coffee at the starting point of service, rather than at the final payment stage.  “If we do have any complaints, it’s usually about people waiting for hot drink orders while their food goes cold. It’s a common issue for our style of service, but iServe will enable us to resolve this problem going forward and make this process far more slick, efficient and customer friendly,” added Ben.

For Haskins working with Zonal has been a positive experience overall, with particular praise for the on-site support during the go-live process and the ongoing account management.  “We couldn’t have asked for more during the installation stage and the subsequent support service has been excellent,” concluded Claire.

Haskins is one of a growing breed of retailers that are seeking alternative EPoS solutions to meet their hospitality requirements.  Zonal’s chief executive Stuart McLean said: “We are seeing more and more traditional retailers, who have made a move into food service, seeking suitable EPoS technology that can handle the hospitality side of the business.

“Haskins is a great example and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with this successful and expanding family business.  In those terms we are kindred spirits and we look forward to helping them facilitate their customer journey experience.”


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