HardwareMacdonald Hotels

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts has been serving up award winning hospitality to its guests since 1990, when the first hotel was opened in Aberdeenshire by Donald Macdonald and colleagues.

Today, it is the UK’s largest privately owned hotel group, operating 53 hotels throughout the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, employing over 4,000 staff and servicing in excess of 4,500 hotel rooms.

Great service and a passion for delivering excellence when it comes to the perfect stay, sit at the heart of Macdonald’s ethos and success.  But with expansion also comes challenges in terms of keeping track of operating costs.  This is where Zonal and its range of hospitality focused technology solutions, including its market leading Aztec EPoS, has checked-in and is having a positive impact on operations.

Macdonald’s was suffering from an outmoded EPoS solution, which was inflexible and not geared up to flex and grow as the hotel group expanded.  IT director, Stuart Garrick, explains:

“We had been with our previous EPoS provider for a decade, but unfortunately the technology hadn’t kept pace with today’s demands.  Zonal impressed from the outset with its full suite of technology solutions, real-time reporting and its capability to integrate with our property management system OPERA.

“Also, being Scottish and a family business, we shared the same values, so the chemistry was there too.”

Zonal installed its Aztec EPoS into 35 Macdonald hotel bars and restaurants.  In addition, mobile ordering through iPads featuring iServe, Zonal’s handheld EPoS solution, were deployed.

“The difference is like night and day.  Zonal’s technology offers no barrier to what we want to achieve; whether that’s our chef’s creativity to develop seasonal specials, to changing prices locally or across the estate. In the past, this took weeks of planning but now, we can do it in minutes,” says Stuart.

A great example of where Zonal technology is making its mark is Macdonald’s Berystede hotel in Ascot.  A favourite with horse racing fans from across the world, the hotel’s bar is a hotbed of activity during race week, particularly Ladies Day, and in the past has required runners to keep orders flowing from the outside seating area to the tills and kitchen.  Not only is speed of service an issue but the system was open to human error.

With Zonal technology, iServe means orders can be quickly taken at the table, which directly feeds into EPoS, which in turn sends the order directly to the kitchen.

Stuart explains:

“Ascot is our busiest time of year at Berystede.  Zonal technology has gone a long way to helping our staff to take more orders, while reducing mistakes and speeding up service. Thanks to Zonal technology we are delivering a ‘thoroughbred’ service that lives up to the Ascot experience!”

Ultimately, it’s the business intelligence that Stuart and his colleagues can now access that will help Macdonald Hotels continue to expand effectively and efficiently.

Macdonald’s can quickly access data from Aztec’s Dimensions reporting module that has been designed with the operator in mind, offering the functionality to aggregate with external platforms, such as PMS, payroll systems, budgets and spreadsheets, to create bespoke, real-time data analysis.

This flexibility allows the Macdonald team to compare various sources of data and gather a huge amount of insight, from bed to dining ratio, to top sellers and wastage percentages.

Stuart sums it up:

“We have gone from a dictated to, to a more collaborative approach.  Feedback from staff has been excellent, as they had a say in the design and layout of the Aztec interface, so the workflow is extremely intuitive.  And if there are any issues there’s a Zonal engineer just a phone call away who can come and help – whether it’s in Southampton or Inverness.”

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