Black Ivy hotel transforms guest experience with integrated technology solution

Black Ivy is a stylish neighbourhood bar and boutique hotel, located in the leafy Edinburgh suburb of Bruntsfield.

Having undergone a significant investment by Caledonia Inns two years ago, Revenue Manager, John Mustard also wanted to upgrade Black Ivy’s outdated technology to support the hotel’s focus on delivering exceptional customer service.

Zonal was the only solution to go for according to John.  Having worked with Zonal throughout his 30 year hospitality career, John had never found a technology partner that could match the range of solutions offered by Zonal and the 24/7 support service.

“I have worked with other technology providers over the years, but Zonal always stands out for its intuitive, smart design and reliability.  Zonal spent 40 years perfecting the technology, which always keeps up to speed with advancements, so you know it’s going to work, be relevant and not let you down.  Also, the support is excellent; the help desk is quick to respond any time, even at weekends,” says John.

Following its refurbishment, Black Ivy has fast become popular with locals, as well as with visitors to Edinburgh.  The hotel boasts 22 uniquely designed bedrooms and two busy bars and a popular food offer, dishing up classics with a twist, averaging 1,000 covers a week.

The Drafthouse, specialises in offering a range of lagers, craft creations and guest taps on rotation and is renowned for its Tank Beer.  Also featuring a stage area, regular live entertainment is a big hit.  Outside, there is a 60-seater al fresco Terrace, which overlooks Bruntsfield Links Park.  Featuring fire pits, customers enjoy a campfire vibe outside and with two full-size table tennis tables inside, the venue is a great place to mix business with pleasure.

For John and his Black Ivy team, Zonal technology has made managing all the different elements of the business seamless.  Zonal’s EPoS system connects with the hotel’s property management system (PMS), Rezlynx, so residential guests can bill any drinks and food directly to their room tab.

John explains: “For us this is a big plus of Zonal; its technology is incredibly flexible so can integrate with other technology solutions that we may have, such as Rezlynx.  This means that our Zonal EPoS is the single reporting vehicle for our accounts team, giving them real-time data that allows us to keep a handle on sales and overheads.”

But it’s not just about operations, the customer journey is also key to Black Ivy’s success.  Zonal’s kitchen management system, Kitchen iQ, has been a game changer along with iServe, a handheld electronic order pad that offers access to EPoS functionality on an iPod or iPad from anywhere in the venue.

John adds: “With two bars, including our popular Terrace, switching to iServe has been a winner for our team.  They no longer have to run back and forth to the bar to process orders, giving them more time to focus on our customers.  Food orders are also fed directly into Aztec and sent through to the kitchen, again saving time and the risk of mistakes.

“Our chefs really liked Kitchen iQ as the system makes their lives easier and less stressful.  Now if you ask them would they go back to paper, the answer is a resounding no!”

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