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Manchester brewer Hydes rolled out Zonal’s Hospitality Management Solution, across 15 managed pubs in October 2011.

The project included the complete replacement of Hydes’ EPoS, stock management and ordering systems and involved 40 of the company’s staff and managers working in the pubs and at head office.

Working closely with Hydes, Zonal’s dedicated installation and training team designed a comprehensive training schedule including pre-installation workshops, intensive Go-Live support and practical post-installation assistance at important milestones such as the first stock take.

As in any busy hospitality venue, replacing vital retail technology in Hydes’ most profitable pubs needed to be carefully planned to ensure no interruption to business. The training plan was critical in making sure every member of Hydes’ team felt confident about using the new system and had specialist trainers on hand to support them, particularly on the day of installation.

“Our objective was to provide plenty of hands-on training to remove any anxieties and ensure staff felt in control of the new system,” says Craig Hamill, Training & Development Manager at Zonal.

“In our experience, delivering this level of intensive support at three critical stages – shortly before installation, during the Go-Live phase, and up to two weeks afterwards – makes the most business sense and provides users with lasting confidence.”

A week before the system was installed, Zonal presented a series of two-day training workshops at Hydes’ headquarters. These gave staff and managers their first introduction to the new technology in a neutral environment, away from interruptions and the day-to-day demands of their jobs. They were able to explore Zonal’s Aztec stock management and Purchase-to-Pay systems through a series of mock sales, stock taking and ordering tasks, and had the freedom to ask questions and iron out any concerns.

Classroom training was soon followed by the Go-Live phase, which involved the same Zonal training and installation specialists delivering intensive onsite support to each pub on the day the system was introduced, from logging in long before customers started to arrive, to cashing up after last orders.

The final stage of the training programme was completed two weeks later with a series of onsite sessions to support pub managers and head office teams completing their first stock take with the new system. In this phase, managers were also given extra training to get the most out of the systems bespoke reporting tools.

“Zonal’s thoughtful and detailed approach to training has been central to our successful transition to a new EPoS, stock and ordering system,” says Hydes Finance Director, Adam Mayers.

“By giving us the right level of help at the right time, and addressing every possible eventuality and hitch before they happen, they have instilled a great deal of confidence in our team.”

“Added to this, the system’s user interface is so logical and well-designed that getting to grips with it is largely intuitive.”

Hydes installs Zonal to improve control of sales

Manchester brewer Hydes selected a Zonal Hospitality Management Solution to improve the way it controls sales across 15 managed pubs in the North West of England. The solution, which incorporates Zonal’s Aztec stock management and Purchase to Pay online ordering software, is not only helping Hydes manage stock but also reduce wastage and increase gross profit.

Established in 1863, Hydes is one of the most successful breweries in the UK. The family-owned business produces a range of craft brewed cask beers which it sells through an estate of 66 managed and tenanted pubs.

The brief

Hydes’ objective was to find a management solution that bridged the gap between its pubs and head office operations and would track the day-to-day performance of its retail business.

“We wanted to increase the value of the information we receive from our managed pubs, so that we always had a clear picture of our performance and could identify areas of success or improvement quickly and accurately,” says Hydes’ Finance Director, Adam Mayers.

In particular, Hydes was looking for a way to monitor exactly how much wet stock each of its managed pubs was carrying and dispensing on any day. Beer sales are central to Hydes’ business, and this is an area where waste is common because drinks are dispensed direct from the cask, leading to spills and discrepancies in unit measures.

“The way beer is dispensed has a big impact on our profit margin,” says Mayers. “But in the past getting an accurate record of the number of units sold compared to the number dispensed was a challenge.”

The company also needed a way to streamline its wet stock ordering system and replace the labour-intensive process of placing orders by telephone and manually recording each delivery.

The solution

Hydes adopted a Zonal management system featuring 45 EPoS terminals, Aztec stock management and reporting software, and Purchase to Pay online ordering solution.

The system was installed following a series of classroom training sessions for pub and management employees and intensive support delivered by Zonal’s training team on the day of installation.
“The EPoS terminals are so intuitive and user-friendly that one-touch training was all staff needed to begin serving straight away with virtually no interruptions,” says Mayers.

Every night, up-to-date records of orders, deliveries, stock, sales and staff performance are sent from each managed pub to Hydes’ head office where they can be viewed in a variety of bespoke management reports to highlight and compare performance.

“The information we receive daily from the Zonal system is consistent and meaningful and can be used to directly inform our management plans,” explains Mayers.

“In the past, accessing management information was only possibly for highly trained users and was therefore never fully used. Now we have more information than we have ever had before, but it is illustrated in a useful format and can easily be filtered and viewed as part of a bespoke report, for stock versus sales or payroll for example.”

Details of new products and special offers can be uploaded onto the system at head office and applied to EPoS terminals in each pub. The system automatically sends details of time and date sensitive offers to relevant in-pub systems and then calculates discounts and promotions before applying them to customer bills at the point of sale.

“The system is helping us control the estate’s promotional activities and track the success of each initiative, in real-time if we want to, so that we can make informed decisions about the most effective ways to market our pubs,” adds Mayers.

Ordering made easy

Aztec’s Purchase & Pay software allows each pub to place orders for wet stock online direct with Hydes brewery and the company’s suppliers. Orders are automatically recorded and enter the pub’s stock records on delivery.

“Our stock and sales picture is much closer to real time now, which immediately gives us a better handle on the business,” says Mayers.

Payroll management

The new system is also helping Hydes to manage its workforce more productively.

“We can now effectively clock staff in and out, so we know exactly which members of the team are on site and what tasks they are performing,” says Mayers.

“Staffing information reaches us via Aztec’s reporting software in a clear and useful format which is helping us to understand how our teams are being used and giving us the data we need to make good business decisions. This is enabling us to redeploying members of staff into the areas of our business that need the most manpower at different times of the day and improving our labour efficiency.”


“With an accurate view of stock and wastage, plus real-time alerts to areas of inefficiency, we are now building an action plan to improve gross profit across the estate,” says Mayers.

“Our management team is much closer to our pubs. We have a better understanding of their day-to-day experiences and can have positive, informed discussions with pub managers and staff about how to help each pub run more smoothly and profitably.”

The future

Using Zonal’s Aztec Purchase to Pay software to order wet stock is proving so successful that Hydes now plans to roll out the system to manage food purchasing for its seven food-serving pubs. The system is expected to help Hydes to rationalise recipes and plan menus to reduce food waste and increase profitability.

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