Zonal welcomes Jon Woodforth as Chief Technology Officer

Zonal, the UK’s leading provider of technology solutions for hospitality businesses has strengthened its senior leadership team with the appointment of Jon Woodforth as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

With more than 18 years’ experience of spearheading complex B2B technology, Woodforth joins Zonal from retail  technology specialist, Flooid, formerly PCMS Group where he served as global CTO.

Woodforth will lead the company’s R&D, IT, Compliance and Managed Services departments bringing his extensive experience of managing complex multi-product development operations and strong commercial acumen to align, drive forward and deliver Zonal’s vision for technology innovation and growth. His breadth of knowledge of hospitality and retail EPoS solutions will be invaluable in driving the Zonal suite of products forward.

Zonal’s chief executive Stuart McLean said: “Jon’s vast experience in driving the development of complex technology products is well-proven and I’m absolutely delighted he is joining the Zonal Group.”

Jon said: “I am truly excited to be joining Zonal and look forward to influencing and delivering on the company’s future product strategy and vision.”

Zonal’s connected technology solutions can be found in a diverse range of 16,000 plus businesses across the hospitality sector.  Working with more than 50 partners and third-party partner applications, Zonal offers seamless integrations that helps its customers to streamline operations, maximise profits and enhance the guest experience.

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A message from our CEO, Stuart McLean | 26th March 2020

As the global economic impact of the coronavirus continues to worsen, the effect on the hospitality sector has been devastating. As a technology partner to the UK hospitality industry, Zonal’s ability to maintain its operations has also been severely impacted.

In order to secure the long-term viability of the company, we have taken the difficult decision to furlough some permanent employees and reduce the number of sub-contractors employed by the company.

While the situation is incredibly concerning, we are grateful for the UK government’s assistance because it allows us to not only protect the majority of our teams’ jobs during this incredibly difficult time, but also ensures that we are ready to resume business activity when the situation improves.

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Zonal partners with Orderswift offering 6-month free click & collect service

This is a hugely concerning time for our industry and as operators look at alternative methods to support and supply their customers, we have seen a large increase in demand for operators looking to offer a click & collect and takeaway service.

In response to this demand, we have partnered with online ordering provider, Orderswift, to offer Zonal customers this service for 6 months free-of-charge, with zero set up fees*, subject to a 12-month agreement with Orderswift.

The Orderswift platform allows operators to offer a click & collect service directly from your website creating an ordering experience that is fully customised to your brand.

The platform is mobile-optimised and fully responsive across all devices so your customers can order anywhere and anytime. Payments are processed securely via the Orderswift platform and passed on to operators once a week. Easy to manage and simple set-up means your click and collect service can be up and running in as little as 72 hours.

“It’s imperative that we support our customers and remain committed to the industry’s collective success. By collaborating with Orderswift we are able to offer our customers these vital channels during this challenging time.”

Tim Chapman, Sales Director

Want to find out more how this could support your business? Complete the form and a member of the Orderswift team will be in touch.


*Offer is applicable to new agreements completed by the 30th May 2020.

In partnership with our customers during this unprecedented time

A message from our CEO, Stuart McLean - updated 19 March 2020

As the coronavirus crisis continues to affect not only us here in the UK, but the entire global community, it goes without saying that these are hugely uncertain times for all of us, especially within the hospitality industry. I wanted to take a moment to reassure you as best I can, that here at Zonal, we are doing everything we can to maintain the wellbeing of our staff and minimise the impact on our customers.

Our staff remain dedicated to providing world-class customer service and support to all our customers throughout this period. Whilst these are undoubtedly challenging times we have, as an organisation, the necessary infrastructures in place to ensure the service we provide remains unaffected. Please rest assured that the wellbeing of everyone who works both for and with us is of paramount importance and we are committed to following the guidelines as set out by the NHS and World Health Organisation to protect their safety whilst continuing to maintain business as usual.

Following Government recommendations, we have asked employees to work from home where possible however our offices remain open should they be needed, and our support, field and logistics services remain unaffected and will continue to do so. Our priority remains the support of our customers through these difficult times and beyond into sector recovery. Our product teams remain focused on delivering our solution roadmaps in anticipation of the return to “normality” that I am sure you will agree, cannot come soon enough.

We appreciate these are unchartered waters for the entire hospitality sector and that the situation is continually evolving, we have a team in place to ensure we react quickly and responsibly to any updates and developments from the UK Government that best reflect the needs of our customers and employees. We will continue to communicate any updates or changes as and when required.

The hospitality industry is one I am extremely proud to be part of and I am acutely aware of how this virus is affecting each and every one of us at both a personal and business level. Whilst I strive to navigate our business through these unprecedented times, our team will continue to provide any guidance and support they can to assist you and your employees through the days, weeks and months ahead.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your account manager.


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Zonal receives gold training accreditation for the 9th time

This is the LPI logo

Zonal has received Gold Standard Accreditation for its training provision by the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) for the ninth consecutive year.
The Gold endorsement is the definitive mark of excellence in learning & development and recognises Zonal’s commitment to high quality and process improvement in the provision of learning, development and training services to internal employees and external customers.

Zonal’s head of learning & development, Craig Hamill, said: “Being awarded our ninth gold accreditation is a fantastic achievement for our training team and for Zonal, which places such importance on learning and development that sets us apart from our competitors.

“The recognition also gives our customers confidence that we are adhering to best practice and operating to the highest possible industry standards as audited by the LPI.”

Zonal’s team of 22 trainers, provide over 30,000 hours of classroom, virtual and onsite training courses every year from customer locations, as well as its headquarters in Tanfield, Edinburgh and its accredited Innovation Centre in Abingdon.  Custom-designed Zonal training rooms have the capability of imitating customer site configurations offering an interactive classroom-style environment.  The technology company continues to design and develop a suite of certified e-learning modules that are tailored to meet individual client requirements.

Edmund Monk, CEO, Learning & Performance Institute (LPI), said: “Zonal’s nine consecutive years as a Gold Standard accredited learning provider is testament to the hard work, passion and dedication of its L&D team, and to the outstanding service it provides to clients in the hospitality sector.

“Here is an organisation that clearly knows its customers, knows how to provide world-class learning, and continually demonstrates business performance improvement and outcomes. With the solid foundation of LPI accreditation in place, I have no doubt that Zonal will continue to drive innovation in the learning technology space and will continue to delight its customers for many years.”

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Zonal’s Acquire reaches £2 billion milestone

This is Zonal's purchase to pay platform

Zonal’s online purchase to pay platform, Acquire, has successfully processed £2 billion worth of orders since its launch four years ago.

With 3,100 sites across the UK now using the software to manage their purchasing and stock management, over 3.1 million orders have been received since 2016, with 1.6 million in the past year alone, equating to an Acquire order processed every 2 seconds.

One of the key trends emerging from the Acquire data shows how operators are increasingly using this smart and highly insightful purchasing to pay technology to not only manage costs but minimise waste by removing the risk of over ordering.

Hoburne Group – a leading holiday park operator – was one of the first Acquire customers and since joining in February 2016 has achieved cost savings across the group of more than 11 per cent from managing its orders more efficiently.

Ben Dalton, group retail manager at Hoburne Group, said: “Acquire has streamlined our stock controls and purchasing so we are far more efficient as a business.  We have greater control of our suppliers and full visibility of what we are buying and selling so we can purchase more effectively, reducing both costs and waste.  The fact that Acquire is an end to end, integrated solution means we also benefit from a single, real-time view of our entire supply chain – from what’s in stock, what’s on its way and how much we need to replenish.”

Operators also have access to more than 900 suppliers of every size – from small artisan producers to large national wholesalers.  With a variety of interfaces and integration options, new suppliers can be boarded quickly and easily regardless of scale and complexity.

Zonal’s director of online commerce, Helen McMillan, said: “Acquire has been very well received by our customers, which range from leisure businesses such as Hoburne to small, medium and large scale restaurant, pub and hotel operators. They all value its agility and the fact they can tightly control costs through its integration with menu management, stocks and finance.”

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Zonal adds Yumpingo to its partner network

This is Yumpingo's logo, a Zonal partner

Zonal has added Yumpingo, the fast growing restaurant intelligence supplier, to its partnership programme, creating a more streamlined feedback journey for Zonal and Yumpingo customers.

Yumpingo adds to an impressive list of partners who integrate with Zonal’s technology, and offers customers access to the future of granular, guest-driven insights. The partnership refines the guest review experience by showing only the dishes ordered within the Yumpingo device, giving Zonal customers the most reliable, real-time pool of data for decision-making.

Yumpingo CEO and founder Gary Goodman, said: “Zonal and Yumpingo share a common vision to connect the guest journey from first visit to loyal repeat customer. Yumpingo is now able to provide all Zonal customers with a new lens to enable their teams to use instant guest feedback to serve more happiness each and every day.”

Chris Hill, CEO of New World Trading Company explained: “Having Yumpingo and Zonal integrated in our sites means we can present a digital bill to our guests that leads to a short review based on their experience and specifically the dishes they ordered. In return, we get rich live data linked to their bill, and their server, allowing us to make data-driven decisions to grow the business. It’s such a powerful tool for our entire team and we look forward to the future development and innovation within this partnership.”

Zonal’s chief executive, Stuart McLean, said: “As a leading innovator of technology solutions, we understand the importance of giving our customers access to our strategic technology partners.

“We are delighted to welcome Yumpingo to our partnership programme, which features many of the leading names in hospitality technology.”

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Zonal reports 30% sales growth for its liveRES online bookings solution

This is liveRES table management system

Zonal is pleased to announce a 30% year on year growth in sales for its online bookings and table management solution, liveRES.

During the year, we have partnered with several key brands including Prezzo, Wadworth and most recently, Indian street food restaurant group, Mowgli with our liveRES technology.

With competition for the consumer pound at an all-time high, brands are turning to digital solutions to make the guest journey as engaging and seamless as possible. Consumers are feeding this trend as online reservations overtook the telephone for the first time this year as their preferred method of booking (source: GO Technology).

liveRES commercial director, David Charlton, said: “We are seeing brands looking to take back control of their guest journey from third party operators in order to build engagement and improve the customer experience, from the moment they visit their website to when they step into their venue.”

David added: “Our customers are also using automation to help their front of house teams deliver a superior, personal service. A consumer can, for example, redeem a loyalty voucher at the time of booking, which is then automatically deducted from the final bill.   Brands also have the intel to identify regular and loyal customers, allowing them the opportunity to surprise and delight their guests when they visit.  It’s these subtle nuances that make such a big difference to how brands are perceived and what will make customers return time and time again.”

Find out more about how Mowgli took control of their online bookings, read the full case study.

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Zonal and Uber Eats have teamed up to deliver an integrated food delivery service for restaurants

With Uber Eats in the UK and Ireland set to increase the number of restaurants it partners with this year, combined with the sharp rise in popularity of food delivery, which is expected to be worth £10bn by 2021 (source: MCA Food Service Delivery Report), the need for restaurants to provide a seamless customer service experience is vital to meet demand.

Zonal’s GO Technology report tracks the technology habits of 5,000 UK consumers, and reveals that 28% of British consumers are now ordering more food deliveries than in previous years, with 39% saying they would order more food for delivery if improvements were made to the speed of service and quality of food delivered.

Zonal’s Strategic Product Manager, Glenn Tait, said: “We recognise that home delivery is here to stay, and demand will continue to grow. We are delighted to demonstrate our openness to technology integration with leading platforms like Uber Eats, which helps our customers meet changing consumer habits while upholding service and brand expectations.”

The integration not only removes the requirement to secondary input menu, stock and pricing information, but the need for orders to be manually keyed into Zonal’s EPoS system, allowing staff to concentrate on customer service.

Using an exclusive Uber Eats ID, the orders are recorded in Zonal’s EPoS as and when they are required to be prepared by the kitchen.

Toussaint Wattine, Uber Eats General Manager, UKI added: “Restaurants are always looking to improve their in-store operations. Restaurants benefit from our integrated solution with less time spent managing delivery and more time producing great food. We look forward to working with Zonal to bring our mutual restaurant partners’ additional sales opportunities at a low operational cost.”

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New Menu Management is recipe for success

Zonal customers are set to benefit from a new Menu Management solution that will help them create and track recipe and menu information including allergens.

Originally developed by Comtrex, part of the Zonal Group, the Menu Management technology fully integrates with Zonal’s suite of technology products including EPoS, Stocks and Purchase to Pay, completing their end to end supply chain solution.

Zonal’s director of online commerce, Helen McMillan, said: “With the pressure on operators to provide greater visibility of allergens, alongside tighter margins and increasing competition, this technology delivers improved efficiencies and accuracy through integration.

“The Menu Management solution has been adopted across Comtrex’s customer base and is already used by brands such as Bill’s, Cote and Prezzo, so we are delighted to bring this exciting technology to our Zonal customers.”

Menu Management not only centralises and maintains ingredient, pricing and allergen information, but it also provides quick and easy visibility of accurate information in every dish.  This ensures consumers are fully informed on allergens and operators are compliant with the latest legislation.

For chefs, simple to follow visual recipe books not only support dish consistency and customer satisfaction but also menu profitability.

“Menu optimisation, costs control, and waste reduction, as well as being able to rapidly react and adapt to changing consumer trends and seasonality, are all hurdles our customers have to overcome. Thankfully, the technology is now available to help operators manage these challenges,” concluded Helen.

For more information on the new solution, please register your interest here.

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