Huntley's Countryside Shopping and Dining
"“The systems in place here are a credit to technology, and the after-care has been second to none.”"
Eddie Cowpe, owner and Managing Director of Huntley’s Countryside Shopping and Dining
They say that hard times are often the proving ground for the best ideas and that was certainly the case with Huntley’s. Eddie Cowpe and his family can trace an 800-year history of farming in Samlesbury in East Lancashire. Sadly, in 2001, the foot-and-mouth crisis fell on Eddie’s watch. As he watched the farming industry suffer, he knew he had to transform his business.
His vision was to create a thriving commercial and leisure destination that would see visitors come to shop and to eat some of Lancashire’s finest food, much of which would be produced onsite and would promote the strengths of local farming. So, to supplement his existing arable and livestock operation, Eddie Cowpe set about building a 750 sq ft farm shop.
The business started by selling milk, home-made ice-cream and fresh meat. Today, after eight years of hard work and tenacity, the shop stocks all this and more: fruit, vegetables, delicatessen and fresh fish. Also sold onsite are wines, flowers, antiques, furniture, crafts and fashions. These lines are supplemented in summer by a thriving ‘pick your own’ fruit business. In 2005, a restaurant was opened and quickly gained a loyal customer base.
Not surprisingly, Huntley’s is no stranger to media and industry accolades: from picking up the 2005 East Lancashire Retailer of the Year award, to being celebrated as one of Rick Stein’s Food Heroes.
· The management team describes itself as “not technology-minded” so appreciates the system’s accuracy and simplicity
· Exceptional after-care service has given them peace of mind, with the expertise of Wedderburn’s staff being put to use in supporting new business processes
· Clear reporting of historical data helps Huntley’s to analyse its sales performance daily or hourly, and match staffing levels to it
· Equipped with the J2/Wedderburn solution, Huntley’s have been able to improve stock taking and stock holding, resulting in reduced shrinkage
By 2008, Huntley’s was finding that its EPoS system was not keeping pace with the growth and diversity of the business. An existing supplier introduced them to Wedderburn EPoS Systems, a specialist provider of solutions for the retail, leisure and hospitality trades.
Tim Smith, Wedderburn’s Managing Director, sets the scene: “We could see that Huntley’s needed much more functionality in both its hospitality and retail areas, so we supplied a complete solution comprising our Total Stock Control software, ICR Touch and Fidelity GPOS software at point-of-sale, supported by J2 Retail Systems PC-based touchscreen computers.”
Huntley’s has installed five of J2’s 520 PC-based colour touchscreens, two hand-held touchscreen units, three Mettler label printing scales and a further two Mettler Viva scales. In the retail area, the Mettler scales weigh items and print bar-coded labels, ready for scanning at the till. Two of the touchscreens are linked to the Mettler Viva scales for point-of-sale weighing services.
The company pays tribute to the exceptional after-care service it has received from Wedderburn. As Eddie Cowpe explains: “We are a long way from Wedderburn’s offices, and they travelled for hours to help us out with installation and training. They also access our tills remotely so can solve many issues by talking a staff member through what needs to be done.”
“The extent of Wedderburn’s knowledge is of great advantage to us. When we’ve wanted to implement new processes, their staff could immediately advise us on the best way forward. They have a passion for their job, for building rapport and for supporting customers,” he continues.
The Fidelity GPOS point-of-sale software is particularly good for retail scanning. It links to stock-take scanners and to the Mettler Viva scales and makes easy work of the logistics of multi-buys and ‘buy one, get one free’. Integrated Chip & PIN functionality speeds sales through.
In the café area, two hand-held touchscreens are used for table service and are linked wirelessly to a point-of-sale terminal, which runs ICR Touch software. The hand-held terminals give speed of service and allow the staff to up-sell without having to go back to the cash register. A separate Total Stock Control system controls this area of the business.
Two copies of the Total Stock Control software have been installed; one to manage retailing and a second to control the hospitality side. The software has simple icon-driven menus and is quick and easy to use. Password protection means access to all or parts of it can be restricted to authorised users. The system has seamless links to Sage Line 50 and to other accounting packages, plus full integration with MS Word and Excel.
Powerful inbuilt Crystal reports generate an extensive range of sales and profit reports covering all aspects of the business. Management now has access to actual sales and profitability by date range, and promotional loss reporting that highlights the difference between the RRP and actual sales when discount or promotions have been applied to a product.
Reports can be formatted by date range and reveal the most and least busy trading times. This is invaluable in enabling the business to match staffing levels with daily or hourly sales trends. The electronic journal is a full audit trail of every transaction on the EPoS terminal. This useful function tracks voids, refunds and over-rings, and forms the basis of many of the analysis reports.
Thanks to its new system, Huntley’s now has complete control of its stock management. It can compare historical and current stock levels, value stock and analyse its consumption, highlight what stock it has on hand and on order, drill down to variants, arrange transfers and report on what it has sold and therefore needs to reorder. The system audits stock and analyses wastage. By being better informed, Huntley’s has been able to improve its stock ordering and stock holding processes, with the result that shrinkage has been reduced.
Supplier details and delivery summaries are at hand. This system will also produce shelf-edge label printing and barcode labels where necessary, and has connectivity to the hand-held terminals for delivery and price checking.
About Wedderburn EPoS Systems
Wedderburn EPoS Systems has kept pace with changing technology to become one of the UK’s leading suppliers of EPoS systems and cash registers for the hospitality and retail markets. The company is ISO 9002-accredited in its weighing equipment department.
Wedderburn combines EPoS-linked systems with off-the-shelf and bespoke software. Specialist systems provide stock control, loyalty card, Chip & PIN EFTPOS, together with value-added services such as training, implementation, technical support and help desk services.
In the leisure sector, The Royal Albert Hall and Hackney Empire have both chosen Wedderburn for their EPoS terminals and software purchase. Wedderburn has also supplied 1,000+ Scottish & Newcastle pubs nationwide with point-of-sale equipment, and has deployed Head Office and site software together with 450 cash registers in Rank Leisure’s Mecca Bingo clubs.
Wedderburn EPoS Systems
56 Shirley Road
Tel: +44 (0) 23 8022 7645
Fax: +44 (0) 23 8022 7537
Sector: Retail and Hospitality/Food Service