Epernay Champagne Bars
"The J2 tills are very reliable and robust - ideal for a busy bar environment."
Geoff Thornton, owner of Epernay Champagne & Cocktail Bars
Epernay Champagne & Cocktail Bars are a new spin on a familiar formula. Increased continental travel, leisure time and disposable income have created a discerning public that no longer sees champagne as a drink solely for celebrations, nor cocktails reserved for balmy summer evenings in exotic locations.
Young entrepreneur, Geoff Thornton, has taken the wine bar concept, where a wide range of quality wines can be enjoyed by the glass in its own right, and has given it a modern twist in the form of a champagne and cocktail bar.
Epernay Bars can be found in city centre premises in Leeds, Durham and Leicester. Each has the hallmark of a striking interior created within a renovated or contemporary building. Add to this a wide range of quality champagnes, cocktails, wines and beers and you have a heady combination that appeals to urbane city dwellers looking for a stylish place in which to relax and be seen.
The first Epernay Champagne & Cocktail Bar, and now the flagship of the group, was opened in 2005 in the atmospheric setting of The Electric Press, a restored Victorian carriage works in the heart of Leeds’ Millennium Square. The concept, to make champagne affordable and to complement it with a wide selection of quality drinks, was well received from the start and the Bar received glowing reviews from all who visited it.
However, for Geoff Thornton, there was one cause for concern, that of his technology. He felt that he had not been dealt a good hand when his first, then his second, EPoS failed to deliver through a combination of poor software and service.
The remedy came in the shape of Marc Newton who runs Newt Touch Solutions, a specialist supplier of touchscreen technology for hospitality and retail. Marc’s challenge was to convince Geoff that he could tailor a solution that would offer the right hardware, software and service support for the Epernay business.
* J2’s 3-year parts & labour warranty, in conjunction with support from NTS, has given a great sense of confidence
* Epernay like the contemporary feel of the flat screen and the J2 560’s compact footprint
* The tills are robust and practical in an environment where knocks and spills are commonplace
* The ICRTouch software is versatile with excellent user interfaces. It provides a range of valuable front-office and back-office functions
* The system is fast and easy to use, even for less confident staff, and stands up to the pace of the busiest trading periods
* Support from NTS has been exceptional.
Marc Newton created a completely new package, using tried-and-tested elements from his software and hardware partners, and he committed his own dedication to client service to see Epernay through the transition.
He combined the ICRTouch software with the latest J2 touchscreen till, the J2 560, both of which have been designed for the fast-moving hospitality sector. Marc offered his solution on a 2-week free-trial basis in order to restore Geoff’s faith in technology. “I was able to give Epernay a greater sense of confidence by offering J2 units with a 3-year
parts & labour warranty.”
In comparison with the hardware which Epernay had previously used, described as “small and ugly”, Geoff Thornton and his team reacted very positively to the J2 equipment. “We immediately liked the contemporary feel of the flat screen. This, together with the unit’s compact footprint, makes for a pleasing look that fits in well in the Bar.”
By the time the trial had completed, the new solution from Newt Touch Solutions was confirmed as more than fit for purpose.
The functionality of the ICRTouch system has been well received. It is giving Epernay Leeds a full point-of-sale system which includes time and attendance management and stock control in the back-office, and features such as a tab system in the front-office.
“The software is very versatile and the user interfaces are excellent. We’ve found it useful to be able to programme in the exact specification of our cocktails and to cascade this to other systems such as our Back-Office Suite software.”
The new tills, too, have come in for their share of compliments. “They have proved to be very reliable and robust and are ideal for a busy bar environment. Unlike the old days, when tills had to been sealed with silicon, the new J2 tills are splash-proof and need no protection from bumps and spilt liquids.”
Epernay staff find the J2 560s fast and simple to use, which is critical on the busiest of weekend nights when trade peaks. Geoff Thornton admits he is not the most technically-minded individual “and even I can use them!”
When it comes to training and support, the Epernay team is full of praise for Marc Newton: “Without Marc, we would still be struggling with the wrong system. He really helped us out, and his service has been second to none.”
Today, as the Epernay business expands, it does so helped, not hindered, by its point-of service technology.