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Case Studies - Coya

2012 saw a new wave of Latin American restaurants come to London.
One of the most exciting is Coya, a Peruvian restaurant and private members’ club in Mayfair. Opened to critical acclaim by restaurateur Arjun Waney, co-founder of Zuma and Roka and owner of The Arts Club, it runs its business on an EPoS solution from TISSL.

Coya has brought to life a Georgian building, 118 Piccadilly, with a 100-cover modern Peruvian restaurant and dining club. The décor is softly aged, with modern artwork and ethnic artefacts creating an atmospheric setting. Coya chefs entertain as food is prepared in three open kitchens: the Ceviche Bar, the Open Charcoal Grill and the Central Kitchen. A Pisco Bar specialises in cocktails based on fruit-soaked pisco brandy, rare rums and tequilas.

Determined to make Coya authentic, the management team (including head chef Sanjay Dwivedi, formerly of Zaika, Le Caprice and The Ivy), travelled to Peru for inspiration and insight from local food and culture. Drawing on their experience of Peruvian cuisine, Sanjay and his staff devised an imaginative menu that is wowing London diners.

“Latin American is a cuisine set to last and Arjun Waney’s timing was right. He is very good at predicting trends,” observes Assistant General Manager Ben Hesketh.

“We aim to offer polished service with personality and warmth, a great atmosphere and exceptional cuisine.”

Hesketh describes how staff have been “hand-picked” to serve an affluent and discerning clientele. “Here we are on one of the most iconic streets in the world with the ‘village’ of Mayfair just behind us and with ten of London’s biggest hotels on our doorstep. We’ve had some great reviews and an amazing start to the business,” he enthuses.

When it came to technology, Coya started with a blank canvas and looked at a number of EPoS providers but Ben Hesketh was influenced by his positive experience of using TISSL elsewhere within the group. The main drivers for selecting EPoS were functionality, the flow of the software, pricing and support.

The final decision to purchase a TISSL EPoS solution to manage the restaurant was made jointly by the senior managers, directors and head chef. “When buying EPoS, experience, word of mouth and references are very important and TISSL stood out in all these respects.”

Coya staff quickly became familiar with the TISSL EPoS solution. “We had no training issues. It only took 10-15 minutes to go through the system with our staff.”

“TISSL support has been first class.”

Observes Ben Hesketh: “Whenever we need a bit of help or guidance, the TISSL team are straight on the ‘phone. We are well looked after by our account manager and the helpdesk and, if there is an issue, TISSL are in on the day to help us or replace items.”

The software runs on PC-based touchscreen EPoS terminals, J2 680s, which are technically innovative, powerful and fast to use. Eight terminals are located throughout the restaurant and bar. Plans are in place to add a tablet PC for use in the members’ lounge. Down in the kitchens, there are four printers; one each for the Grill, Ceviche, Main Pass and Pastry areas.

Given the ‘sharing plates’ concept that the restaurant proposes to its diners for their first or all courses, Coya asked TISSL to programme in a ‘course reset’ button. “It’s useful to be able to add in dishes and flag them up with the status of a first course, so they are cooked immediately.”

All of Coya’s set and special menus are defined on the system. “Programming of menu changes is simple to do.”

“We rely heavily on our technology to reveal trading patterns and analyse operating costs. TISSL reports are easy to generate and change.”

The head chef gets involved with analysis too, and reports are formatted to highlight whatever he wants to know, such as sales of a particular item or dish.

Within two months of opening, Coya was running with a three-month waiting list for prime dining times, so the management team is justifiably thrilled with the restaurant’s early success. Whilst the current focus is on dining - with 350 covers served nightly - and on the late-licence pisco bar, attention is now also being given to refining menus and service in order to grow the lunch trade.

Elsewhere in the business, the members club uses a system for guest information, profiles and payments. This integrates with Open Table’s dining reservations system. A third-party stock management system is also in use, linked into TISSL. These two solutions combine to generate the main weekly reports, enabling analysis of food and beverage costs, and the cost of sales.

The final word goes to Ben Hesketh: “I would recommend TISSL absolutely.”