After 7 successful years, the business felt it needed a cosmetic overhaul. Rebranded as Tamarind Kitchen, it undertook a major refurbishment of its Soho premises and upgraded the TISSL EPoS solution used to run its points-of-service from the outset. Both the re-launch and the system upgrade have been a success.
Set across two floors, the new design of the restaurant resembles an urban Soho space. With a stylish bar, signature cocktails and an exciting menu, Tamarind Kitchen has become a go-to destination within a matter of months. Wardour Street attracts lots of passing trade so is ideal for a street food concept that is tasty but informal.
The refurbishment was planned a long time in advance and saw the restaurant closed for six weeks. The 130-seat venue is now open 7 days a week from 8am to 11pm for breakfast, drinks and all-day dining. A new menu has been created around four distinct inspirations from Indian street food, reflecting the country’s diverse cuisine: Coastal Shacks, Food Carts, Railway Cuisine and Beyond Borders.
Explains Raj Bagai, Project Manager of Michelin-starred Indian restaurant group, Tamarind Collection, which owns Imli Street: “We took everything out and started anew. We have a new look and more covers. The back of the restaurant has been lightened up and the bar moved to the front, where it’s become a destination in its own right.” The lower ground floor is better linked to the main restaurant and provides additional dining space. The ambience is gentle and but neutral, avoiding the stereotypes often associated with Indian restaurants.
“We reviewed how we used our EPoS and concluded we weren’t using it to its full potential.”
When the business was reinvented as Tamarind Kitchen, its EPoS was included in the process. It turned out to be an ideal time for TISSL to further customise the solution to the restaurant’s needs. “There are a lot of features within TISSL that we aren’t using. We realised our staff weren’t trained enough and data was not being kept fully up to date. As a result, our system wasn’t giving us the management information we wanted,” Bagai observes.
Since the system upgrade, the Tamarind Collection has observed a marked improvement in management information and can now log into the system remotely from head office to obtain trading statistics. Reports are dropped onto a portal which is preconfigured for daily, weekly and monthly analysis. Each morning the system creates a consolidated report for all the restaurants that the group owns, and sends it automatically. Each individual restaurant manager gets a report detailing his or her performance against budget and targets. “With these daily business insights, managers can change focus, address issues and make improvements, which is great,” enthuses Raj Bagai.
“A small process change in the front-end has led to a big back-end change. Our understanding of where our revenue is coming from is now much better.”
Prior to the relaunch, the bar was just a service point. Now it sits in the restaurant’s window, beckoning customers to enjoy an Indian cocktail or a range of beers. To support this change, the bar has its own till and the space has been defined within the EPoS solution as a separate revenue centre. “We can now analyse where our revenue is coming from. In the past we just looked at average spend per cover, but that’s not enough to get a real picture of the business.”
For added flexibility, TISSL has made it possible for any table in the restaurant to be defined as a bar table, if the physical space is full. “The system prompts us to enter the centre we want the revenue allocated to.”
Since the relaunch, Raj Bagai has observed that the average spend has increased and the clientele has broadened when compared to the restaurant’s former customer base.
Thanks to the ease with which new menu items can be programmed and then reported upon, the team can make changes according to what is or is not selling well.
“Staff are very comfortable entering orders on the till. They don’t have to go into multiple screens, and layouts are good and easy to use.”
The flow of the new menu is looser and reflects a more informal style of dining; customers choose a number of dishes, often to share. This affects the phasing of cooking and service. Whilst the system had previously been configured for chefs to prepare dishes in the order they were entered, a simple innovation now makes the process more efficient.
“An elegant programming solution proposed by TISSL sees each dish categorised as primary or secondary when entered on the till. This alerts the kitchen to the sequencing required, regardless of the order in which items are entered. “
“TISSL have been an important part of our relaunch,” says Raj Bagai. Whilst the restaurant was closed, Imli Street staff went to TISSL for the data upgrade, system testing and training. “On the day we opened, TISSL staff were on site to support us and do any fine-tuning that might be needed.”
“The whole project has gone very well; our new brand has been well received and our TISSL EPoS upgrade supports the new business and provides richer management information than we’ve ever had.”