The Zetter Hotel and The Zetter Townhouse owe their success to a growing demand for individuality, style and personal service. Bistrot Bruno Loubet has the chef-patron’s character stamped all over it, as does his newest venture, Grain Store. All four businesses are powered by a flexible TISSL EPoS solution which allows them to play to their strengths.
The antithesis of bland and corporate, The Zetter Hotel and The Zetter Townhouse in London’s Clerkenwell respond to the desire of leisure and business travellers to stay and dine in establishments where they feel truly at home. Now 12 years old, the flagship Zetter Hotel has 59 bedrooms, an 85-cover restaurant, a cocktail bar and 2 private rooms. The ensemble is decorated and furnished in a style that manages to combine homely and cool, thereby appealing to all ages and all nationalities.
Buoyed up by the success of the Hotel, The Zetter Townhouse was opened 2 years ago in an adjacent Georgian building. On a more intimate scale, The Zetter Townhouse has just 13 idiosyncratic bedrooms, 2 private rooms and an award-winning cocktail bar of international renown.
Bistrot Bruno Loubet is a lofty, light-filled room within The Zetter Hotel, opened 4 years ago. This collaboration between The Zetter Group and the starred chef pleases diners with a gutsy southern French menu. Taking his successful blueprint even further, in summer 2013 Bruno Loubet opened Grain Store in Granary Square, King’s Cross. Here, he offers an eclectic menu inspired both by his travels and his love of growing vegetables, served in an ‘inside, outside’ setting.
Food and Drink Manager Edgard Helle has been with The Zetter Group for many years. A firm believer in a good process backbone to support quality service, Helle has overseen the Group’s investment in technology and championed its evolution.
In 2012, the Group reviewed its PMS and POS provision in order to streamline hotel and dining operations. An XN Hotels solution was selected for property management and a new point-of-sale system was evaluated for 6 months. “We were very demanding,” observes Helle “but the POS could not keep up. Once Grain Store came into the equation, it was even more important to get our EPoS provision right.”
The management team was clear about its needs and business drivers. “It was all about functionality and efficiency, not cost,” adds Helle. “We were intent on getting the right system.” Offerings from three EPoS providers were tested against the Group’s criteria. “An F & B orientation was critical. We also looked for integration and interfaces with our other systems, such as OpenTable™ and Fourth Hospitality. Finally, given our projected growth, we had to satisfy ourselves with the strength of the reporting we would get.”
“TISSL was definitely the best option. It’s very flexible. We can set our own boundaries and do just what we want with it. By contrast, we found other systems rigid.”
Today, the hotels and restaurants have a comprehensive EPoS solution from TISSL which they deploy on fixed-point touchscreen terminals and on tablet PCs in the restaurants and bars.
TISSL is now installed in all four establishments, accessed via contemporary PC-based touchscreen EPoS terminals. The Grain Store system is stand-alone given its location. Each of the hotels hosts a server, and tablet PCs are used in the restaurants to facilitate service.
“As the Group has evolved, so we have become better at deploying technology,” observes Edgard Helle. “Our most recent implementation, Grain Store, was our best in terms of rollout and training.” He concedes that the Hotel and Townhouse implementations were complex, “one server, two cellars, two businesses, different revenue centres”.
Whilst he describes the business as “still learning” in technology terms, the solution in place today is comprehensive and operationally straightforward. The hoped-for integration with Fourth Hospitality’s FnB Shop for stock management has taken place and TISSL has also built an interface with XN Hotels’ PMS for efficient data exchange. An interface with OpenTable is in the process of going live.
“TISSL is certainly much faster than what our staff have been used to. We like the fact we can tailor system to the way each business runs.”
Comments Helle: “Information access is very important to us. We do all our reporting on a departmental basis and we’re working to make sure that our data and our back-of-house operations are neat, projecting the business forward for its next 10 years.”
TISSL is providing the flexibility the business was looking for, at the same time making it more efficient.
“I don’t want my team spending five minutes on a task if they can spend one minute on it and four minutes with the guest.”
The reliability of the hardware that TISSL has supplied comes in for praise. “The performance and look and feel are fine.” Helle is particularly keen to have fingerprint recognition on every terminal. “This makes our POS operations secure and easy to track.” Other new elements include a cash handling function which is being bespoke-developed by TISSL.
There are compliments too for the service that TISSL technical teams provide to The Zetter Group. ”Support is great, really good. They follow up, they chase up.”
The Zetter Group’s plans don’t stop there. Shortly to be opened will be Seymour’s Townhouse. This Mayfair establishment will share the family feel of the Group’s other hotels but will bring an individual style to this upscale location. As always, the focus will be on service and on ‘the experience’.
“Passion and personality run through our businesses, and reliable systems like TISSL helps us focus on that,” concludes Edgard Helle.
“At all our establishments, you can do something you can really be proud of.”
Location: St John's Square, Farringdon, London