Aures Case Study: Coffee #1
“AURES was very responsive from the start, it is a very refreshing company to deal with. On the account management and project management side they were very impressive, the installations teams they sent out were great and the logistics for such a big, time-constrained project was excellent. We’re very pleased with the YUNOs, very pleased with the speed of the terminals in particular.” Mark Gurney, Head of Store Systems
Coffee #1 likes to stand out from the crowd when it comes to creating the ideal environment to enjoy a cup of coffee. While many rival chains go for practical, modern, stripped back decor, Coffee #1 is all about homely creature comforts – big sofas and real wooden tables.
And that reflects the fact that, while most coffee outlets these days are geared towards the quirks of fast-paced, caffeine-fuelled, on-the-move modern culture, Coffee #1 believes that a good cup of coffee is something that should be savoured. From the quality of their coffee to their decor, Coffee #1 sets out to encourage customers to stay a while and linger over that second cup.
Coffee #1 opened its first outlet in Cardiff in 2001. During its first decade in business, the company stayed relatively small, opening a further 14 coffee shops across South Wales and the South West of England, and twice winning Cafe Society’s Coffee Bar Chain of the Year award.
That success and an obvious platform for growth prompted a buy-out by Cardiff brewery company SA Brain. The years since have seen the chain grow rapidly, reaching 50 outlets just four years after the takeover in 2015. Then, in January 2019, national coffee shop chain Caffè Nero bought a 70% controlling stake in the business. To date, Coffee #1 operates 101 cafes.
After completing the purchase of Coffee #1, Caffè Nero took the decision to implement the same EPOS software system it used in its own-brand outlets across the newly-acquired chain.
As Caffè Nero’s Head of Store Systems Mark Gurney explained, the primary focus of the project was therefore not primarily on a hardware upgrade. “What we were trying to do was align a broad sweep of Coffee #1’s internal operations, such as EPOS, inventory, BI, the YoYo payment wallet app and so on, using the EPOS platform we were already familiar with,” said Mark.
“But as it happened we weren’t overly impressed with the EPOS terminals already installed in the Coffee #1 outlets. They were underpowered for our purposes, poorly designed and quite a few had reliability issues. So we thought it made sense to roll out the new software with a fleet of new tills for every store.”
The only downside to this approach was that, by the time the decision was taken to upgrade the in-store EPOS hardware as well, timeframes were getting very tight. With the new EPOS system due to go live in September, that left only a four to five week window to pull out the terminals in all 95 Coffee #1 stores, install new ones and configure the software ready for launch.
Mark explained that AURES was chosen for the project on the strength of its reputation for quality hardware, reasonable pricing and recommendations that the company would be able to meet the tight deadline even across so many stores.
“We chose the AURES YUNO all-in-one terminals with Intel i3 processors and 15.6” touchscreens,” said Mark. “Most Coffee #1 outlets now have two tills each, with a few still running just one, so you’re talking something in the region of 170-180 tills to install in just a matter of weeks.
“AURES was very responsive from the start, it is a very refreshing company to deal with. On the account management and project management side they were very impressive, the installations teams they sent out were great and the logistics for such a big, time-constrained project was excellent. The kit they sent out to store was basically plug-and-play, all the SSD drives and so on had been preconfigured, so it was just a case of getting them plugged in and switched on, everything worked a treat.”
In terms of performance of the YUNO terminals since installation, Mark said he has been equally impressed. “We run our own UK help desk so everyone here is very close to what is happening on the ground in stores. We’re very pleased with the YUNOs, very pleased with the speed of the terminals in particular. We use a Windows-based EPOS platform, so there are speed sensitivities around things like how long it takes for Windows to load after a reboot and so on. The YUNOs handle that no problem.
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