The famous Balans Soho Society group of restaurants and bars was about to open its seventh restaurant, in Ealing, London.
With a particularly demanding clientele – its slogan is: “A haven for the convivial” and the group numbers many celebrity guests – Balans decided to continue its relationship with NFS and deploy the Aloha restaurant management system that has already proved its worth at their other branches.
The deployment has paid off – and the group is particularly impressed with the loyalty programme it has been able to set up, with loyalty customers spending more than 40% more than non-loyalty guests.
Who? Balans Soho Society’s new Ealing restaurant
What? Aloha Table service EPOS software from NFS
Why? Operational efficiency and great customer service, loyalty
When? 2019 at the new Ealing branch
Balans Soho Society
Balans has always been ahead of trends. First started by business partners David Taylor and Prady Balan in the 1970s as a sandwich outlet, the group has become famous for hosting celebrity hangouts and delicious late-night dining.
Balans (now run by David Taylor) now has no fewer than seven restaurants across London and beyond, from Soho to Stratford City. Attracting the most up-to-date and savvy clientele, its menu is big on breath-taking brunches, quintessentially Balans mains and fabulous cocktails.
Opening a new restaurant in Ealing – in the extraordinarily competitive London market – this famed group bills itself as a “haven for the convivial”.
So it knew it was crucial to deliver the same impeccable standards of operational efficiency and delicious customer service that have made its other six restaurants and bars such a celebrated three-decade success.
The Ealing restaurant got off to a great start and is proving a real hit with customers with the help of its Aloha EPOS software.
“The system does exactly what we need – we find working with NFS very smooth thanks to having a key account person allocated.” – Kieran Crosby, Operations Director, Balans Soho Society
The benefits for Balans
As well as keeping operations streamlined and customer service moving effortlessly, Balans has had great success using its Aloha EPOS software to create targeted loyalty schemes and offer gift cards to enhance the customer experience.
The company believes the restaurant management software has created a big uplift – loyalty customers on average spend up to 42% more than non-loyalty customers.
“We’ve created an online loyalty programme where our customers are in control of how they use it, and that’s really helping to drive repeat visits,” says Kieran.
Balan’s staff also use Aloha Mobile to take customer orders and payments at tableside, using iPads. It means orders go directly to the kitchen for swift delivery, without any chance of human error.
Aloha EPOS software can integrate with kitchen automation to streamline food production, and the intuitive interface means it’s simple to get staff up and running on the system.
“Our FOH staff find Aloha very easy to use – the system is common in the restaurant industry and many have used it before, so they have familiarity with it.” – Kieran Crosby
Aloha has moved well beyond simple EPOS, and now creates a better-connected workflow within the restaurant and throughout the customer journey from online reservations through seating, dining, paying and loyalty – it even monitors social media reputation.
Like other users of Aloha, Balans also benefits from the business insight provided by the system. For restaurant groups, it gives an unprecedented end-to-end view of operations, with comprehensive reports including sales, labour and stock control, and accurate forecasting.
NFS has a long-standing relationship with this prestigious restaurant chain, which made Aloha a natural choice when Balans was getting ready to open the new Ealing branch.
“We chose NFS because Aloha is working well in the rest of our estate,” says Kieran.
“Aloha does exactly what it needs to do – and we find it very reliable. We’d recommend it.”
Balans anticipates that using Aloha Mobile will increase efficiency, table turn and revenue during the coming summer months.