Back in December 2019, Matt Bettesworth & Monique Hope opened the doors to their now-iconic Camp Grounds cafe in Tamworth, NSW. Their goal was simple; in a local market where cafes were very food-focussed, they wanted to create a space where coffee was at the forefront, and where everybody would feel welcome.
This is a place where people can gather, and feel happy, with an emphasis on mental health awareness being very important to how they wanted their business to operate.
Since then they have expanded to a 2nd location in nearby Gunnedah where their love and passion for good quality coffee continues to provide locals and visitors alike with the kind of cup usually reserved for more cosmopolitan settings.
Matt continued with this mission to bring high quality coffee to regional Australia and to educate people on the importance of sourcing not only the best beans possible, but beans with a little heart too.
This means that they deal with around 50 different coffee suppliers over the course of a year, as their offerings rotate, and that has the potential to get slightly messy in the back of house come stock-take time.
We sat down with Matt (via Zoom), to talk about how Lightspeed’s products help him with the every-day running of his cafes.
Let’s talk about inventory management
“I think we utilise a lot of (features), it makes life so much easier.
“Prior to (Lightspeed Purchase), it would be a staff member going through par levels…going through separate suppliers, and all of the separate emails and ordering through that. With our business we have so many different distributors, different suppliers, it would be an hour, an hour and a half, some days two hours, just to place orders.”
And look, we’ve all been there; clipboard in hand, manually checking our par-levels against what we’ve got written down and wondering why the two don’t match up. We’ll jump onto our emails, or separate apps, or grab the phone to call suppliers directly to place new orders. It’s a lot of time that could be spent elsewhere.
“Now, it comes down to about half an hour…maximum 45 minutes, so we’re really getting our staff back on the floor very quickly, (getting them) back in the game to actually sell those products and get the money back in the door.”
And when it comes to inconsistent par-levels, well, that’s an issue that our industry knows a lot about, and it’s an area where a lot of money can be wasted ordering stock that your venue just doesn’t need.
Managing COGS & wastage
With Lightspeed Produce, there’s the ability to align your recipes with the stock you have on-hand. This means that you can fully track not only what items are selling, but also their COGS, and which ingredients they’re using.
“Regarding the cost of goods, because we’ve got the whole recipe attached to it, it means we can literally pull apart every day’s service…and actually have a good look at what is happening with our products. Are we utilising too much on this? Or why are we holding too much stock on certain items? (It means) we can make more critical judgments on what we need.”
Keeping your COGS down by knowing your wastage
Food wastage from restaurants and cafes account for around one third of Australia’s total food wastage each year, which translates to around $12.2 billion. This highlights the importance in lowering your wastage whenever possible, and Lightspeed Produce can help with that.
“One hundred percent (it helps with) less wastage. It just means that now we can order correctly to what we’re going through. We can see what is moving, what products are not moving, and make correct calls. I’ve seen a huge reduction in our wastage, (and) a huge reduction in products we’re holding onto.”
This is a crucial component in truly understanding where your wastage is coming from. Without being able to hone in on the specific areas where you’re losing money via wastage, you run the risk of over-ordering.
“…we have correct information of what is getting wasted, it means we’ve got correct information of what (the) cost of goods (is) — what products we’ve got in stock.
“By using this ordering process…we can make those calls (to) actually cancel (unnecessary) orders, or train the staff to understand why we (didn’t) need to order this…instead of visually going ‘this product’s moving very quickly, let’s order more of this’. Really, you might think it’s moving very quickly, but it could’ve just been a day here and there, you can actually just pull that information apart.”
The ease-of-use of Lightspeed’s products gave Matt more confidence to step into a new role and ease his own workload by delegating the ordering to his staff, and giving them the responsibility.
“It’s so much easier than calling up five or six suppliers a day, and four or five emails…”
“We saw this platform (as) an easy way for our new supervisors-in-training to learn how to order, but also giving them the control of ordering as well, instead of them coming directly to myself. They can literally grab any iPad, or any tablet, or computer, and they can go through and see (that) we’ve got ‘this much’ and actually put an order through. It’s really helped give accountability to our staff…as long as you’ve got the correct information in there, it’s so much easier than calling up five or six suppliers a day, and four or five emails.”
And whilst managing wastage, or over-ordering could be down to simply not knowing what stock you have on hand, it can also be down to not fully understanding what sells, and equally, what doesn’t.
Widening your profit margins with Insights
Using Lightspeed Insights, it’s possible to delve even deeper into the figures to see exactly how you’re performing. This is particularly important when it comes to really fine-tuning your business to make the most money possible, whilst keeping your business true to itself.
“The whole team uses Insights…the Insights app has definitely been a game-changer for all our supervisors…being able to, kind of, predict when we’re going to have the rushes, and predict when we can do breaks. Also (it) helps drive days when we’ve got a quiet day…they utilise that (information) to get Camp Grounds to where we need it to be.”
With this extra information on-hand, it’s possible to see where you can help yourself at every turn. It can really highlight areas you might never have thought to look beforehand, and has the potential to make profits from every situation.
“Being able to dive deeper into (Insights) and understand what products are selling, what the staff are doing, the ATVs, it helps when you’re getting all of this information (with) being able to write a more-true roster. It overloads into the bigger spectrum (of) when you need the people in-store, you know when to push staff, when to take breaks.”
There’s also time to be saved when all of your information is ready and at your fingertips.
“I remember looking at excel sheets (to understand) what your COGS are, and what products are moving this week. Now, it’s literally one click away…”
”You can go into Insights and go (for example) ‘how are ham bagels doing today?’, type in ‘ham bagels’, and see the whole trend of what they’re doing over a month, and if they’re selling, and what the profit margin (is). Before you’d have to sit in front of a computer for hours and hours, and work that out. Now it’s a ten-minute job — if that.”
Online ordering: making the most of the quiet times
Now, every cafe out there has times when their customers just seem to disappear. The bustling morning trade has ebbed away, and you start thinking about how these quiet patches could be better utilised to bring the customers back.
You tend to explore other streams of revenue, and other ways of getting more sales. And apart from the recent necessity to offer your products for takeaway, offering some form of delivery service is an excellent way to drive sales when your customers just aren’t physically showing up.
“Prior to Lightspeed Ordering we did have an online app (and) we had a lot of issues…that put us in the position of doing research into a new online ordering process, and when we came across Lightspeed Ordering…it made sense for us to go down this path because one, it connects with our system, it makes that job easier, it connects with our menu items which we update. Also…it has a great support network where we can reach someone and they have answers and can problem-solve in a manner of minutes.
“(Lightspeed Ordering) informs the customer ‘hey, Camp Grounds didn’t get your order. Pop your head in, let them know,’ and they can get their order under way.
“Simple stuff like that just makes the customer service so much better.”
And that’s been an issue in the past with third-party delivery partners; there’s been a real disconnect between the business, the customer, and the delivery service. Oftentimes there are orders put through that simply never made it to the business, or it’s particularly busy, and the order is delayed with little to no communication.
And that can evolve into a bigger problem if left unchecked. As more and more people are turning to some form of online ordering system, or order-ahead service to get their morning coffee, it’s important to ensure the customer experience isn’t jeopardised along the way.
“(Our customers) love it…they know if they place an order, it’s going to be ready, waiting on the windowsill when they arrive…they know they can pick it up straight away, and they’re going to get a delicious product.”
These options for online ordering and order-ahead are becoming more and more popular too.
“Probably ⅕ of our orders are through Lightspeed Ordering in Tamworth. Where we’re doing a $3k day…it’s a good chunk of our orders.”
Since our chat, that figure has actually risen to around 30% of orders, after spiking mid-lockdown to almost 50%.
Matt also utilises his own team for deliveries which is important as pickup is only half the story when it comes to online ordering. Customers are turning more and more to food delivery with an estimated 3 million Australians using food delivery services in 2021, and that number is expected to rise to 4.6 million by 2025.
It’s also important to have the platforms ready and available to take advantage of this trend.
Having your menu online puts it in front of anybody, wherever they are, giving you more eyes on your products, expanding your customer base and reach, which is potential sales coming through your door.
“(Our menu) is on our website, on our Instagram, it’s on our Facebook — it’s everywhere. It’s definitely increased our customer base and reach, but also I’d say it has more of an impact on our customer experience. I think it’s been a more positive customer experience…they are aware of what they’re ordering (and) their wait times.”
A final word from Matt
It’s around this point where I’d usually write a neat little conclusion to really drive home all of the points covered in an article, but it seems fitting on this occasion to give Matt the final word.
“We started off with the basic (plan)…and from there, each month, we looked at the features and thought, ‘well, this feature’s going to help with this,’ we slowly added all these features (and) we’re still adding features to our system.
“You’re making your life as a business owner easier.”