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5 Ways Lightspeed Helped Traverse Alpine Overcome Challenges & Grow

5 Ways Lightspeed Helped Traverse Alpine Overcome Challenges & Grow

With eight incredible venues, including several restaurants, a hotel and a spa, Traverse Alpine Group is a hospitality heavy-weight in regional Victoria. Unsurprisingly, the group is the largest hospitality employer in Falls Creek and is quickly growing its presence in Albury-Wodonga.

With a passion for exceptional food and beverage offerings in the most beautiful of settings, Traverse Alpine Group are at the forefront of the quickly evolving regional hospitality scene. However, running a business–particularly several large-sales hospitality venues–inevitably comes with challenges.

From employing seasonal staff to coordinating a 300-seat venue during the lunchtime rush, Traverse Alpine Group needed a POS platform that was user-friendly for their seasonal staff yet sophisticated enough to easily manage key aspects of the business, from service to sales and reporting in one centralised system.

To understand more about Traverse Alpine Group’s challenges, plans for growth and the secret to their success, we spoke to Nathan Roberts, Executive Assistant Manager of Traverse Alpine Group, who walked us through the business and his experience with Lightspeed.

The challenges of running a large-scale venue

Running any type of hospitality business comes with its challenges, and the same goes for Traverse Alpine Group’s venues, particularly Cloud 9, the group’s largest and most complex operation. 

“The venue seats about 300 people,” comments Nathan. “Our peak service period is literally like 2 to 3 hours… I managed that venue last year, and you literally ramp up for 2 hours, and then you just completely dissipate 2 hours later.” 

“Currently, it’s had one summer of renovation where they’ve completely re-done the back of house, and the following summer, they’re expanding the restaurant.”

This presents the team with a unique set of challenges, as the back of house is ready and equipped to handle large numbers of guests, whereas the front of house isn’t quite there yet.

“The real challenge in that restaurant is the services isn’t the right style. It needs to be quick, fast, and good food. But we always have not enough seats… So we’re trying to increase how many people we can get in that building,” explains Nathan.

“The real challenge is the kitchen can cope with more people, but it doesn’t have the capacity to cope with more people in that space.”

With this in mind, it was imperative that Cloud 9 and the broader group of venues had a POS system that could ensure seamless communication between FOH and BOH to boost efficiency. 

Plus, as a large, multi-site operation, it was also crucial for Traverse Alpine Group to have a user-friendly platform for their seasonal staff yet sophisticated enough to constantly evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of a large-scale hospitality business.

That’s where Lightspeed stepped in.

How has Lightspeed helped Traverse Alpine Group?

  1. Easy-to-use POS makes it simple for new staff to learn and start serving
  2. KDS saves the kitchen time and reduces paper waste
  3. Easy set-up and support when you need it
  4. Quick and easy to update the POS, even if you’re not on-site
  5. Industry-leading POS that’s continually improving the software instils confidence

1. Easy-to-use POS makes it simple for new staff to learn and start serving 

Based in Victoria’s largest ski resort, seasonality is the nature of the game for the majority of Traverse Alpine Group’s venues. As a result, they often have seasonal staff who work the winter ski period and then head off somewhere else during the low season.

‘We have about 150 people in winter,” explains Nathan. “But it might be 20 or 30 over the off-season.”

“We have staff for 16 weeks. And then they’re off to somewhere else… We’ve never officially worked it out, but it might be 20-30% of staff who return.”

While the group has a core team that works year-round and has staff who return season after season, the venues often rely heavily on recruiting and training new staff every year. This meant they needed a user-friendly POS platform so seasonal staff could quickly familiarise themselves with the system and get up and running, serving customers.

One of the appeals of Lightspeed was we felt like there was a nice, easy, user-friendly interface there.”

“We just need a simple, easy, foolproof system that runs and doesn’t require a lot of knowledge to get going… That was one of the reasons we chose [Lightspeed].”

2. KDS saves the kitchen time and reduces paper waste

As Nathan mentioned earlier, having such a large venue like Cloud 9, which has a peak lunchtime rush, often means the kitchen and FOH staff are under the pump. Couple this with the fact that many venues are seasonal, and operational efficiency becomes paramount. 

As with any business, time is money, and anything that can speed up orders flowing in and out of the kitchen is a win. 

With the help of Fresh KDS and Lightspeed, Traverse Alpine Group has eliminated their paper dockets, making their order flow completely digital – enhancing efficiency in the kitchen.

Every restaurant should have a KDS,” comments Nathan. “We’ve gone from paper dockets to completely paperless.”

While paper dockets serve a purpose, they can easily get misplaced or damaged, which can impact customer orders. However, with a KDS, it’s easy to see all orders on one screen, boosting efficiency and eliminating the need for docket paper–saving precious dollars every month.

“Lightspeed has allowed us, with its integration partners, to be able to [go paperless] and to have [the KDS screen] the way we want it.”

3. Easy set-up and support when you need it

One of the things Nathan loves most about Lightspeed is how easy it is to get up and running, such as adding new products and menu items.

“I’ve been basically setting up with guidance from Lightspeed,” explains Nathan. “But it’s a system that once you really understand it really well, like I do, it’s something that I can just run with.”

“It’s just a matter of locking the pieces together and knowing the right button to press that makes it all work.”

However, if Nathan or any of the team run into any difficulties, they know Lightspeed’s support team is always on hand to assist with their questions.

In fact, Nathan comments on how much he loves the support Traverse Alpine Group gets from Lightspeed and how quickly the team can help resolve any issues the business might have.

“We’ve got great support that we have been utilising and a great core team that are helping us finalise any kind of challenges we face through the season.”

4. Quick and easy to update the POS, even if you’re not on-site

Another feature Nathan loves about Lightspeed is how quick and easy it is to change things like pricing and menus, even if he’s not on site.

With many legacy POS systems, managers have to be on-site if they want to make any changes within the POS system. However, that’s not the case with Lightspeed.

As long as Nathan has access to a device with an internet connection, he can log in to the POS back office and make any necessary changes that will immediately reflect on the platform’s front end.

“Someone was messaging last night saying, Oh, can we change this? And I’m literally just sitting there doing it on my phone. Which feels like a world away from where we were previously. explains Nathan. “I can just look it up, change it, off it goes.”

Not only does this help Nathan manage the different venues remotely, but it also means he can always check how things are going at each location – such as the number of dinner sales – without having to physically be on site. 

This is a game changer for someone who has to manage multiple venues, as it makes it easier to manage certain aspects of the business remotely, saving time that can be reinvested elsewhere in the business.  

5. Industry-leading POS that’s continually improving the software instils confidence

As a leading group in Australia’s regional hospitality scene, Traverse Alpine wanted to partner with a platform that could scale and grow with the business, and Nathan saw Lightspeed as the perfect fit for their business.

“It was one of those systems I was like, it just feels right; these guys are with up with the times… I guess [Lightspeed] just felt more modern. It felt more up-to-date.”

Nathan also believes that Lightspeed is at the forefront of hospitality technology and is pushing the boundaries to continually improve its POS and software offerings.

“We try our best to be leading in that tech space with hospitality. And Lightspeed felt like they had that connection for us as well… You guys seem to be trying to push the boundaries and trying to improve your system.”

As a result, Nathan believes Lightspeed has helped the group gain a competitive edge against their competitors, as well as helping the business overcome challenges and grow. 

[Lightspeed] has given us a bit of a competitive edge around other hospitality businesses.”

“It’s provided some great solutions for challenges that we’ve had. And it’s helped us grow as a business.”

What’s next for Traverse Alpine Group?

When we asked Nathan what’s next for Traverse Alpine Group, he first reflected on the success of Cloud 9 and how it’s evolved from somewhere that wasn’t always popular to a palace. 

“The restaurant’s gone from being somewhere that nobody ever wanted to go to because it was just deep fried, nothingness. And now, it’s super busy all the time.”

Looking to the future, Nathan is focused on growth but is cognisant that growing multiple venues at once could be challenging. 

“I guess there’s always room for more growth… Unfortunately, it’s such a broad scope with all the different venues.”

However, he acknowledges that if they can improve just one per cent each time, they’ll continually work towards creating a better experience for both customers and staff. 

“It does feel like we’re, in many facets, maturing into what we hope is a really great business. I guess aspirationally for the businesses, it’s just about improving that 1% that we can do, that just make that experience better for both our staff and our customers and everyone around us.” 

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More of this topic: Management & Operations