We are extremely pleased with the progress Black Pepper and Catton have made with the Par-q software, and look forward to expanding the platform in the future. Black Pepper have been instrumental in delivering the software efficiently and their focus on solving business challenges, not just complex technical problems, has been invaluable. Having Par-q integrate with the tills will be a big step for the software and the industry as a whole. Uniting all the software under one system will be hugely beneficial for all levels in the industry, and will reduce problems and increase overall efficiency within hospitality.
Catton Hospitality (Catton), has over 60 years of experience within the hospitality industry. They provide pubs, restaurants and hotel operators with services that deliver reduced labour costs, better sales forecasting and advice around improving operational performance such as assisting in the design of more ergonomic sites.
However, following a Discovery Workshop with the Black Pepper innovation team, it became clear that stock optimisation was the primary objective for Catton’s clients. Catton recognised a need for a platform to automate sales forecasting, stocktaking and ordering to reduce costs and increase efficiency within the hospitality sector, whilst also wanting to utilise the agile methodology.
Being able to meet their requirements in all these fields, Catton subsequently, gave Black Pepper the green light to design and build this end-to-end stock management system to help increase efficiencies for their clients.
From the outset, Black Pepper worked with Catton collaboratively to create the application, developing everything from the application’s user experience (UX) design to the fully scalable and robust server software. For example, the software has been developed as a web app for online use, as well as a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The mobile application needed to be able to support both online and offline stocktaking, as this process often takes place in the cellars, away from even the best Wi-Fi signals.
First class user experience and ongoing user feedback have been essential in the development of the software. Catton received this feedback from the outset by testing two beta versions of the platform in its own pubs. These beta versions have been constantly improved upon, with the software being developed iteratively, with new functionality being delivered every two weeks.
Par-q has been designed from the ground up to improve the efficiency of the supply chain. From using a tablet to count stock, through calculating the right amount of each product to order so that it is delivered ‘just in time’ for use, all the way to integration with suppliers’ systems.
It eliminates waste and errors, ensuring pubs will always have sufficient stock on hand when it’s needed, but are not tying up capital in excess stock.
From the supplier’s point of view, they get immediate visibility of ordering requirements from their customers and they can give instant feedback about how they are fulfilling each order. They also have the confidence to know that there will be fewer ordering mistakes and therefore fewer returns and restocking issues.
The Par-q software has been designed to reduce the overall costs and increase the efficiency within hospitality. Our job was to provide consultancy to Catton and work together to create a platform to provide accurate predictions in stocktaking, ordering and sales forecasting. The software will positively benefit jobs from junior levels to operators within the industry. It will enable the sector as a whole to understand its customer behaviour better, and rely on factual information, rather than just empiric observations.