September update: The Taverners – tapping into technology

18 September 2009
September update: The Taverners – tapping into technology

Roger Serjent and Lisa Choi, the team behind the Taverners at Godshill on the Isle of Wight, are not afraid of using IT to help them run their business.

"I generally adapt quite well to new technology," says Serjent, adding a reasonable caveat: "Providing it is simple to use, saves time and gives results."

Following early discussions with their mentor Lee Cash, co-founder of the Peach Pub Company, the couple changed provider of the pub's electronic point of sale (EPoS) system to obtain more detailed statistical information.

But the move has not proved as successful as Serjent had hoped. "Unfortunately it looks like the company oversold its software," he admits. "While the new package has some good features, such as portion countdown, the previous system was easier to use for tracking sales.

"We feel the company has let us down with the service and we will probably swap back if it doesn't get it up-to-speed soon."

Meanwhile, the biggest headache for the pair is the new accounting system. Serjent explains: "Last year we had a spreadsheet set up and I knew where we were.

"The bookkeeper persuaded us to use Sage software and now I find it much harder to see the results I'm looking for, which gives me less control."

While Serjent sees little use for the likes of Facebook and Twitter at this stage in his business, he does recognise the need for a web-presence so that local holiday lets can link to the Taverners's website. "It also means we can direct people to the site if they want to see our menus," he says.

"We just wanted something simple and basic that we could add to in the future. I don't think it will drive much business as the island is very heavily reliant on word of mouth, which we find works well for us," says Serjent.

The website was launched at the end of August, so it is too soon to tell how much impact it will have on the business. As yet, the couple haven't used electronic mail-shots to promote the Taverners, but it is something they are considering for the future.

"It's the cheapest, easiest way to communicate," he advises. "Get their postcodes too so you can do a ‘come in winter' eâ€'mail for locals and another ‘are you coming to the Isle of Wight?' message to the mainland."

With the Taverners continuing a brisk trade, Cash admits that now may not be the time to promote the business. "You don't really need marketing if you are packed and making money."

High Street, Godshill, Isle of Wight PO38 3HZ
01983 840707


The bustling summer trade has drawn to a close on the Isle of Wight, but Roger Serjent and Lisa Choi remain as busy as ever. The couple still find themselves working 100-plus hours each week, which Serjent explains leaves them no time to make plans. Their mentor Lee Cash has helped them recognise the need to address this workload.

"We are looking at closing the pub entirely on Sunday nights," says Serjent. "And just operating a bar menu on Monday nights to allow us some time off to refresh."

The seasonal workers, made up mostly of students, have finished for the summer and returned to education. In addition, two full-time waiters have recently left the business and Serjent and Choi are in the process of trialling new starters to fill the vacancies.

The ongoing dispute with the pub's landlord, Punch Taverns, over liability of a collapsed external staircase to the upstairs flat continues, but a resolution is in sight for the waterlogged cellar. Serjent expects it to be dealt with in the coming week.

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