September update: The WildWood – tapping into technology
Dominic Wood from Wildwood bought an EPoS unit when he first acquired his business, instead of sticking to a run-of-the-mill till.
"I originally wanted to keep this old-fashioned till I had but it wouldn't work, and when the repair guy said it would cost more to fix than to buy a new one, I opted for the XN902 EPoS unit."
Wood says the system, which he got as a showroom model for £1,600, is now responsible for taking orders, stocktaking and cashing up. "It means we can be really precise about what percentage of food and drink we're selling so we can shape our market. I print off each night the net profit and gross profit and then log it all on Excel spreadsheets in order to keep tabs on the business."
He has also taken steps to embrace the social networking aspect of marketing, and has signed up to Twitter and Facebook. However, although Wood says Twitter is good for bulletins and linking to the restaurant's website he doesn't find Facebook much help.
"Things on Facebook have really quietened down recently, I just don't have the time for it. What I do find that rivals the website is MySpace. I know how to use it and it seems the local marketplace is more present on there. My profile page has had 2,000 hits to date. When I take on more staff and get off the floor, I hope to devote more time to blogging on the Facebook page."
Wood says that although the website is good, it's still quite simple. He wants to update the menus on there, and put more photos and details about Christmas, which he thinks will be his "bread and butter" for the year.
A surprising number of customers have come because of independent bloggers who have promoted the venue for free, in particular a coffee blogger rated the restaurant's coffee as "great". This has meant an increase in coffee lovers turning up at the restaurant.
Mentor Rupert Clevely says: "The whole question of IT is very difficult. It definitely helps, but a website is only as good as the way you use it. It's definitely an area for Dominic to focus on, making absolutely certain that he is driving people on to the website. Is he handing out cards telling people where to go and what to look for on it. If the website needs changes, Dominic needs to be proactive about making sure they get done.
"He should also embrace Twitter fully. People will increasingly use it and he needs to work out how to make it work for him."
90 Colston Street, Bristol BS1 5BB
0117 929 3627www.thewildwoodbristol.co.uk
"It's been a relatively quiet old summer, but recently we've seen an increase in party bookings for September and more and more enquiries for Christmas," says owner Dominic Wood.
The restaurant has also introduced a guest wine board, to complement the existing guest beers board. "We do two guest wines which are speciality wines from France with the cheapest being £18 a bottle," he says. "But it's an area we've missed in the past for wine connoisseurs. We've also launched wine and beer dinners where we offer three different wines or beers to complement the three courses.
"We're trying to teach people how to pair wine and beer with food without being pompous about it."