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Hickory is an independently owned catering, events and venue management company operating five brands across Scotland. Launched in 2012, the company initially invested in an off-the-shelf event management software solution.
But as business expanded to include venues such as the Assembly Rooms and Merchants' Hall in Edinburgh, and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, Hickory realised that it needed a system that would work better across all areas of the business and offer bespoke functionality to plan and run successful events.
The company accordingly developed Hickory Hub, a bespoke enterprise resource planning system that is used in every area of the business, including sales, events and planning, kitchen, operations, logistics, finance, marketing and at board level. It is a major investment in rationalising the customer journey, and such was its potential impact that the investment was supported by a design grant from Scottish Enterprise.
Based in the cloud, Hickory Hub can be accessed by all members of the team wherever they are. The system has generated efficiencies across the business, allowing the sales team to quickly populate proposals within minutes of leaving a venue, for instance.
Clients are also assigned their own login so that they can accept, reject or request additional information at the touch of a button.
As venues can have their own licence, the system lets Hickory collaborate more effectively through linked dashboards. Both the venue and Hickory can then see exactly where a customer is in their journey and when payments are required. Venues can also sign up for a standalone CRM system to manage all their own bookings and events.
Furthermore, the system integrates with Hickory's finance system and staff scheduling software, while departmental dashboards are available with personalised reports. For example, the kitchen team can see the next two weeks' worth of menus at events at a touch of a button, finance can see debtors' reports, marketing can keep an eye on leads and the sales team can keep on top of their clients.
Hickory says it's a system that it will continue to develop, with further functionality to include marketing automation and an operational staff portal for event-specific information. It believes the technology is driving the business forward and ahead of the competition, and our judges agreed.
What the judges said
"An all-encompassing system built and developed in-house that addresses the needs and potential of a complex business. A great use of technology in our industry."
The Genuine Dining Co
Mike O'Mahoney, chief financial officer, Generator Hostels
Jane Pendlebury, chief executive, HOSPA
Diana Spellman, managing director, Partners in Purchasing
Carl Weldon, chief operating officer, Hospitality Finance and Technology Professionals
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