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September update: The Mulberry Tree – tapping into technology

18 September 2009
September update: The Mulberry Tree – tapping into technology

The Mulberry Tree is situated in three acres of land in the Kentish countryside and proprietor Karen Williams says its rural location has its drawbacks. "We are too far from the exchange to have broadband, which is a huge hindrance for the business," she explains.

As a result the restaurant has no online presence on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook.

"I have tried writing to the chairman of BT and our local MP in an effort to change the broadband situation, but to no avail. I really cannot stress how prohibitive and frustrating the lack of broadband is to our business and the negative effect it has."

However, the Mulberry Tree's website has proved a big success and has generated a lot of business. The website, which is mainly picture-led and updated on a regular basis, includes sample menus and links to the restaurant's suppliers as well as an awards page that lists recent accolades and press coverage. "We also added the facility for people to join our database by clicking on a link, which has proved popular, and we have received lots of requests since its inception," Williams adds.

The restaurant uses Sage for both its accounting and payroll systems. "I looked at outsourcing payroll, but the costs of this were prohibitive at this stage in the business development," she says.

"We do not have a computerised order or till system but because we are relatively small and family-run, there is currently no need for this. Regular stocktakes ensure there is nothing untoward going on with stock levels."

Mentor Roy Ackerman empathises with Williams's broadband problem. "It seems Karen has done all she can to deal with the issue of her lack of broadband," he says.

"While I am no expert on this subject, there are designated experts who may be able to help Karen with this issue. I suggest she contacts the Restaurant Association for assistance, which has recommended experts covering subjects such as this."

Ackerman praises the Mulberry Tree's website, saying it's very well designed. "Karen has clearly thought about her target audience with great depth and has designed the website accordingly," he says.

"It's great that she is linking to press coverage and the accolades the restaurant has won - you can never shout enough about your awards and achievements. While it might seem old news to Karen, it's new news to those visiting the website for the first time and highlighting achievements will certainly encourage people to book," Ackerman says.

Hermitage Lane, Boughton Monchelsea, Kent ME17 4DA
01622 749082
www.themulberrytreekent.co.uk

SEPTEMBER UPDATE

The Mulberry Tree was earlier this year named the regional winner for the South East by The Good Food Guide. It has been listed in the 2010 edition of the guide, which was published earlier this month, with a score of four out of 10. "We have already taken a couple of bookings as a result of this so it can only have a positive effect on business," says proprietor Karen Williams.

She has compiled a calendar of special events and will be hosting themed evenings once a month to boost the restaurant's cash-flow.

"We had our first music evening last month with a classical duo playing violin and piano," Williams explains. "This month we will host a ‘Rat Pack'-style jazz evening and next month we'll be putting on a wine-tasting evening organised by our wine supplier Bibendum.

"In November we will hold another of our gourmet evenings, which have been really popular with our regular guests," she comments.

All events are promoted via the restaurant's database and cards on tables.

The Mulberry Tree also hosted its first big wedding last month, which was held on a Sunday late afternoon and evening, when the restaurant is normally closed. A second wedding with exclusive use of the restaurant and garden took place at the beginning of September.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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