Getting Through This Together: Lolly’s Covid-19 Experience

Written by  
Denisa Richvalska
 min read
Getting Through This Together: Lolly’s Covid-19 Experience

Photo taken before Covid-19

In the wake of Covid-19 our industry continues to struggle and we all remain uncertain about what lies ahead. We wanted to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve come through, both the positives and negatives, and to share with you our Covid-19 story so far…

Thankfully, we have been fortunate at Lolly HQ. Our resourcefulness, attention to detail, and ethos have helped pull us through and we continue to support the hospitality industry.

So here’s a rundown, an A-J tale of Lolly’s Covid-19, with more to come…

Agility has been essential. Since the beginning of Covid-19, like most of our customers, we have had to keep on our toes, ready to adapt and react to whatever sudden development is announced.

Even before the pandemic hit the UK we were experiencing delays and logistical issues with our supply chain and stock arriving from China. Whilst these delay issues were dealt with by our team, who were able to prevent them from having an impact on project delivery, other issues have arisen since. Big installations were, and still are, being put back by weeks. Large clients, uncertain over whether exhibitions, events or developments are going ahead or not are holding back on ordering. Increasing numbers of last minute orders are putting more pressure on the supply chain. This continues even now, where we are seeing more last minute orders, as no one is able to plan too far in advance.

Buying product has become more difficult due to the delays on orders. At Lolly we buy equipment in and don’t invoice before install in order to support our customers. Last minute orders also increase cost, particularly due to faster shipping requirements.

All this has meant we have to ensure diligent cashflow management. It’s a hard time for everyone so we are also having to respond to late payments from customers as they manage their own cashflow.

Communication is always important. However, with remote working, increasingly challenging business environments, and the ever-changing situation, communicating well and efficiently has been critical – across every level of the business.

At the beginning remote working was a real change for our team. The dynamics of our development team were really affected as they are used to all being in a room together, throwing about ideas for the next technology updates. Yet we’ve all adapted well, maintaining strong commmunications and the team have come together from afar to work on new projects and to set up specialist systems for customers.

Development was our real focus over the lockdown months. The lockdown was in some ways a positive moment for our team as we took a step back to think. As a business we spent significant time and investment on R&D - creating new systems and software to support our customers. We made a point of not furloughing our development team, so they could effectively use this time.

Environments are changing in hospitality. The ‘new normal’, with its social distancing and safety requirements is generating a need for new technologies, as well as accelerating demand for existing ones. For example, branded loyalty schemes will help hospitality businesses keep in communication and share their offerings and ethos with customers outside the physical store.

Flexiblility is essential. Lolly is working on delivering custom, affordable, flexible solutions for businesses that fit the new protocols and can be quickly adapted as the situation changes. With workforces and education establishments steadily returning, cashless systems, or digital wallets, are increasingly important.

Supporting flexibility is where bespoke PoS and payment systems are really coming into play. Flexible PoS units that can be deployed across sites, as well as pre-order and delivery apps, are helping to increase income, whilst reducing queues.

Government schemes and guidelines have kept us all on our toes, waiting to react to the latest news and tentative about what would happen next. Some of these schemes have given an incredibly positive boost to the industry, and other announcements not so much!

Helping out with software updates. For the VAT reduction rate we built new software that launched to allow flexible VAT reconciliation when applicable on a customer’s Lolly system.

We also built a new application for retailers so they could get money back from government during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Both of these were part of the Lolly service with no extra cost for retailers - helping them save precious time and money during this testing time.

Innovation is still important. We have to appreciate that there will be better times ahead and it’s possible many positive innovations and changes will come about as a result of our experience during Covid-19.

Journeying together with our customers. At the heart of all of this lies our ethos. Commitment to our customers and supporting them through whatever comes. As our Covid-19 story continues we won’t stop delivering and developing technology that brings improvements for all.

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