The Hill Station Café – serving much more than food and drink to the local community
About The Hill Station Community Café
The Hill Station Community Café, set up four years ago based in Lewisham in London, is an inspirational place, the aura of which you feel as soon as you enter the cosy atmosphere. Hundreds of local residents were involved in creating The Hill Station, which is more than just a café- it is a unique arts and entertainment hub.
In 2010, the local community set up a charity called Bold Vision, which was focused on fundraising and transforming a derelict under croft space under the Telegraph Hill Centre in Lewisham.
Stephen Carrick-Davies, who is one of the managers at Hill Station, commented: “At a time when people were talking about the ‘Big Society’, this small society conspiracy birthed something amazing. We are extremely proud of what has been created, and what the community has achieved.”
At the heart of the café is the provision of food and drink, but people wanted more than a café- they wanted a place where they could meet and network in relaxed, convivial surroundings. Today, The Hill Station offers a wide range of activities from cooking to art classes, as well as art exhibitions – with the principal objective of bringing the community together.
Carrick-Davies adds: “In an age of austerity, we have referred to ‘sweat equity’, where people from the community offer their time and good will. The people built the café, now they help to run it – to serve those around them. What we find is that food brings people together – it’s about social cohesion.”
Getting the service element right – working with Lolly
Traditionally, The Hill Station Café has always used a basic cash register system for serving customers and taking payment. But, as the project progressed, Stephen Carrick-Davies knew that they needed to upgrade their Point-of-Sale solution to something more advanced.
“We had reached the options and needed to install a solution that had the capability to provide detailed real-time information in terms of reporting. We needed updates on the sales made, to see which product lines were selling well at a given time, so that we could stock appropriately and serve our customers. We heard of Lolly through recommendation, so made contact to gauge what support they could offer.”
Following review and recommendation, the Lolly Smart was installed into Hill Station in summer 2014.
About the Lolly Smart Point of Sale System
The Lolly Smart is an ARM processor based all-in-one electronic point of sale system. It has been designed to be the perfect replacement for a traditional cash register at the point of sale. By combining a high functionality touch screen cash register with a countertop credit card machine through Lolly’ own expert integration, merchants benefit.
Tim Allen, Sales Director at Lolly, comments: “The Lolly Smart provides a first-rate entry point for merchants with a low cost of entry. It provides HQ-based reporting with integrated sales, stock analyses and other functionality, and is ideal for a company looking to scale as their business develops, as is the case at The Hill Station.”
Stephen Carrick-Davies adds: “The Smart has been invaluable, and since its installation we have really benefited from what it has delivered. “
“Everything is built around a touch screen, so for the operators or people working in the café, it is similar to using a mobile phone. At the same time, we are able to view the sales made in real time; this information is stored in the HQ, which means we can access it anywhere at any given time. It is really helping us to identify trends.”
Tim Allen adds: “We wanted to provide a simple yet powerful machine, which is intuitive.”
“We trained the team at The Hill Station on how to use the product, and from there it was ‘plug and play’, and the till was synched with the HQ – accessible from any device.”
“Should The Hill Station have any problems with the till, or need to swap it, this can be done quickly and easily with a new terminal plugged in, which can draw down all of the relevant, historical data from the HQ.”
Stephen Carrick-Davies: “We have been very impressed by the service provided by Lolly throughout the entire process, and we are delighted with what the till is achieving. It is making the day-to-day running of the easier, and gives us the ability to scale the operation up – should we chose to – at any stage.”
You can find out more about The Hill Station at www.hillstation.org.uk
About Lolly Systems
Consolis Systems is a specialist in integrated EPoS systems and payment processing.
The software and services company has a core focus on payment technology in the EPoS market, bringing innovative new services to the retail and hospitality markets. The company are ideally placed to provide efficient and cost effective solutions at the point of sale.