Combo redevelops and manages historical buildings in some of the most famous Italian cities and transforms them into multi-function hospitality spaces featuring restaurants, bars, hostels, music and event venues, and more. The brand also runs a radio station featuring new, emerging artists.
When they started to look for a software solution to manage their processes, Combo focused the search on platforms that unite retail, F&B and hospitality functionality into a single solution. “We run a mixed business, with food, events, cultural exhibitions,” says Francesco Prone, CFO at Combo. “It’s not easy to find a technology partner that can handle all of these services within a single approach.” The goal was to implement just one platform that could deliver a single, centralized view of the business. As Combo has ambitious plans for the future, flexibility was also an important factor during the software selection process.
Finding the right solution
After investigating multiple solutions and technology providers, Combo selected the holistic F&B and hospitality software solution by LS Retail, built on Microsoft Dynamics ERP. As Combo was already using Microsoft Dynamics NAV to manage its financials, it was a natural step to choose an industry solution built on the same platform. The LS Retail solution adds deep hospitality functionality to the ERP, while maintaining the familiar Microsoft business logic.To implement and adapt the solution to its needs, Combo selected Cluster Reply, a local LS Retail implementation partner and gold Microsoft partner with over 20 years of experience in the industry.“Both the implementation of the system and the data migration were quick and painless,” says Prone. “At the time, we only had one location. We are now up to three locations running on LS Retail software, and have been consistently satisfied with the speed of implementation.”
A centralized, holistic view
With the LS Retail software solution for hospitality, Combo has achieved a centralized, unified view of its processes, and can maintain total control over the whole enterprise. Information is automatically shared throughout the system, keeping stakeholders up to date at all times. “With the LS Retail system, we have removed duplicate work,” says Prone. “If one staff member uploads or updates specific data, this information is automatically distributed to all other employees. No need to send files or to use interfaces – the system manages it automatically, saving us time, possible errors, and needless extra work.”With the new system, Combo can:
- Manage prices, menus and stock orders All the data that management requires, from sales data to recipe lists, can be accessed from a centralized location, instantly.
- See real-time stock status. This means staff can always check the up-to-date availability of ingredients, dishes and drinks.
- Use just one system to manage all operations for its bars and restaurants, from reservations and organization of tables, to recipe planning and prepping, to front-of-house tasks such as taking orders and payments.
Flexibility and personalization
The new system has given Combo the flexibility the company was looking for. Today, they can:
- Organize their table setup as best suits them. Tables can be united, separated, or moved. The system can track table status (if a table is free, occupied, if guests have been served or are waiting), and update it automatically after a predetermined period of time or specific prompts, depending on settings.
- Offer guests to pay as they prefer, splitting the bill multiple ways and using different methods of payment.
- Archive recipes and manage meal deals (groupings of separate items that are sold at a special price).
Simpler, faster operations
Since implementing the LS Retail solution, Combo has managed to speed up its operations. “The LS Retail system has enabled us to modernize our processes and implement more effective ways of doing our tasks,” says Prone.The system automations have enabled the company to:
- Send bills directly from the mobile POS devices to the cash register.
- Have clear, straightforward communication between front of house and kitchen. Orders can be sent from the POS straight to the kitchen, enabling quicker and more precise production of dishes.
- Simplify its back office operations. The company can now perform cash transfers easily and accurately.
- Streamline warehouse Recipes and ingredients are connected to stock quantities, automatically updating the amounts in the warehouse, and automating goods receiving and sending.
The LS Retail solution is a unified system. This means that all staff members, from front of house, to back office to HQ, use the same software solution, and only have to be trained once. This is an important benefits for Combo. as simple staff training is a key goal for the company. “We experience quick front staff turnover. We needed a system that would be rapid to learn and simple to use,” says Prone. The intuitive interface of the LS Retail solutions has contributed to making new staff training quick and painless. “Compared to the system we had before, we can do the same things, but in a much simpler, more intuitive way,” Prone confirms. “We have seen a very short learning curve. Our front staff quickly becomes proficient in the system.”
Combo integrated the system with Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft’s cloud-based business intelligence and analytics platform. Thanks to Power BI, which was implemented by Cluster Reply, Combo can now analyze its sales by service type, compare to budget, and drill down by item, staff member, and more.
Ready for the future
The new software solution has made daily business much simpler for Combo, while also helping improve customer service. Guest waiting times have decreased, and the faster and more precise service has increased customer satisfaction. Since starting this journey, Combo has grown from one location to three, and they plan to keep on revolutionizing the world of hospitality with further locations. With the LS Retail software platform and Cluster Reply’s consulting and support, Combo is confident they’ll continue to provide customers with the high-quality, fresh experiences they have become known for.
With the LS Retail system, we have removed duplicate work. If one staff member uploads or updates specific data, this information is automatically distributed to all other employees. No need to send files or to use interfaces – the system manages it automatically, saving us time, possible errors, and needless extra work.Francesco Prone , CFO
We have seen a very short learning curve. Our front staff quickly becomes proficient in the system.Francesco Prone, CFO