Landmark Overhauls Management Tools

Buffalo Brewpub sees rapid ROI with IBM hardware and Aloha point-of-sale software.

When working at a landmark restaurant, change is sometimes not as welcome as the customers. But in the case of the Buffalo Brewpub, in Williamsville, N.Y., it was just what the IT manager ordered.

The pub had been using the same proprietary restaurant management system for 10 years. Generally speaking, the system was akin to running Windows 3.1 in stand-alone mode rather than Windows XP in a network setting.

For Keith Morgan, general manager and controller of the restaurant, the time had come to upgrade. Eager to jump ahead of the technology curve but just as eager to get it right, Morgan clocked more than 100 hours evaluating restaurant management systems from Action Systems Inc., Menusoft Systems Corp., Micros Systems Inc., PixelPoint Technologies and POSitouch.

But Morgan knew he couldnt pull off a major systems upgrade alone. For help in procurement and deployment, Morgan turned to solutions provider Systems Technology Group Inc., of Orchard Park, N.Y, which partners with developers of hospitality software.

For example, STG works closely with Agilysys Inc. (the distributor formerly known as Pioneer-Standard Electronics), of Atlanta, to recommend, sell and design hospitality systems.

Agilysys also knows its way around a restaurant. The distributor last year acquired Kyrus Corp., a Taylors, S.C., solutions provider that ranked among IBMs top POS hardware resellers.

With the stars aligning, Morgan zeroed in on IBM hardware and POS software from Aloha Technologies, a division of Radiant Systems Inc., of Alpharetta, Ga.

"I chose the Aloha system based on what the software had to offer," said Morgan. "And by standardizing on IBM equipment, I knew my hardware would be around for years to come."

For its part, STG won Morgans confidence because the solutions provider allowed him to be involved in the systems programming and setup.

"Keith [Morgan] is an educated buyer who understands what he wants and how to use software to drive business profitability," said STG President Gary Kielich. "After we examined his business processes, we recommended a POS solution that can grow and adapt with his business."

More than 50,000 restaurant systems are currently running Alohas software. STG ordered the new restaurant management system for Buffalo Brewpub in mid-October last year. The IBM POS hardware and Aloha software arrived in late November, and STG configured the system to run in time for Buffalo Brewpubs target date of Dec. 1.

"STGs technicians worked closely with me to get the proper menu setup and dining room layouts arranged," said Morgan. "We were able to test the system and train our staff without skipping a beat."

Next page: Rapid ROI.