Going Cashless with Leyton Orient Football Club

“You only know a system like this is good because of the issues it doesn’t create. I think it’s a testament to SumUp that we’ve had next to no issues”.

Leyton Orient is London’s second-oldest professional football club. The club, which regularly attracted an average crowd of around 6000, was taken over by a new management team 3 years ago. The new team quickly conducted a tender exercise to procure a new POS system that would dramatically improve the club’s hospitality capabilities and processes.

What was the previous POS solution?

As a club, we wanted to join the 21st century because our previous system was more like the 19th Century! We had a very manual process with cash payments.

Our food and beverage operations was an area that had been neglected for a long time. We needed to bring improvements from the quality of our food to the speed and simplicity of our service. Slow service, such as in the key half time period, means that the fan buying refreshments will be unhappy. An unintended consequence of the slow service was that you also risk annoying the other fans around them when they walk past if the game has restarted.

What were the unique circumstances of your business that the POS had to address?

The new system had to be just at home in the corporate and non-matchday areas of the business such as our bars and restaurants as it is on a busy stadium concourse.

We have 12 catering units, which, for the size of the stadium, is relatively large. The stadium is a “concrete jungle” and as a result, our wifi setup was a long way from being perfect. We knew we would have to do a lot of WIFI configuration with our new partner as we wanted our new POS systems to be wirelessly connected.

What kind of insights were you looking to get from your EPOS system?

Along with live-stock reporting; we needed to know what was being spent and when it was being spent. We also wanted a system that could allow us to reward our fans loyalty and purchases with incentives and discounts. For example, we’d like to reward the fans that turn up to the match early and buy a drink and a burger and be able to incentivise those who turn up on at kickoff time to arrive a bit earlier which can help to build the atmosphere in the stadium.

What was the fan experience like before, and what did you want to change for them?

We take great pride in the amount of dialogue with our fans and other stakeholders. The feedback was that the service just was not quick enough and simple things like taking a card payment took a long time as the customer had to wait for a card reader to become available. In a time-sensitive pre-match or half time environment, this was not acceptable. So our feedback was that we not only had to speed up the service for the fans but also allow the catering staff to serve their customers in a more efficient way.

What was included in the tender process and why did you choose SumUp?

We wanted a provider that understood the complexities of a stadium like ours, would work with us, understand our problems and work with our IT partner to understand the WIFI requirements. For example, we are surrounded by apartments and flats, and it’s a concrete and metal jungle in the concourses. We wanted a simple-iPad based system that would scale with us as we required, was simple to use, robust and didn’t take up a huge amount of space – which many other providers were unable to provide us in such a simple way.

How did you find out about SumUp?

It was recommended to us. We didn’t even need to see it in the live stadium as we knew from the credentials SumUp have, and the calibre of the people recommending us to them, that they could and would deliver. But we did a lot of research and knew we wanted a provider who combined experience in the intricacies of the sports environment with a passion for their service – which is why SumUp shone within the tender process.

How did SumUp meet the challenge?

Very swiftly, very keenly. They ticked all the boxes. We even had a test phase that ironed out any minor teething issues within the day before it went live to fans. The customer service team is always available to quickly address any issues that come up.

The system integrates with all non-matchday operations and all matchday concessions. It’s such a seamless system that you often forget it’s there as it just works. I think that is a testament to any IT related system that it works without any issues.

Many providers promised an engineer to be on-site when their system went live for the first match, but SumUp went above and beyond and attended the first four matches instead of just the first two contracted ones – which gave us increased confidence that if a problem occurred, an expert was there to solve it.

How has SumUp changed the way you work?

Before getting a POS system our cash taking was 85-90%. Pre-lockdown we managed to move this to a 50/50 split with cards – and when we open up again with crowds we’ll be going 100% cashless to maintain a COVID-secure environment.

How has your turnaround improved?

In the past, people would have been fearful of queuing up as they thought they would not be served in time and miss the action on the pitch. Our fan focus groups were full of praise for the speed of service as a result of the new POS system, which helped improve our overall food and beverage experience leading to an increase of 15% in average order transaction values and the ability to serve 20% more people in our key pre-match and half-time windows solely through having put the SumUp POS system in place.

What features were most useful to you?

There were a number of improvements that SumUp has allowed us to implement operationally for both matchday and non-matchday. We really appreciated the ease of reporting. When you get nothing but positive feedback from your staff and your management team you know the product is good!

For instance, we now know what is selling and what is not. Before we didn’t know if we’d sold 500 pies or 50 pies! It helps us to drill down into each stand and each concession area to see what products are popular and what are not – leading to better stock management and control.

The insights of knowing what sold and therefore what stock we’ve got left sounds like the basics, but we weren’t able to do it – but now we can as part of our standard procedure.

How have you found SumUp to work with?

Absolutely first class, no issues at all. Their service is something that we recommend to other clubs – it’s a testament to the account management and customer service that you deliver.

What advice do you have for other venues?

Make sure you fully understand the requirements of your whole team. I’d recommend that anyone wanting to implement a new POS system should spend an event day working with your catering staff so that you can fully understand the issues that the new POS system has to address. Only then can you write a tender document to find a supplier that delivers a solution. “The product is as good as the service and the service is as good as the product”.

SumUp Team