Web Design London
14 / 02 / 2024

Event operators: 5 ways we can make your lives easier

Running events and entertainment venues is as hard work as it is rewarding. We’ve spent a lot of time in muddy fields and late-night venues, working with the likes of Event Live, AndMunch, Edinburgh Street Food, and fabric. During this time, we’ve refined our solution to ensure we meet the particular needs of events and entertainment operators. Read on to discover five ways we’ll make your life easier.

Key challenges faced by event operators

If you’re an event operator, whether at festivals, food markets, bars, nightclubs, or stadiums, we know you’re up against a variety of challenges:

  • Tight margins: Costs are up; spending is down. To maximise your revenue, you must squeeze every drop of value from your trading hours.
  • Challenging locations: It might be a greenfield site in the middle of nowhere or a nightclub two storeys below street level. Events and entertainment venues can be amazing for atmosphere but a nightmare for logistics.
  • Customer expectations: You need to deliver experiences that keep customers coming back for more. And, as tech advances, expectations only increase.
  • Multiple stakeholders: Perhaps you’re juggling the needs of traders alongside the demands of your event partner. And, if you operate a revenue share model, you might be managing fees and commissions manually.
  • Staff management: Whether you’re constantly onboarding temporary staff, or trying to assess optimal shift times, staffing is usually your biggest cost and can be your biggest headache.
  • Theft and wastage: Stock management is time-consuming and, more often than not, manual. And, while the majority of staff are honest, bad actors can cost you time and money.
  • Siloed systems, patchy data: Multiple systems that don’t talk to each other are expensive and labour-intensive to maintain. Plus, if your data isn’t connected, you’re missing out on valuable insights.

How we can help:

If any of the above sound familiar, you’re not alone; lots of our clients were struggling with the same things, which is why we came up with the following five solutions:

1. Faster payments

Speed is everything. As Paul Robson, of Westlands BBQ said: “15 to 20 seconds to process a payment might not sound like a lot. But, if you have a 12 to 14-hour trading day, these seconds start to add up and you’re suddenly looking at between 60 to 90 minutes of people standing there waiting for a payment to go through. That can cost us £1000 a day.”

That’s why we’ve doubled down on our processing speeds. And it’s worked. “With NOQ, we average about three to four seconds per transaction, which is fantastic,” concluded Paul.

Another potential bottleneck is hardware. If your staff are all sharing terminals, or having to wait their turn to use the EPOS, they’re wasting a lot of time. To speed things up, we offer all-in-one handheld terminals. The whole process is completed on one device and no one needs to share.

“NOQ’s handheld terminals are great,” said Brian Galbraith of Hickory Foods. “You place the order, you tap your card and ‘thank you very much’ – your drinks are there. What you’re not doing is faffing about on an iPad, and then the till as a separate element. It’s just brilliant, especially for festivals and events.”

Another operational nightmare is the loss of connectivity. In today’s cashless world, internet downtime can grind everything to a halt. To combat this, all of our terminals come with built-in offline processing capabilities. “NOQ’s offline service was fantastic. We could just continue processing orders, which is what you need to do,” said Brian.

NOQ POS & payment terminal

2. Better stakeholder management

Whether you’re managing multiple traders, keeping event clients happy, or wrestling with manual revenue share processes, we can help.

NOQ’s split payments feature lets you deduct a pre-determined amount during the transaction, and settle to everyone’s accounts automatically. You can set bespoke arrangements for different vendors. Whether it’s a simple percentage split, a fixed fee capped on monetary value, or an overrider split model, you have total flexibility.

Multi-trader management
Imagine if a single login to a single portal gave you an overview of all your traders. You’d be able to view and edit their menus and ensure all the allergen information and pricing is consistent. You’d be able to view aggregated reports and track performance as it happens. Meanwhile, your traders have their own portal to manage their menus and view and download reports specific to them. Sound good? Learn more about our multi-trader management feature in this article >

“It works so easily on a commission basis. It all gets set up beforehand in the backend so that every card payment is automatically split into whatever that commission agreement is. Then, every 72 hours, payments are settled directly into the accounts. This saves a lot of time and everyone knows when they are going to be paid, without any delays. It’s how business should be done; you don’t want anything more complicated than that.”

Split payments
Perhaps you have a bunch of independent traders from whom you need to collect your share of the revenue from. Or maybe your in-house traders’ takings need to be shared and distributed to event organisers and owners. Either way, it can be time-consuming to handle this manually.

Our split payments function automatically deducts predetermined percentages and settles the right amount into everyone’s accounts. This is something Vanessa Gilpin from AndMunch really values:

“A huge benefit of NOQ’s split payment feature is that it works so easily on a commission basis. It all gets set up beforehand so that every card payment is automatically split based on the agreed commission amount. Then payments are settled directly into the accounts. This saves a lot of time and everyone knows when they are going to be paid. It’s how business should be done.”

Bakery at food market

3. Easier staff management

You couldn’t run your business without staff, but they come with a significant overhead, both in terms of money and resources. First of all, you need to ensure you have the right number of staff in the right places at the right times. This is where real-time data can help. It lets you identify busy and slow periods so your staff are neither overwhelmed nor standing around with nothing to do, as Brian from Hickory explained:

“With NOQ’s data insights, we can see the peaks and troughs in real-time and make decisions to optimise. For example, if nothing more than a single coffee was sold in the last 30 minutes of the day, maybe it makes sense to close earlier. Whereas at the Scottish Open, for example, tee-off on Saturday and Sunday was much earlier than on other days and the bars were already busy at 10 am. Seeing this happen in real-time, we were able to bring on more staff to meet the demand.”

Another important element of staff management is who has permission to do what. Our system lets you set permissions so only trusted managers can perform certain activities, making it harder to exploit the system. On top of that, staff activity on the ePOS and terminals can be used to calculate payouts, see who’s selling what and when, and view other staff shift statistics.

4. Watertight stock management

To keep wastage to a minimum, it’s important to keep a close eye on stock movement. But this can be time-consuming, especially if done manually. We’ve worked closely with clients like fabric to create a solution that lets you manage ingredients, order stock, raise purchase orders, and transfer stock between bars. Automated stock alerts remind you when items need to be reordered and recipe management and variants reports help you spot discrepancies. Finally, to keep things secure, you can assign multiple permission levels, restricting activities such as purchase order approval and stock counts to trusted managers.

“NOQ’s stock management is truly fit for purpose,” said fabric’s Operations Director, Luke Laws. “Not only do we have better visibility over theft and wastage, but I also have more time on my hands to focus on other things.”

5. Consolidated systems

Why wrestle with multiple systems when you can simply work with one? Our end-to-end platform lets you take orders, process payments, and harness data, all in one place. This means you have just one integration, one service level agreement, and one support number to call.

You’ll also be able to build a thorough picture of your performance across all traders and all sites. And you’ll gain a better understanding of your customers as you track their journey from pre-event ticket sales, to onsite food, beverage, and merchandise purchases. These insights are available in real-time from the palm of your hand via our Insights app.

“I’m a big fan of the NOQ Insights App,” said Brian from Hickory Foods. “It’s especially great at a big festival or event as it provides real-time data. I can also monitor and track our sites from the comfort of my home office, which is fantastic when I can’t always get out to the event. It’s also easy to share reports with other stakeholders. They can see sales for each bar on each day as well as a total sales report for each event. You just go in, get the report, input the client’s email address and you’re done.”

With you for the long run

We hear from our clients that they’re frustrated with larger solution providers who see them as ‘too small’ to worry about. We, on the other hand, have made it our business (literally) to ensure we deliver exactly what’s needed. And we won’t stop until everyone’s happy.

“All the individuals I’ve dealt with at NOQ have been eager to get it right,” said Luke from fabric. “They’re really responsive and I get the impression they genuinely care about our success. That’s refreshing having dealt with many companies for whom we’re just a drop in the ocean and they have this ‘take it or leave it’ approach. NOQ takes the long-term view, and so do I. It’s a great partnership.”

If you’d like to explore how we can help make your life easier, get in touch and we’ll set up a demo.

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