Flexibility at the Frog

“One of the key issues when selecting systems for a small operation is flexibility,” says James Simkins, General Manager of The Willows Lodge (Woodinville, WA) and it’s restaurant, The Barking Frog.“Every restaurant these days must have a POS; it’s the core of the operation. But when you have to get maximum value out of everything you buy, you have to consider where else you can use it, and how well it can cover multiple areas. Good research is essential before you buy, on the product and on the vendor’s support reputation and willingness to work with you.”

The Willows Lodge, an 88-room boutique resort in the winery country just East of Seattle, offers a high level of guest service that includes not just luxurious rooms but also a spa and the fine dining restaurant. “Since these are all relatively small operations,” says Simkins, “the more we can run on fewer systems the easier it is to manage.”

“Accordingly, with a bit of creativity we’ve been able to adapt our restaurant POS system to handle the spa, banquet postings and the retail shop as well. It’s all a question of coming up with the right menu structure, and working with the vendor to develop the reporting we need.”

What other technology does the Barking Frog use? “One thing that’s really been successful for us is Internet-based restaurant reservations,” reports Simkins. “Being something of a destination resort has certainly helped, but bookings over the Internet have risen four-fold over the past year. We currently get 80-90 covers a month this way, and that number continues to rise steadily.”

Which leaves only one question. What exactly is a Barking Frog?

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