Kijani Beach Villas, a charming boutique family hotel nestled along the pristine shoreline, offers a haven of tranquility and indulgence. Each villa boasts a distinctive vista, allowing you to awaken to the mesmerizing sunrise right from your bed. For added relaxation, take a refreshing plunge in your private rooftop Jacuzzi or partake in a sunrise yoga session on the enchanting first-floor deck of the sea-view restaurant. Families with children will find joy in the pools, playground, and kid-friendly menu. This exquisite Zanzibar retreat has harnessed the power of the Loyverse POS system to enhance its operational efficiency and elevate customer service. In this interview, Mrs. Laroy reveals how Loyverse has transformed their business.
Can you briefly describe the story of your business?
We are running a Hotel and Restaurant in Zanzibar, Tanzania. We started our journey in October 2021. We decided to open this type of business because we wanted to challenge ourselves and do something different in life. We moved from the Netherlands to Zanzibar in 2019. We have had plans to build our own piece of paradise for a long time, and in 2021 we were finally ready to welcome you all! We started using Loyverse in December 2022 because we thought it would make our life easier, and it is. We came across Loyverse in another restaurant that my friend is managing. I was in search of a system like this at that time, so when I saw it, I thought it could be something cool for us.
You managed your hotel and restaurant for a year without a digital system, and then you started using Loyverse. It has been almost a year using Loyverse. How has it helped streamline your restaurant operations, such as order management, inventory control, or employee scheduling?
Loyverse made a huge difference because we were doing everything using pen and paper, and now everything is much easier.
Which are some of the features of Loyverse that have been most useful for your business?
We are using Loyverse in the restaurant to create all the tickets for the customers staying in the hotel and for customers who are coming only to the restaurant. It is like two situations: The outside guests come to spend half of the day, they come for lunch or for dinner, or sometimes they come for a few drinks. This is like the typical restaurant use. They order the food and drinks, stay for a while, and then pay and go. On the other hand, we have our inside guests who stay in one of our villas. In this case, we use the system to keep the tickets for them, so everything that they eat and drink during their stay we record in the system. They pay the F&B bill at the end of the stay. This is our main use. Of course, in this case, the most useful feature for us is the open tickets functionality and the KDS app that we use to send orders to the kitchen.
In addition, we use the stock tracking features to track the available stock behind the bar. We have yet to fully use the stock system, because we are trying to figure out what makes sense for us. As a new and growing business, we have yet to figure out everything we need from a system. We will eventually start using the Advanced Inventory subscription that you offer.
Are you using the Employee Management subscription at the moment?
Yes, we are using the Employee Management. We have our F&B manager who has management level of access rights. We have just hired a general manager, and I created a profile for her with the necessary access rights. We have a login for the cashiers who serve in the bar who are allowed to take the orders and receive the payments.
Did you face any challenges training your employees to use the Loyverse POS system?
No, it was really not difficult. The system is quite easy to understand. It works very intuitively. The most challenging part was the rules that we had to implement for our business on how to keep tickets for guests that are staying for multiple days; how are we dealing with outside guests in terms of table numbers or names for the tickets etc.? These are the challenges we faced that do not relate to the system but are related to the rules we want to implement in our business.
In terms of reporting and analytics, how valuable is the data you obtain from Loyverse in terms of understanding your restaurant's performance and making informed decisions?
Yes, the reports have been very helpful. As I mentioned, we are not fully using the benefits of these reports yet as we are still improving our menu and changing things, but in general, they have been useful. This is because it is very easy to read and understand these reports. We can easily find information about the sold items and identify the most preferred dish. It is very helpful to see analytics like this. Having the Dashboard app is also very helpful.
What channels do you use to market your business?
What made you decide to move from your hometown, the Netherlands, to Zanzibar to open a business?
There were multiple reasons—mainly good business environment, nice weather, good people, beautiful beaches, etc. You need to challenge yourself to do something different someday; it is very advisable.
Is there any advice or words of wisdom you would like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
Mainly: Just do it! It will be difficult at times, challenging for sure, but you will grow in your life, so really just go and do it.