A Good Point of Sale System is No Joke, Just Ask A Comedy Club

Comedy Shrine case study

The Comedy Shrine chose Future POS for its handheld ordering capabilities, inventory integration, loyalty program support, and built-in surveillance integration.

Located in a suburb of Chicago, The Comedy Shrine is the brainchild of owner, Dave Sinker, who also serves as the creative director and as an occasional performer. The comedy club features both improv and standup comedy shows, presented in two cabaret-style theaters, with table seating for more than 100 people. There's also a full bar and lounge, a museum of comedy memorabilia from the owner's private collection, and a soon-to-be retail store selling t-shirts, mugs, performance CDs and the like.

Moving to a new and larger location was part of the reason Sinker decided to install a brand new point of sale (POS) system. Originally opened in 2005, the club included just one theater at the old site. But the new place meant more shows, larger numbers for food and beverage sales, increased ticket sales, and the need to mesh operation of the box office and the food and beverage side.

The Challenge

After outgrowing his old space in Naperville because of ever increasing attendance, Sinker realized that serving more customers would necessitate a more streamlined system. The comedy club model requires that all patrons buy a minimum of one drink, so servers are kept busy moving back and forth between customers and the bar. It's important to serve club goers quickly and accurately, and make payment options simple on both sides of the transaction.

And since he wanted to add more snacks and prepared food options for patrons, he needed an quick and easy way to add or subtract menu items. He also wanted to know which drinks are selling well and conversely those that are less popular.

The Solution

Acting on a recommendation by one of his employees, Sinker contacted POS Partners for help in designing, integrating, and installing a POS system in his new club. He wanted a fairly intuitive system that would pull together the box office - including online, offline and walkup sales - and bar and food sales, offering room for growth and the ability to add a small retail store in the future.  The best fit seemed to be software from Future POS.

POS Partners case studyThe Benefits

The piece of the POS system providing the most bang for the buck in the hospitality industry today is handheld ordering and credit card processing units. Not much larger than most mobile phones, these PDAs are carried to the customer's location - at a table or in the lounge - where the server will complete the entire ordering process in seconds. Customers never lose sight of their credit cards and servers log a little less mileage during the night.  Future POS offers the ability to utilize these  mobile options for POS.

Another benefit of using Future POS is that the ordering system is interconnected with inventory, so managers can reorder as needed and keep track of how well individual beers and spirits are selling. Sinker forsees a time when he can run specials to increase sales of languishing products.

He also plans to utilize the Future POS software to implement a loyalty program for his customers, keeping track of their most favored comedy shows and their individual drink preferences. He understands the more a POS system can be used to capture an individual's past preferences, the more likely a business can keep that customer in a long term relationship.

Point of Sale Specifications

The centerpiece of Comedy Shrine's new POS system is six wireless Widefly WF-35 handheld PDA's, loaded with the Future POS software. These units measure just six inches by four inches and are deployed in the club's two theaters and the lounge for fast and efficient order taking and payment processing. Servers enter drink and food orders directly on a touch screen and these requests transmit wirelessly to the bar. Instead of rushing to enter an order on a traditional terminal, the wait staff simply picks up drinks and prepared food at the bar, leaving them more time for customer service. And when it comes time to pay, the customer's credit card is swiped right at the table using the handheld.

The brain of the system is a POS RAID 5 server coordinating the box office and all point of sale operations, including the retail store. Comedy Shrine also incorporates a standard Touch Dynamic Breeze terminal at the bar.

One of the most innovative parts of the setup pairs Talon Digital Video Recording (DVR) software with security cameras. Eight cameras blanket the theaters, the lobby area (including the bar), and the museum and interface with the POS system to prove every customer and employee transaction. And the best part for owners and managers? The system offers remote monitoring via web browser or smart phone.

About POS Partners

Specializing in point of sale systems for the hospitality industry, POS Partners serves the Chicagoland area plus Illinois and Wisconsin. Every client has a dedicated Relationship Manager who provides proactive support to ensure the solution keeps working for that business. POS Partners also offers ongoing software development and enhancements and cutting edge client training.  Hospitality technology is never static and POS Partners clients receive as much support during the life of the system as they do during the installation.

About Future POS

Future POS is a powerful point of sale software solution designed for the hospitality industry. Completely customizable screens, online ordering, multi-column modifiers, and built-in surveillance integration are just some of the ways that Future POS stands out from the rest of the point-of sale software crowd.


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