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KOBAS Blog

Kobas in VIP at Festivals

By James O'Sullivan |

We are wellie deep in festival season and we are excited to have worked with some of the UK’s biggest festivals. It’s always great to work with one-off events and large venues, but festivals are a special type of venue. The sheer geographical size of the events, and indeed the footfall, offer exciting challenges, but the primary requirement from our client wasn’t one we hear very often.

Our client is a company offering an ultra-VIP experience at some of the most renowned events around the world. They offer everything a guest could need to make the most of the festival, including large, pre-erected, tents with king sized beds and ensuite bathrooms. Their offerings also include 24-hour food, cocktails and spa treatments. This obviously comes at a cost, meaning that the expectations of their customers and suppliers must be met without compromise.

Festivals don't always enjoy this great weather!

Festivals don’t always enjoy this great weather!

Their requirement? They didn’t want to take cash or card during the event. Instead, all their customers were invoiced after the event for whatever they had spent. Also, their customers understandably didn’t want to leave their beds or tents to place an order, so the staff needed to be able to take the order from any location, and give their customers confidence that it is being prepared immediately and charged to their account. And often, these orders were made at a moment’s notice.

And all this needed to happen in a manner as unobtrusive to the guest as possible. Mistakes were not an option. The staff, hired specifically for the week only, need a super simple solution that required minimal training and removes all room for error. And to add to the challenge, the venue is based mainly on a hill, just outside the festival, but they also operate a bar in the VIP ‘between the stages’ area of the festival, a full kilometre away. It was more than important for our client to find a supplier who could meet all of their needs.

Dining Tent

Dining Tent

The Solution? This wasn’t a typical Kobas installation. We are much more used to working day after day in bricks-and-mortar venues across the country, but once you break the requirements down, you can see that we are a good fit. We realised that it was just a case of adaptation, from one venue to another, but on a (much) larger scale. In terms of hardware, it was simply a case of providing traditional tills (for the bars and spa), and iPad Mini’s (for the FOH team). Harder though, was ensuring connectivity from one area to another. We worked with Spindlewood on this one, who were incredible! A HUGE thank you for that one! They set up a highly robust network of Wi-Fi access points, structured cabling and even a microwave link to the festival bar. As a tech enthusiast, I was in heaven!

We then moved onto menu creation and daily management . Once again, Kobas scores well here – many of our clients update their EPoS menus daily. Thanks to the aforementioned astounding infrastructure the venue was online 24/7 so additional PLUs could be created on Kobas Cloud, added to the menu, and live on EPoS within seconds. And finally, we used RFID contactless cards or QR codes used to link customers to EPoS tabs. When a customer’s wrist band was scanned, it linked them directly to their tab so it became impossible to allocate correctly.

Sunset over a festival in full swing

Sunset over a festival in full swing

To round off the solution, at the end of the festival we converted all the tabs into VAT invoices, allowing their customers to settle up retrospectively. We hope they all had a great time!

Is this the future of festivals? And can it be rolled out throughout the entire festival instead of just VIP? Some festivals have tried, and there have been failures as well as successes. I t does save time, and it means that festival goers don’t have to carry their personal belongings. Would you go completely cash and cardless?

About James O'Sullivan

James' love affair with the hospitality industry began early in life and coming from a coding background he found himself in an ideal position to combine these two passions to help bars and restaurants save time and money. James runs the business but always keeps close to the coal face. Backed with an incredible breadth of knowledge from restaurant operations through point-of-sale protocols to corporate finance management, James is our incredibly hard working noble leader.