In late June, Plymouth’s new Authentic Sichuan Chinese Restaurant was automated with Tillypad XL. The restaurant’s name refers to the Sichuan province of central China, which is renowned for its fertile land, rare wild animals and delicious spicy-hot dishes.
This ‘English’ Sichuan brings classical Chinese tradition to Plymouth's university neighbourhood. It offers customers Asian feng shui interior decor, more than 100 national dishes and special dining ceremonies. For those who want to immerse themselves in the spirit of the Far East, the restaurant has an unusual form of dining entertainment where guests can create their own Chinese Hot Pot from an assortment of fresh vegetables, seafood and meat.
The majority of Sichuan’s staff, including its owner and chef, are native Chinese and experts in the country’s culinary tradition, which means that the restaurant offers its visitors truly authentic cuisine. Knowing this, the students of Plymouth University, one of the UK’s largest, regularly visit the restaurant from their nearby campus. The restaurant's clientele also includes Plymouth’s Chinese residents, who come to the restaurant to enjoy the familiar flavours of their youth.
The automation of Sichuan needed to take into account the linguistic diversity of its team and patrons; not all employees speak both English and Chinese, and not all guests can read English-language receipts. Tillypad XL’s multilingual features have easily accommodated these needs. Regardless of their native language or the device they are working on (POS terminal or tablet), employees can effortlessly communicate with the software and each other. Tillypad XL supports multiple languages — not only is the interface translated, but also, data can be entered in any language. A default language is automatically set for each employee when he/she logs in. Tillypad XL also takes care of guests — receipts can be printed in English or Chinese.
Sichuan may revere tradition, but its proprietor nonetheless votes for modern technology and top-of-the-line equipment, knowing that these features improve service speed and patrons’ overall impressions of the restaurant. Sichuan's waiters enter orders on tablets and send them to the kitchen without leaving the table. This saves a substantial amount of time that would otherwise be spent copying entries from notepads to the software and running up and down the stairs to check whether dishes are ready. Now, when the chef completes an order, waiters receive notifications on their mobile devices.
Late at night when Sichuan closes its doors and the staff head home to relax and spend time with their families, Tillypad XL continues working hard. At the stroke of midnight, the system sends a performance report to the restaurant owner and then runs a backup of all the data stored in the program.
Wendy Zhang, owner of Sichuan: “This system is good for me as I am starting my business. It is easy to use and manage. Tech support can sort out any problem using their team viewer system. They do everything online for you — you just watch. It is a very good management system as well; you can get an email report every day that will tell you details about sales. You can also change menu items and prices by yourself, and it is convenient for waiters and waitresses to make orders. They can take orders by the table and click the ‘send to kitchen’ button, which saves them from spending time running around.”