GS Systems has been involved in cash and stock management for nearly four decades (we were originally launched as Grove Supplies in 1976). Throughout our history we have been at the forefront of computer-based solutions and continue to lead the market to optimise the benefits of EPOS and related technologies for growing multi-site hospitality, retail and leisure enterprises.

Here we present a timeline highlighting our many achievements.

Baa Bar expanding fast brand heading towards Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.

2012: Fast-expanding Baa Bar Group wants greater operational and financial control over its growing business and asks us to provide over 70 EPOS touchscreen terminals and a head office central management solution for the 10-strong multiple brand concept.  The Baa Bar brand, first launched in Liverpool in 1991, has been credited with trailblazing the bar scene in the North West with its groundbreaking late night bar concept. There are now seven Baa Bars in the portfolio in Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham with plans to roll out the brand in Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham over the next 12 months. Baa Bar finance director Andrew Blackburn is delighted with the impact of our solution and is already enjoying major benefits. He expects the system to pay for itself within 18-24 months.

The father and son team behind San Carlo – Carlo Distefano (left) with son Marcello in their Manchester restaurant.

2010:  The award-winning San Carlo Italian restaurant brand selects GS to provide an EPOS solution to help give the business tighter controls over its front of house and back office operations for its five-strong estate, which includes one of the highest grossing restaurants outside of London, San Carlo in Manchester’s King Street West. Here weekly takings vary from between £140,000 to £170,000 – making it one of the busiest places to eat in the UK. Our brief was twofold. First, to make sure they had an EPOS solution in place that was able to handle the pressure of a restaurant when it was at its most intense. Second, to ensure management and floor staff had total confidence in the system. Since then San Carlo has added several new outlets and opened in Piccadilly and Knightsbridge in the capital. Were we successful? San Carlo managing director Marecello Distefano is impressed by the results of the relationship with us.

Gusto launches a take home service using the GS EPOS solution.

2010: Living Ventures takes its Gusto restaurant brand into the homes of customers by offering a home delivery service – with a little help from GS Systems. By taking advantage of the growth of the take home market, Living Ventures is developing a new revenue stream without incurring huge additional set up and operational costs. Food is prepared at the appropriate Gusto restaurant when an order is placed either online or by telephone. Deliveries take place within half an hour of orders being received. The entire process is run and monitored by the EPOS solution to ensure ‘At Home with Gusto’ feeds into the existing stock control and financial head office systems. Having devised and developed the concept and the customer offerings, Living Ventures ask GS Systems to recommend how best to implement the various processes necessary to operate and control take home sales, ordering and stock control. The solution has a wide variety of functionality ranging from wireless chip ‘n’ pin payments, text marketing and data collection to printing print labels, flagging items for sale to those over 18 and automatically selecting the ‘best meal’ deal for the customer.

Max Spielmann has over 200 stores in the UK.

2009Max Spielmann wants to accurately record sales transactions for a vast range of photo store products as easily, efficiently and quickly as possible. The products range from ordering prints to using digital images for numerous brilliant gift ideas. GS recommends a system based around Sharp UP-800 fully integrated point of sale terminals with multi-line LCD display to clearly show transactions & product choices. The project rolls out within a three week period on time and on budget. GS train key Max Spielmann people who in turn train the area managers and branch managers.GS also provide a seven day telephone support service along with on-site hardware support.

What took two hours now takes 15 minutes.

2006: GS designs, develops and installs an EPOS solution for Salford City Council to fully automate and streamline its register offices. The system includes chip ‘n’ pin facilities and an interface with the council’s financial systems for exporting sales data. Work that once took a couple of hours can be done in 15 minutes. Prior to GS becoming involved, the sales of birth, marriage and death certificates were manually written down in traditional ledgers. Approximately 60 births and deaths were registered per day with 30 minutes allocated to each registration. In one recent quarter, the council had 473 marriages and civil partnerships. Sales figures for each office were added up daily, weekly, monthly and year end, a labour intensive and time-consuming process.

2006: Living Ventures, one of the best-known names in the UK hospitality sector, cements its reputation for developing highly original national hospitality concepts like Living Rooms and Bar ‘n’ Grill while at the same time resurrecting and revitalising brands like the well established Est Est Est restaurant chain.  The Sunday Times Top 100 name Living Ventures as the fastest-growing company in hospitality thanks to annual sales growth of 99.25% between 2001 and 2004, when turnover grew from £2.47m to £19.55m as it became a national player and perhaps more significantly the company’s focus on staff training and development was recognized by the sponsors as they scooped the competition’s prestigious Service Award.  We’re proud of our involvement in their success and film and publish a video to celebrate our partnership.

2005: GS Systems teams up with Microsoft to offer UK multiple and independent retailers a big hittin g retail EPOS combination. Bottom line benefits for retailers include better control over the running and management of the business together with more effective customer service. RMS’s exciting features includes, head office/back office, multiple POS, customer management, time and attendance, internet sales, logistic links, real time estate stock, fashion matrixes, full inventory management, comprehensive security and in-built set up wizards. UK’s retailers – not just the biggest – can enjoy the business benefits of an affordable retail management system that gives them the same day-today control as the massive supermarket chains comments GS managing director, Niels Nielsen when we launch.

2003: GS clinches a prestigious contract with Grinch, one of Manchester’s most popular and innovative restaurants. Although Grinch’s management recognise the importance of technology, the team want to realise the potential and considerable benefits of cash management solutions and ask GS Systems for our help. We put forward a solution based around the Sharp UP5000 series touch-screen terminal with Venta touch software, which also utilises Fidelity’s Total Stock back office package, Grinch now has a complet solution that gives them both cash and stock management as well as unrivalled historical reporting and sales analysis. This initial contract with Grinch leads to a roll out of the solution to the award-winning Cornerhouse cinema and art complex, which is now featuring the UP5000 and Venta double act in front of packed houses, and the trendy Felicinis bar in Didsbury.

 2003: GS Systems has been dealing with Chester Zoo since 1998 and our latest contribution to the smooth running of the 105-acre zoo is the installation of a retail gift & souvenir shops’ solution. Virtually all areas of their retail, food and beverage operations are now controlled by touchscreen-based EPOS systems that interface to a back office stock control solution and an efficient cost saving Credit Card Authorisation system. The new retail system comprises of 15 Sharp UP-5900 EPoS terminals spread across four retail units – the Ark and Fountain shops, a face painting kiosk and Aurora CH Web shop. All four retail locations are linked to a centralised Credit Card authorisation system and to a networked stock control solution. Chester Zoo has also been busy in other areas. This includes reducing queuing at peak times by increasing the number of entrance terminals from 12 to 16 and minimising labour intensive and costly manual Gift Aid procedures by implementing an electronic system that runs alongside the EPoS system.

GS has always been associated with innovation.

2002: GS Systems launches a built-for-purpose handheld pc-based EPOS device, one of the first of its kind complete with an integrated operating system linking to EPOS terminals. The wireless networking adds a new dimension to order taking and enhances the guest experience and eliminates errors. Initially launched on Sharp pc-based handhelds, the mobile technology is adopted across numerous other handheld devices.

2002: Sharp launches a new software package – with more than a little help from GS Systems. Venta, an off-the-shelf POS front end Windows software package for the hospitality and retail sectors, is extensively road tested by us prior to being rolled out nationally by Sharp. We put the new software through its paces at Iguana, a crowded, trendy live music bar in Manchester. After three months they gave the new software the thumbs up.

 2002: High street retailers Timpson want to accurately record sales transactions against its growing range of services and retail products in as shorter time as possible in an easy to use manner. Although simplicity, speed and accuracy are the priorities the system also needed to be flexible and configurable to allow phased expansion of the solution for automatic polling of data back to head office and integrated credit card processing. Initially the system needs to be capable of replicating their existing systems but with the potential to convert to a fully electronic data flow. The solution also needs to be capable of printing cheques using a specific type of printer that the company already own. Delivery is also important with 355 terminals installed across 300 sites within eight weeks.

One of the Lowry’s five bars

2001: GS explores the art of EPOS at the brilliant new Lowry arts complex overlooking the Manchester Ship Canal in Salford. Named after one of Salford’s most famous sons, LS Lowry, we install an 18-terminal EPOS solution using Sharp UP5700 touchscreen technology with built-in EFT credit control for fast ISDN authorisation. A fully networked system is installed in five bars as well as the prestigious Steven Saunders restaurant. The Lowry, a multi-purpose centre, has theatres, galleries, workshops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

Teasers popular with customers and engineers alike – for some unknown reason!

2001: Teasers opens in Manchester with queues stretching for hundreds of yards down Deansgate at weekends. We like to think they want to see the Sharp-based EPOS package we’ve installed for the Dutch-based concept but it is more than likely the waitresses and tabletop dancers like Anna (pictured left) who are the real attraction.  Funnily enough our engineers and technicians didn’t mind call outs to Teasers, not matter what time night or day.

2001: GS Systems installs an EPOS solution at Mosquito, one of the first brand concepts launched by entrepreneurs Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts under the inspired Living Ventures banner. After the success of this site, we also install our solutions at the legendary Living Rooms concept, which was developed across most major cities in the UK. Tim and Jeremy also launch Prohibition at the same time – and cement a fast growing reputation for launching successful and profitable hospitality concepts.  A partnership is forged between GS and Living Ventures that is still as strong today as it was then.

Cricket but not as we know it!

2000: Goodbye to Grove Supplies and hello to GS Systems as we start the new millennium with a new name to reflect the diverse range of services we offer our customers. This name coincides with the launch of a new range of marketing literature, provocatively entitled ‘the naked truth’ about EPOS. The leaflets are designed to be eye-catching and feature nude cricketers and transvestites amongst others as we highlight the things are not always what they seem when it comes to EPOS. It’s a message we’ve been communicating ever since.

GS wins a contract for the Millennium Done – which today operates as the O2 Arena.

1999: GS win a competitive tender for the Millennium Dome. Our remit is to implement a combined retail and hospitality EPOS solution, which requires the configuration and installation of 157 touchscreen EPOS terminals, the development of two bespoke interfaces, the development of a bespoke reporting and management system and the training of all retail managers, supervisors and available unit staff. As well as developing a bespoke interface to a new EFT solution to allow integrated credit/debit card transactions to take place on the EPOS terminals, GS also develops an interface to with the stock replenishment system. The entire solution was delivered on time and on budget and was fully supported throughout the 12 month operation of the Millennium Dome (which today operates as the O2 Arena.

1995: Grove Supplies becomes the exclusive Sanyo dealer in the UK, a great tribute to our standing in the EPOS/cash register sector and the trust our partners have in our business. Trust is integral to the GS proposition.

1998: Grove Supplies launches its own pc-based EPOS solution.

1994: Grove Supplies wins the tender for Manchester United’s hospitality suites. United dominate the Premiership soon afterwards. Coincidence?

And the winner is….

1991: We launch our new showroom in Buxton Road, Stockport, because we need even more space to accommodate the growing demands on the business. To celebrate we host a free prize draw to win a colour  television. If we ran a similar competition today it would be for an iPad or tablet of some description, definitive proof of how technology is changing the way we view our world. Our current managing director, Niels Nielsen, is featured in the image to our right.

1982: Grove Supplies wins a major account at Alton Towers and becomes one of the first UK companies to link electronic cash registers to computers.  When the Alton Towers management team opened the Tower Street shopping mall at the theme park they wanted to know how much money was in each till so they could be emptied every 15 or 20 minutes or whenever they hit certain cash benchmarks. The reports were an embryonic version of our current key performance indicators. We look back at these reports with great fondness but they are the catalyst for what follows and gives up a depth of experience few of our competitors can match. Even today.

The way things were – at the time it was cutting edge technology.

1981: Grove Supplies launches one of the UK’s first ever stock control systems for Kentucky Fried Chicken (aka now as KFC). The client was a KFC franchisee with five outlets who wanted full control of all his KFC stock and recipes. The computer system we developed for this makes us smile when we look at the image to our right and remember the arduous process of loading huge floppy discs and waiting and waiting and waiting – but at the time this was cutting edge technology that sowed the seeds for the EPOS revolution what was to take place at a later date – and ensured we were at its forefront.

Our founder, Bent Nielsen.

1976: Bent Nielsen, who had previously worked with NCR, launches Grove Supplies, ably assisted by his two young sons, Bjorn and Niels. At first they operate from the family home, before moving to a larger house and converting the garage into an office. As the business grows, much more space is needed for offices, workshops and a demonstration room to display one of the north west’s most comprehensive cash register portfolios.