Orchid Group is an award-winning pub company founded in 2006 following the acquisition of 290 pubs, bars and restaurants from Punch Taverns for the sum of £571 million. Following an extensive £50 million investment programme, the company is on the acquisition trail once again, recently acquiring Premium Bars & Restaurants taking its number of businesses up to 292.

Orchid has strong values and a comprehensive CRM strategy in place actively supporting communities at home and also away. Committed to ethical retailing, Orchid is passionate about promoting the very best of British food and drink as well as supporting UK farmers. Being British Farm Assured is a good example of this as Orchid was the first pub company to become a Red Tractor licensee for meat across its Carvery estate.

This year, Orchid ranked at no 20 of the Sunday Times list of the Top 25 Big companies to work for.

Business challenge

The Orchid Group were looking for a new type of system, one that would enable the company to control its estate without the need for a large and cumbersome head office function.

The Solution and implementation

Fourth Hospitality's trade simple offered the ideal technology partner for Orchid fitting in perfectly with its ambitious business plan and company ethos.

The trade simple online trading platform automates the entire order, right through to the invoice process. This provides the user with increased control, speed and efficiency as well as increased visibility of purchasing compliance. It eliminates any time-consuming and unreliable manual processes and removes pricing inconsistencies.

As with all large businesses, Orchid's range of users created a particular issue in terms of technology. Each individual varied both in terms of job role (from pub managers to chefs and sous-chefs) as well as differing levels of computer literacy. trade simple's ability to present ordering in the style of online shopping meant that all users can only see what is available to buy, making the process easy to use, with little room for error. Integration with suppliers also enables alternative or substitute products to be sourced when required.

One of the biggest plus points for Orchid was the use of concept management through trade simple. This tool is particularly important in a large and varied estate, allowing Orchid to manage their individual sites and make sure that only products relating to the relevant part of the business are available for a specific unit to purchase.

The results

Using concept management through trade simple has helped Orchid to proactively control sales. For example, if certain lines are not selling well, they can block products and make sure they are not available to certain units.

They can also make use of bolt-on packs such as BBQ menus, confectionery, Sunday carveries and Christmas party options. Having this flexibility reinforces Orchid's ethos that Managers' run their own businesses but at the same time, gives head office visibility to safeguard quality standards.

The trade simple system means that Orchid can realise key performance indicators including purchasing compliance, in-unit productivity and realtime financial visibility while integrating the teams within Orchid so everyone can play their part in running the business as efficiently as possible.

Orchid has now become so committed to trade simple and its benefits that prospective suppliers have to be willing to integrate to trade simple and this forms part of the tender process.