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Tulopos serves convenience to the table

Paying together or separately? With Tulopos, the cost of a pizza can be divided in a heartbeat.Adobe

When it comes to point of sale systems, the restaurant industry is underserved. Finnish company Tulopos promises nothing less than to solve all problems with a custom-made solution.

A busy evening at a fine-dining restaurant, with large groups of friends and acquaintances scattered around the tables. A theatre play is starting nearby, and suddenly 30 people want to sort out their bill to rush to the show.

What happens?

“The existing systems are very inflexible, so dividing the bill between the correct seats and products can take forever, not to mention the effect on the overall efficiency of the restaurant,” says Juhani Ollila, co-founder of Tulopos. “As there is not enough point of sale system equipment and there are probably temporary waiters at work on a busy night, the extra hassle might mean these people risk being late for the show.”

This, according to Ollila, stems from the fact that point of sales (POS) systems aren’t designed with restaurants in mind. Many of them are mainly targeted at retail.

“There’s a lot more money in retail, whereas restaurants with high labour costs don’t have attractive amounts of coin,” Ollila explains. “Hence, restaurants adapt to the POS system, not the other way around.”

However, if Ollila has a say in the matter, the game is set to change radically.

An efficient communicator

Tulopos, a POS and inventory management system for restaurants, is the creation of Ollila and his friend Veli-Matti Ojala, both seasoned professionals in the industry. Their goal was to custom-make a tool for restaurant staff that saves time and energy and doesn’t get on anyone’s nerves – including those of the client.

The system is as intuitive as possible, including all products, areas, tables and individual seats in a restaurant. New items can be easily added to the database, and thus the bill is always correct, even if the waiter changes mid-service. Splitting the bill or dividing a portion between several people can be done simply by clicking on the screen.

Tulopos also smoothens internal communications within the restaurant. The kitchen is always on the ball, as the waiting staff don’t need to rely solely on their memory or scribbled notes regarding allergies and special requests.

Juhani Ollila has seen both clients and waiters get frustrated with inflexible POS systems. Image: Tulopos

“Tulopos is also an internal resource planning system,” Ollila tells. “Normally, a big chunk of a waiter’s day goes into just sorting things out, but Tulopos is so easy to use that it’s much more difficult to mess up than just do things right at once.”

On top of simplicity, which naturally leads to more efficient use of time, Tulopos saves restaurant owners’ money by offering the software without compulsory hardware purchases.

“Most POS systems include the device, making them costly,” Ollila tells. “Tulopos, in turn, is a local web application, so it can be used on any device that can run Google Chrome.”

Bigging up the data

One of the things Ollila is most excited about is how Tulopos can also be used for data collection and analysis. This way, small restaurants can benefit from a level of industry knowledge they wouldn’t be able to achieve on their own.

“By aggregating the data, we can review how the sales of, for example, a certain type of lager in a particular region or city have developed,” Ollila says. “This can be worth a lot of money for restaurant owners, distributors and wholesalers, because it helps plan supply based on credible predictions.”

With all these tools at its disposal, Tulopos is widening its reach. As it has already conquered several Finnish cities, the next step will be taken in Copenhagen, where the structure of the industry is similar to that in Helsinki. From there, the duo will be seeking for partners elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

Another thing that differentiates Tulopos from other system providers is its customer service. Ollila says that they’ve managed to build a reputation of excellence by picking up the phone during the hours when restaurants are open, not switching off phones when the clock hits 6pm.

“The restaurant industry is a human-centric business, and the staff want guests to feel good. We aim to serve our clients as well as they serve theirs.”

By: Anne Salomäki