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How to choose automation software

How to choose automation software

This post is based on the joint coaching session of Pavel Timets and Pavel Kovsharov «How to improve an entertainment center? Modern technologies and instruments».

Automation software is a must have for any business that prioritizes control, analysis and financial planning, as well as monitoring the speed and quality of serving Guests. In entertainment industry, most popular examples are R-keeper, iiko and Tillypad. If you don’t have any of these on your computers, it’s like you’re living in suburb without a car.

Programs themselves are not difficult to learn, but it is difficult to find one that best suits your business model. We’re not promoting any of these programs but we have experience with all of them. Basing on this experience, we’re offering you an analysis of three top programs — R-keeper, iiko and Tillypad. They’re mostly designed for restaurants but are adapted for amusement parks and entertainment centers. What it means is that you can basically set up ticket purchasing in these programs.

We have comprised a table where all three programs are evaluated on a 10-point scale and compared.

We have comprised a table where all three programs are evaluated on a 10-point scale and compared.

Let’s take a look at the most important lines of this table. For us, one of the decisive aspects is convenience of back office (first line). What is back office anyway? This is where governing managers work. So, this is definitely a number one factor for us. Both iiko and R-keeper have a strong analytics database, so we gave these two 7 and 8 points respectively.

The next line is usability, and in this aspect, iiko is best. You only have to press a button in iikoDashboard app to see readings of all your entertainment centers and outlets in real time. You can also track and compare data gathered during different accounting periods, monitor hours of peak attendance and regulate various processes in your centers. Unfortunately, R-keeper and Tillypad don’t have their own apps yet.

Case of Pavel Kovsharov (chain of family friendly parks Zamania)

If you arrive in one if our parks shortly after opening, around 10 AM, you’re not likely to have your breakfast as kitchens are closed until 12 PM. That decision was based on the analysis of average bills on working days. To be more precise, we tracked hours when waiters opened and closed those bills. Then we counted how much we would pay chefs and waiters, and saw that those two hours in the morning were just redundant. So we cut them. Decisions like this one can be made with the help of automation software.
Then we compared purchase costs for our three programs (third line). The most expensive of them is iiko, so it got 6 points. R-keeper and Tillypad are cheaper, so we rated them higher.

The fourth line of the chart is for reliability. The impressive 9 points that iiko got from us are actually «conditional», because iiko is reliable only on condition you buy most expensive hardware for it. This is also why iiko was rated lower than its two competitors in the ninth line of the chart, which is hardware requirements.

It should be noted that iiko has a good cloud solution with numerous modules. Cloud solutions are quite new for the market; they appeared only two years ago, and have been actively used only for one year. If you’re opening a new business or outlet, we suggest that you connect to cloud from the very beginning. It will also reduce your costs as initial investment will be much lower if you go for cloud solution. Services using clouds first download their updates guess where — on clouds. By the way, iiko’s new function, iikoWeb analytics, is only accessible through cloud.

Another 5 advantages of cloud solutions as exemplified by iiko:

  • No need to allocate and increase physical capacities (reduction of investment in resources)
  • No need to maintain hardware accessibility and Internet channel (reduction of investment in your own tech support)
  • Reduced subscription fee for maintaining Café Soft
  • Cloud version doesn’t require subscription fee for iikoCard (~$16 per cash register per month saved)
  • Predictable, fast and transparent scalability. We know exactly how much we pay for each park, each cash register, and how fast services will be installed.

Another 5 advantages of cloud solutions as exemplified by iiko

Depending on whether you have a single park or a chain, you will opt for different services. Subsequently, ratings for different cases may vary.

We compared software based on cases. For instance, Zamania runs on iiko from the very beginning as they have to take into account both ticket purchases and F&B (food and beverages).

If you don’t have F&B, iiko is probably not so cost-efficient for you. R-keeper will cost you less while giving you enough tools.

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