Chatime’s bubbling success with Microsoft
Kuala Lumpur (29 February 2016) — Chatime Malaysia has enhanced its business operations by adopting Microsoft solutions, which includes Windows 8 and the enterprise-grade cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure.
As one of the top beverage companies in the world, Chatime aims to be the most loved beverage by revolutionizing the tea drinking culture in the country. The company today employs over 800 trained tearistas (tea equivalent to baristas), across 150 outlets, offering up to 80 choices of beverages daily.
To handle its robust and growing business, the company often struggled with its old point-of-sale (POS) system that could no longer fulfil vital requirements that the team needed in order to drive their business forward.
“Keeping pace with our growing business and customer base was a growing challenge for us. In order to serve a beverage liked by all, we use only high quality tea leaves and ingredients to serve close to four million Chatime in Malaysia drinks a month,” said Bryan Loo, Managing Director of Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, the license owner of Chatime Malaysia. “Our expanding business meant that we were in need of a system that was capable of more than just tabulating sales numbers. We believed that we needed to better understand customer behavior better – essentially, what makes them tick, and what doesn’t – and ultimately, this would be translated into business insights that we could use to consistently serve quality drinks.”
Eliminating the limitation
Chatime previously relied on a traditional POS system in each store that is connected to a main server back at the headquarters, which needed to be manually updated on a daily basis – a time-consuming task which resulted in delayed results. As the system operated in an almost standalone basis, the company found itself wasting valuable time in communicating changes to the POS system and monitoring its business activities in this way.
“A lot of thought was put in researching and deciding on the solution that best fits our needs. Given the size of our business, we wanted a solution that was efficient, that didn’t consume time and resources, and more importantly – it had to be one that was familiar and cost-effective,” added Loo.
Armed with comprehensive research and from feedback from various vendors, the company decided to explore the possibility of using Microsoft technology. In 2014, Chatime turned to WebBytes to help design a new Cloud-based POS system that runs on Windows 8 and the Microsoft Azure platform, that would address the company’s needs.
Modernizing business operations with Windows and Azure
Chatime began deployment in April 2014, which saw the company replacing its traditional POS systems with Windows 8, specifically tailored for a growing SMB such as Chatime, whose main focus was on mobility, ease-of-use, and flexible access to data insights.
And to improve mobility, the company used devices powered by Windows 8, which they could easily bring along to different locations based on business needs. Hosted on Azure, the centralized POS system was fully connected to a Cloud infrastructure, allowing Chatime to access transaction data all of its outlets, live – literally, anytime, anywhere – and extract it in a suitable format that would help them translate the numbers and data into a workable report.
By storing all transaction data on the Cloud, Chatime effectively minimized the risk of data loss due to hardware failure. With Microsoft’s commitment in providing a trusted cloud, Chatime is assured that the security and privacy of their data will not be compromised. The new POS system was also capable of providing Chatime with real-time customer purchasing information, which the company uses to gain insights – such as analyzing sales per customer, the top items sold, what type of toppings customers enjoyed, in addition to the top sellable drinks – allowing them to better manage their inventory and resources. The company has since made changes to their menu to reflect real-time needs and preferences of Malaysians for their much-loved bubble tea.
According to Howard Woon, Technology & Operations Excellence Manager at Loob Holding Sdn Bhd, the new system has helped the company streamline its operations, “With the new cloud-based POS solution, we were able to link stores nationwide with our central office to communicate any new changes to our offerings or promotions quicker than ever before. As the data from every transaction made in store is automatically stored and synchronized, we were able to gain instant business insights, real-time. In fact, the data representation was so efficient we were able to pull up very specific information from the system, from top selling drinks and the most popular toppings, down to peak sales times.“
Commenting on the portability of their new POS system, Woon said the company hopes to leverage this mobility advantage as it looks into expanding this to its kiosks and during events, “We are now able to operate our POS system entirely on a Windows 8 device, giving us the flexibility to move our operations to other locations, particularly when it comes to setting up one-off kiosk locations during specific campaigns or events. For the month of Ramadhan last year, we have actually tested the system at some of our kiosks at Ramadhan bazaars around the KL city center. We simply needed to hook it up to a running Internet connection, and we were ready for business!”
Chatime’s future plans
The company joins a growing number of businesses around the world who are thinking beyond tactical server migrations and adopting a cloud-first approach to focus on their core capabilities to realize tangible business benefits more quickly.
Owing to the successful implementation of its mobile POS system, Chatime is also considering additional Microsoft Surface tablets that will run on Windows 10 to meet their business needs in new, modern ways – eliminating their reliance on multiple devices. The plan will largely improve Chatime’s out-of-store operating capability to enable the company expand its number of temporary kiosks in the future, ultimately fulfilling its brand promise and commitment to continue to serve the best quality beverages and cultivate a modern tea culture in Malaysia.
“Chatime’s decision to move to Microsoft Windows and Cloud-based Azure came at an opportune time for the company, as more and more SMBs in the food and beverage industry are realizing the need for a modern and affordable, yet scalable platform to remain nimble in a fast-paced industry,” said Azizah Ali, General Manager, Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners. “With Microsoft’s affordable cloud-based platform that minimizes capital expenditure, improves operational efficiency and ultimately optimizes revenue in the long run, we hope to empower SMBs in Malaysia to focus their efforts in what matters to them most – growing their business,” she concluded.