Due to the business’ expansion into 17 different sites across the UK, Templeton Holdings Ltd, a family-owned Italian restaurant business trading under the name San Carlo, has chosen Sage Business Partner Datel to consolidate and replace their current Sage 50 system, an accounting package for smaller businesses, with Sage 200, an ERP solution for mid-sized businesses – a well-established pathway for growing enterprises.
San Carlo is a family-owned and family-run restaurant business, founded in 1992 when Chairman Carlo Distefano opened his first Italian restaurant in Birmingham. In the decades since, the business has grown considerably and now boasts 17 restaurants across the UK.
Jenny Jarvis, Financial Controller, explains: “San Carlo has always been a steadily growing business, but in recent years this has escalated quite a bit; we’ve invested in a lot of new sites across the country, and have another two restaurants due to open in 2017.”
At present, San Carlo’s account functions are carried out using Sage 50. Each of the restaurants is set up as an individual company, meaning there are currently 17 separate Sage 50 systems for the business to manage.
Jenny explains why this is an issue for the business: “I joined the company in summer 2016, and it was at the top of my list to consolidate the many Sage 50 systems and get the software upgraded. We wanted to bring all of the businesses together, to simplify our reporting, and to upgrade to something more modern and user-friendly.”
Using multiple Sage 50 packages was no longer fit for purpose, it was beginning to result in errors and they collectively became a drain on resources within the accounts and finance department especially.
Jenny explains: “Having used Sage 50 since the 1990s, there were a growing number of issues we kept coming across – things like duplicated invoices, and having to log out of the system entirely to make corrections and back-ups – and this was becoming quite time-consuming.
“The accounts and finance team is currently having to manage 17 different purchase ledgers, and the time spent by them looking through such a high volume of ledgers – posting them, paying and performing statement requisitions – is time we would like to spend elsewhere.”
Talking about the process involved with sourcing a new system, Jenny explains: “We originally started looking at new systems in summer 2016. During the research phase, there were a few contenders we had considered at the time, such as Xero and NetSuite, but Sage 200 always seemed to win out against the competition. The others we saw were either too expensive or not really suited to our size of business and the way we wanted to grow.
“We decided that sticking with Sage would be the smoothest and most natural process, and got in touch with Sage to arrange a demonstration of their Sage 200 software. They referred us to one of their small business partners who, at the time, was quite local to us. After meeting with them and having a number of demonstrations of the software, we were quite confident Sage 200 would do what we needed it to.”
Describing the benefits of Sage 200 to San Carlo, Jenny says: “Sage 200 will simplify the purchase ledger process, reducing the number of ledgers to just a handful for us to manage. We will be able to make supplier payments on three or four purchase ledgers rather than 17, which reduces the number of bank accounts we use, so the whole process of exporting to the bank and allocating and sending out remittances will immediately become more efficient.”
Once the business had decided on Sage 200 as its new business management system, they were looking to kick-start their implementation project. However, due to the relocation and restructure of the business in autumn 2017 from Birmingham to its new headquarters in Manchester, the new software implementation had to be put on hold.
Jenny explains: “Upgrading from so many instances of Sage 50 was a big project for us, so we decided at the time to put it on hold so that we could first concentrate on the relocation to Manchester. Then, we felt that we would be able to give the implementation as much time and attention as was required to get it right for our business.” This was a wise decision for San Carlo, as many projects can get delayed because customers can’t commit to them.
With a view to going live with Sage 200 by the end of summer 2017, Jenny got back in touch with Sage for another business partner recommendation – this time, looking for a partner closer to their new headquarters in Manchester.
Jenny explains: “Sage recommended Datel as the ideal Sage Business Partner to implement and support Sage 200. We did some research on the company before arranging to meet them, and could clearly see that they had a lot of experience upgrading businesses from Sage 50 to Sage 200. Right off the bat, this gave us confidence that Datel could accommodate the complexity of our project.
“At one point, we did get back in touch with our original prospective partner – but once we became aware of Datel, the decision was made, really. There seems to be a really good structure and process in place for implementation at Datel; there are details of certain steps we need to go through, which are all very well laid out and it seems that we always know where we need to be at each stage.”
Andrew Pritchard, Sales Director at Datel, comments: “It’s great to see Jenny’s confidence in the ability for Sage 200 to relieve a lot of the manual burden from the accounts and finance team at San Carlo. Sage 200 is designed to support and empower businesses exactly like San Carlo, centralising important data across different locations and enabling more informed decision-making as the business grows and develops.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Sage 200 in action at San Carlo’s restaurants in the coming months, and finding out how the company is benefitting from their new ERP solution.”