Serving thousands of customers seamlessly at Winter Wonderland
Christmas events in the UK don’t come much bigger than Winter Wonderland. Having started as a small funfair on the outskirts of London’s Hyde Park in 2005, it has grown into one of the showpiece festive attractions.
More than 2.5 million people now visit Winter Wonderland from mid-November to early January each year – with highlights including festive markets, 100+ rides and attractions from Europe, numerous food and drink options and live experiences and music.
One of the marquee attractions is the Bavarian Village. It has become a destination in its own right, drawing people to the wider Winter Wonderland event. The Village includes four main halls where visitors can eat, drink and be merry – as well as several kiosks, an outdoor stage for live Bavarian music and cosy chalets to enjoy mulled wine and a bratwurst.
Taking the stress out of payments
Bavarian Village welcomes thousands of people to its site every day during Winter Wonderland, so speedy payments are very much the name of the game. During the run-up to the 2021 event, the team behind the Bavarian Village considered where it could improve the customer experience. Speed and reliability of service were two of the primary focus areas.
“Dojo works seamlessly, both from a speed point of view and in terms of connectivity,” continues Alpesh “That’s an enormous consideration for a business like ours that takes thousands of transactions every day. With our previous payments provider, we had situations where the system would go down, and we’d have to ask our customers to pay in cash.
“When you’ve got customers 10-deep at the bar, and you’re asking them to go back to a cashpoint and then queue up again, it’s not ideal, to say the least. The uptime from Dojo is a real benefit and gives us confidence in the technology.”
Say hello to self-service
While it wasn’t budgetary reasons that convinced Bavarian Village to sign up to Dojo, Alpesh says the difference in card fees effectively pays for two or three staff members each year compared with its previous provider.
As well as moving to an integrated payments system in 2019, Bavarian Village also worked with Dojo in 2022 to roll out more than 70 self-service kiosks to complement its existing payment options. This has increased to over 110 in 2023.
The results have been remarkable, with a 15% increase in order values compared with tills. Kiosks have changed the dynamic for vendors and customers, enabling food and beverage options to be presented on high-definition screens. At the same time, special offers and exclusive promotions can also be highlighted.
“We’re seeing bigger ticket orders, and kiosks have given us a new way to upsell to customers. It also takes some pressure off customers; they don’t have to worry about who’s waiting behind them, providing time to look through the items and possibly add lots of extras. We also have live music at Bavarian Village. It’s not too loud, but it’s not as easy to have a conversation as it would be in a quiet bar. The kiosks mean our customers and staff are not having to raise their voices to communicate,” says Alpesh.
“So, a lot of the friction from ordering has been eliminated by introducing kiosks. We worked incredibly closely with Dojo, and those discussions led to the Dojo Wired payment machines being used, which don’t require any input from staff. The process has been very collaborative, and we’re looking at ways to introduce even more kiosks for future events.”
"The Dojo approach just works for us"
Bringing kiosks into its payments mix has also alleviated some of the pressure posed by recruitment – as customers can self-serve – rather than place their order at a staff operated till.
This means their staff can concentrate on preparing customer orders, putting to good use their skills in busy bar and kitchen environments. While they still have staff available to customers in the odd case where a kiosk may have an issue, they don’t need one staff member per kiosk like they do on tills.
“The Dojo approach just really works for us. As well as the main benefits we’ve spoken about, it takes all of the effort out of PCI compliance – which used to take hours and hours – and the customer service when you do need it is brilliant. We had a situation in our first year with Dojo where 60 machines were replaced overnight. It's another example of how Dojo removes the worry and lets us focus on running the business,” says Alpesh.