The reliability and efficiency
of Dojo Go
By her own admission, April Jackson doesn’t like getting unexpected visitors at work.
“When you work at a restaurant or in hospitality, people seem to think they can just pop in whenever they like. I even have friends drop by when I’m really busy. People would never do that if you worked in an office,” she laughs.
So, when a Dojo rep dropped in at April’s restaurant, Wood & Water in Brixton, they found themselves on shaky ground.
“I gave them a bit of a grilling and made it clear that if the numbers didn’t add up, then there was no point in continuing the conversation. I could see no point in switching payment providers unless there was a financial reason for doing so.
“But they took it very well and were transparent about how switching to Dojo could save me money. And since then, they’re always at the end of the phone if I need them. That’s a massive factor; I don’t want to deal with automated phone menus or chatbots. I want to speak to a person, and Dojo has always delivered.”
April is a well-known entrepreneur, making it to the sixth week of the hugely popular BBC show The Apprentice in 2015. After the experience, she opened her first restaurant, Three Little Birds, aiming to shake up the UK’s Jamaican food scene.
“I grew up in Jamaica and am passionate about Jamaican food. At the time, it was represented by a couple of stereotypical chains or takeaway options, where you’d get rice, meat and gravy in a styrofoam container. It was very one-dimensional.”
Originally, April had planned to open several Three Little Bird sites across London, but like many businesses, was forced to rethink during the pandemic. Keen to further differentiate her offering from other Caribbean options, Three Little Birds was rebranded as Wood & Water.
“It’s modern British with a Jamaican soul. I concluded that what I had offered before was too close to what was already available. Now, the focus is on using as much local produce as possible, but inserting that energy and spice from the country I love.”
April and her partner have expanded their F&B portfolio, opening several new bars, firstly at POP Brixton, and recently a permanent location called SideChick, a stone’s throw from Wood & Water.
April says Dojo saves her £100 a month at each location compared to other payment providers. “When I opened Three Little Birds, around 70% of customers paid on card. Today, it’s more like 98%. So, to save that fraction of a per cent on each transaction adds up over time.”
April has designs on taking her culinary skills outside Brixton’s confines, speaking passionately of her love for festivals, community events, and other outside experiences. However, working in new spaces brings their own unique challenges. Her bar at POP Brixton showed the importance of always-on connectivity when working in new spaces.
“The reliability of Dojo is such an essential factor. I’ve never encountered a connectivity issue with Dojo. It’s almost become so seamless that you don’t realise it’s working – but that’s a testament to its reliability. I remember using previous providers having to babysit someone’s bag while they went to the cash point because the card machine wasn’t working.
“We’ve used it for mobile events like ‘Cocktail in the City,’ where all we needed to ensure was that the PDQ machine was charged. When things run smoothly, you tend to take them for granted, but it’s when things go wrong that you truly appreciate the reliability of Dojo.”
April also speaks about how she and her staff have a genuine appreciation for the design of the Dojo Go machine.
“They are super simple, super modern, and the features like splitting bills and tipping are great. There are a lot of antiquated, clunky machines on the market, which highlights how intuitive and well-designed it is.”
Improving service, saving time
In the restaurant setting itself, Dojo has also come into its own.
“Again, it comes back to something working when you barely notice it’s there,” says April. “But it definitely speeds up the time it takes for customers to pay their bill, which is important to delivering great customer experiences. Customers don’t want to sit around waiting to pay the bill and being reminded how much they’re spending!”
The Dojo app has also taken all of the pain - and the jeopardy - out of PCI compliance. Whereas April had to pore over data manually with her previous providers, Dojo automates the process.
“I think it is normal to put tedious admin tasks to the back of your list of things to do. I was speaking to somebody last week who owns a business and was recently fined over PCI. Dojo eliminates that possibility, and it’s one less thing to worry about.
“The same is true for my staff when they’re reconciling payments at the end of the day. It’s a lot simpler than other payment providers and is incredibly efficient. It saves at least 15 minutes a day just in terms of checking payments for the day.”