A name on everyone’s lips
Located in Brighton’s hugely popular historic lanes sits RYBKA (The Fish Likes To Swim). This venue with a quirky name has developed a reputation for first-class fish and chips, craft beer, wine, and cocktails in just a few short years, and has quickly become a staple of the city’s vibrant food and drink scene.
RYBKA – the name comes from a Polish saying meaning ‘the fish likes to swim’ relating to the tradition of eating pickled fish with a shot of frozen vodka – was created by Rafal Tetich, Ned Lawlor, and Harry Petrakas.
Their vision of serving locally sourced, fresh fish and chips alongside quality drinks has proved a smash hit since opening in 2021, and it’s common to see people queuing down the street to get a seat at RYBKA. The business has also created a huge amount of online buzz – it is rated at 4.9/5 on Google based on more than 500 customer reviews, making it the city’s most highly rated fish and chip shop.
Reducing queues, turning tables, increasing turnover
While guests are happy to wait for a table, Rafal and his team constantly look for ways to get people seated more quickly. As part of its Dojo Restaurant Management System (RMS), customers can download the Dojo app (previously known as WalkUp) that allows them to join a virtual queue. It means they relax nearby until they’re notified their table is ready, rather than queuing outside the restaurant.
“That feature of the RMS has certainly increased customer retention. Before, I had to turn many more people away, but that’s become far less common and helping me increase the number of covers we can seat in a day,” he says.
Dojo’s flexibility in taking either non-integrated or integrated payments also boosts turnover. RYBKA’s previous payments system was set up so that only one customer could settle their bill at any one time, locking staff out of the till.
Since introducing Dojo, staff have been able to handle simultaneous payments, with the lightning speed of the machines making the process even more efficient.
“Streamlining payments has been another big factor for us turning over more covers. Reducing queues, increasing payment speeds, and seating more people means serving another four or five extra covers daily, equating to more than £2,200 a month just from freeing those tables up more quickly.”
Over the course of a year, it means RYBKA will add somewhere in the region of £25,000 to the top line.
“We have an upstairs area that can host events for up to 50 people,” says Rafal. “There’s no way we would have been able to run the restaurant now, with payments being taken in the main dining area and our upstairs space, if we had integrated payments. We’d have to add another till system, costing us £400-£500.”
Saving 8 hours a week
RYBKA turns over around 80 tables a day, and during the high season, this number can easily hit three figures. Before Dojo, this meant that customers frequently had to wait for other diners to pay their bill first before they could settle the bill.
“It was pretty stressful for our staff to wait for the till to become free or try to get a bill paid as quickly as possible. That can also lead to errors, which lock up the till and takes even more time. Introducing Dojo has relaxed the staff – the overall stress level has dropped massively. It’s also easy for bills to be split and for tips to be added."
“We think Dojo saved us two hours every day in wasted time when the staff were waiting to get the guests paid up. It’s just a much better experience for our team and the customers.”
Helping businesses through tougher times
RYBKA is looking forward to a busy peak season, with locals and tourists enjoying its freshly cooked fish and chips, and sampling its vast drinks menu. But the last few years have thrown up several challenges, from lockdowns and social distancing to high inflation and widespread strikes.
“We had a really busy summer in 2022, and we’re excited about this summer, but we’ve had two challenging winters in a row,” says Rafal. The business took a strategic decision to borrow £30,000 through Dojo’s Business Funding facility to clear the decks of some debt and guarantee the future of RYBKA.
“The Business Funding process was completely transparent – we know we’ll be busy and how much we’ll be paying back. It’s been a positive experience, enabling us to survive the winter. We plan to use the facility again in the future, this time to help us expand the business.”