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The Big Idea: how can a cash register save money for a business?

Two Meath brothers think they’ve got the next generation of cash registers cracked.

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THIS MONTH AS part of our SME focus on we’re looking at innovation in communication by and for SMEs.

For our Big Idea feature, we’re looking at a Dublin micro-company that wants to make the common cash register a tool for business intelligence – and money making.

When Fergus Lynch paid upwards of €45,000 to install cash registers into a nightclub, he knew that there must be a gap in the market.

Both Fergus and his brother, Gavin, had been raised working a family pub in the parish of Moynalvey in County Meath. The pair had plenty of experience in the hospitality trade, but the leap into the heady world of tech start-ups wasn’t an obvious one.

Cluey1 Cluey Cluey

Undeterred, the brothers decided to focus on using something that is omnipresent in bars and restaurants as a way of improving business performance and saving cash for owner-managers: the cash register.

“Back in the 70s you had the push button till, then 20 years ago the touch screens came out, and then everyone started using windows systems.”

The Lynches wanted to move the technology on, and the result is Cluey, an app that transforms tablets and smartphones into cash registers, and aims to give insight into business at the same time.

The idea, explains Gavin, is to use the information that goes through a cash register to help people make more effective decisions in running their business.

“It’s giving you real information so you can get more knowledgeable about what’s selling well and what’s not selling well.”

The pair hope to beat the more expensive systems that the hospitality sector relied on up to now by using a cloud based product.

Until a few years ago, slow internet speeds would have prevented this, but now using devices that are synced to the cloud has opened the door to new possibilities for Cluey’s clients.

“If you’re on holidays and you want to see your reports, or you want to see your reports, or you want to see how you did yesterday, or if you want to check on staff, you can do that from anywhere.”

On top of these features, Cluey spits out a range of data that makes balancing the books and running an outfit easier.

POS-Backoffice Cluey Cluey

You’ve got stock control, sales reports for items or turnover, and it’ll help with your VAT report. We can tell you which staff have done the most sales, and how many covers you’ve done.

Lynch says that customers are often shackled by the flexibility – or otherwise – of their cash register system.

“One of our customers has five outlets here in Dublin and he didn’t change his menus for years because it was too hard. We recently told him that 75% of his sales come from 30 products. He didn’t know any of that before.”

If you’re sitting in the head office in Dublin and you want to change the menus in Cork, you can do it straight away. If you want to compare outlets to see performance-wise how they’re doing against each other, you can do that.

The idea has proved attractive to investors, with Cluey securing a €700,000 funding round from two private backers and Enterprise Ireland before their March launch.

The cash was mainly put into supporting new hires at the company, which now employs six people. The brothers are currently working on a second funding round, which, if successful, will support a full time sales rep in the UK.

Business is good, with clients already in the UK, France, the United States and Canada. However, the need to develop the product to a high standard has also been a drain on cash reserves.

Managing all the information that flows through the system, making it useful for small businesses, and giving owners the power to make changes remotely is a demanding task.

“It’s very complicated in the background because you’re splitting bills, merging tables, transferring orders…there’s a lot of stuff involved in a café bar and restaurant system.”

The service recently landed an endorsement from food distributors Pallas Foods, which Lynch counts as a major feather in its cap.

In the immediate future, the Lynches are planning on expanding into new markets.

“Long term, we may have a plan for an exit, but we’re a long way from that. We’d like to get our customer base up to 500, then a thousand, then bigger than that. And that won’t happen just in Ireland.”

Read: The Big Idea: ‘Ireland was the land of 1,000 welcomes, but only if you had €100,000. We wanted to change that.’

Read: The Big Idea: High end training that pays for itself>

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