With a lack of options for coffee enthusiasts in the Charleston, SC area, Eran Maron decided to do something about it. Maron opened his first Black Magic Cafe location in 2009 in Charleston’s Folly Beach area and the small coffee shop in an alley became a fast favorite among locals and tourists alike. So popular, in fact, that Maron had to expand to a bigger location across the street just one year later.
With the larger space, Maron also expanded his menu to offer full-service breakfast, brunch, and lunch options. Black Magic’s “hippie-healthy-naughty” fare was such a hit that the business expanded to two more locations in West Ashley and James Island. Being the sole owner of three locations at the time (Maron decided to close the original location in 2019 due to seasonality), he needed a way to streamline his business in order to maintain a better work-life balance and keep up with evolving industry trends.
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“I don’t like to spend my time just being stuck at the restaurant,” said Maron. “I used to work with Aloha and I just hated it because it’s just so old school and PC-based. You have to go into the office for everything. I thought, there’s got to be a better way.” After talking to a good friend who recommended Upserve by Lightspeed, Maron decided to make the switch. “My life literally changed. Everything is in the palm of my hand. If it’s running reports, changing a menu item, working on menus, or putting new people in the system, it’s so easy.”
Upserve by Lightspeed’s cloud-based system allows Maron to be present for both his family and his restaurant. After picking his kids up from school in the afternoon, Maron heads home and is able to take care of any labor, menu, or reporting needs he has without running back to the restaurant. Just the ability to edit one menu and have updates made across all platforms is a game-changer. “To change the menu with Upserve [by Lightspeed] is so easy. Aloha was a nightmare,” said Maron. “We have these special quarterly drinks, and we’re always changing them in both restaurants’ online and in-store menus, but now it’s just really simple.”
When it comes to the POS and its server-facing functions, Maron says he has saved time on training new staff members with the ease and user-friendliness of Upserve by Lightspeed’s interface. “With Aloha, you have to press a lot of buttons just to finish a sale. And with Upserve [by Lightspeed], it’s just so easy,” he said. “It’s like an iPhone, anyone can just come in and learn it.” The integrated online ordering system has also been beneficial to their business during the pandemic. While Maron was previously using a third-party for online ordering, switching to Upserve by Lightspeed Online Ordering has allowed the staff to skip the step of collecting orders via a separate iPad and inputting them into the POS. Being able to control their online ordering menu in-house has also improved communication with their guests, which leads to a stronger reputation in the community. “If something happened with a third-party order, you have to tell the customer, ‘You’ve got to call [the third-party] because it’s not in our system. We can’t change anything,’” said Maron. “And the customer doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to call a third party. He thinks he ordered from you.”
Maron says that support is another headache that’s been resolved by switching to Upserve by Lightspeed. He recalls having to call into Aloha and finding that they charge a fee for customer support. “Upserve [by Lightspeed]’s support is great,” said Maron. “My managers and my servers all say: ‘They’re always so nice and they’re always so helpful.’ And we’re really very appreciative.”
Maron tells other business owners that it’s better to upgrade to a cloud-based system like Upserve by Lightspeed sooner than later. “You’ll really appreciate it. It makes your life easier,” he says. “I just went on vacation for six days. And I’m sitting there and I can do payroll. I can do whatever I want just from my iPhone. Back in the day, there’s no way you could’ve done that. When you switch, only then you realize really the difference you’ve made in your life.”
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