Thursday, February 22, 2018

Gary Smith's Biography

garysmithGary Smith- UK Operations Director

A Graduate of the Carlett Park Technology College, Gary started on his long road in Hospitality back in 1982, and after previous stint's with both Tate & Lyles as a Apprentice Process Engineer (Time Qualified 4yrs) and  British Airways in the Main Computer Terminal in Cromwell Road London, Gary headed back to Merseyside to join Business Equipment Centre in Edge Lane Liverpool promoting the Omron range of Cash Terminals to all types of market. Success breeds success, and within two years was heading up the Sales Team as Sale Manager for the Company, and breaking records month in month out on the Omron RS12's/14's Terminals.

In 1984 Gary started promoting the Uniwell Brand of Cash Registers from Herberts in Manchester, who were the original importer, and he sold the first "Preset" Uniwell UI5 System to St Marys Parochial Club in Kirkby Merseyside, (Father McKenna was a revolutionary within the Arch Diocese, with innovative ideas in protecting revenue and was promoted to a full Cardinal within the Roman Catholic Church) which was heralded as a huge success, and the first indication that the Hospitality Market was leading the way in technology, and Uniwell was winning very prestigious customers with its leading approach to Stock Control & Security. It was this that got Gary excited about the future prospects within the industry, and again record sales within Business Equipment Centre led to the promotion to Sales Director, at the very early age of 25. Certainly the other Directors (Peter Clarke & Barry O'Neil) both hailing from the Gross days, were hard taskmasters and this led to a tutoring that has stood him in good stead even today, and he thanks them both for their level of expertise and knowledge.

1987 saw the birth of "CPOS Systems" and the split away from Business Equipment Centre as Gary's idea's of what should be next were not met with equal enthusiasm from the Board at Business Equipment Centre, and so it was with much regret that an amicable split took place and Gary formed CPOS Systems in May 1987, and moved to the new Wavertree Technology Park in June 1987. Significant progress now took place as Peter Hutchings (Founder Member of Uniwell UK Ltd in 1985) awarded CPOS Systems the Distributorship of all Uniwell Products for Liverpool, and it was not long before expansion (10 Staff) meant this was expanding to the North West and beyond.

Turnover was now doubling on a year on year basis, and CPOS Systems success pushed them into the Top 5 Hospitality EPOS Dealers within the United Kingdom, and a respect earned in the Industry for its hard work and dedication, with turnover hitting the magic £1m mark within four years of formation. It was this that was turning the heads of the Blue Chip Companies, and it was not long before a partnership was formed between Stanley Leisure (Stanley Casino's) and CPOS for them to install and maintain the Hospitality Systems for all 32 Casino's across the UK, and lifetime friendships formed with the then Head of Hospitality Mr Keith Hadley, and in Gary's words he say's " Keith Hadley was the hardest taskmaster I have ever had to deal with, a black is black, white is white man with nothing in between, and I certainly learned so much about Corporate Hospitality from that man that I can never thank him enough , although he did give me some sleepless nights lol" this contract was renewed on a year on year basis for the next ten years, and it was only the change in Gaming Law that saw them move away to a bespoke System.

At the same time a small Leisure Company in Ashton-U-Lyne was beginning to weave it's magic within the North West, and it's first site in Liverpool based in Wood Street would see Gary meeting up with an old friend from the Shaftsbury Hotel in Liverpool (Mr Godfrey Russell)  who was becoming an Area Manager for what was soon to be known as "The Revolution Bar", and what was to unfold from this time saw a meteroic rise under the streerage of Roy Ellis (Chief Executive) Neil McLeod and John McDonald (Directors) to 62 sites currently today !! and a turnover in the tens of millions. Revolution was certainly that, and again a bond & friendship that will last a lifetime.

Revolution bar

Always wanting to have a unique selling point in 1998 Gary took on Waitermate which was one of the first "RF" based handheld order pad Systems available throughout the globe, and was years ahead of its time, unfortunately the latter proved costly, as design weaknesses meant a replacement of sites already installed due to flaws in the hardware, and it was this that gave Gary a great insight into what was required in a Hand Held Order pad, which even to this day has stood him in good stead. It was this experience that proved vital when an unknown Australian Company called Palmteq whose product which was to revolutionise table ordering throughout the World with a new product now known as "WaiterPAD" was introduced by one it's founder Directors a Mr Keith Caiacob, who was in the UK on a fact finding mission and a partnership with Uniwell Systems to bring WaiterPAD to the UK. Gary's wealth of experience was called upon by Uniwell Systems to give a full report on WaiterPAD, with a view to Uniwell taking on the product and distributing it throughout the UK and Ireland. Poor Keith was given a hard time, as his product was put through every conceiveable sale, order and fault diagnostic, and proved an instant hit !! In fact one of the sites which removed the Waitermate System was lining up to be the UK guinea pig !! Mike Guttman from Lyceum Restaurant Company was just finalising the purchase of the "Pan American Club" in Liverpools prestigious Albert Dock.

panam      panam2      panam3

Mike fell in love with the product which was subsequently installed throughout the entire venue in 2001, and was a huge hit with Mike and all his staff, speed of service was beyond levels ever seen before and profits rocketed with up-selling from the floor, again, an industry first !!!

Within 12 months CPOS had installed a "Massive" 22 Complete Hand Held Systems in venues throughout the North West, and one of those was also another Industry first with an installation in a Chinese Restaurant in Harrow London, comprising of Nine Hand Held Terminals controlling 400 covers with Bar printing in English, and Kitchen thermal printing in Traditional Chinese !!!! Now..... Rules were being re-written on what a POS System is capable of, and again Gary led the way in being a revolutionary of Technology firsts ....  with mixed languages available for food cooked in the way the original country of origin wanted it, and the customers who sought out to sample it.

To be Continued ....