Billy Stephen and Kailey Moore wanted to start their own franchise business without having to leave their community of Tomball in Harris County, Texas.
Their search for the right fit led to HTeaO. This Amarillo-based brand offers freshly brewed tea hourly, featuring 22 flavors of the best 100 percent broadleaf iced tea, and carries YETI merchandise.
The Moore’s opened HTeaO Tomball in early 2021 with full in-store and drive-thru service. Their location has its own distinct suburban Texas vibe. In keeping with the parent brand, they take pride in operating a family business that offers an alternative to the typical coffee chain, with all-natural and healthy products.
Challenge: The mandated security technology just didn’t perform
Security was a concern for the Moore’s from the very beginning. When it came to point of sale (POS) and video security systems, all franchisees are expected to adopt the solutions from third-party vendors that have been approved by HTeaO corporate.
There was just one problem – the existing option for video surveillance and security had proven to have so many issues at other HTeaO locations that the Moore’s were reluctant to adopt it.
Prior to HTeaO Tomball’s opening day, a representative from a Solink partner company visited to pitch a POS system.
“I told him that I didn’t need a POS system, but I did need a better video surveillance system,” Billy said. “He then told me about Solink.”
Solution: Integrated system unlocks true power of video
Billy was impressed by what he saw in the Solink system. He convinced HTeaO corporate to grant his location an exemption to adopt Solink instead of the mandated alternative.
With Solink, the Moores realized just how powerful a tool video could be as part of an integrated security system. This intelligent, cloud-based platform integrates video surveillance with third-party POS systems, and provides real-time data analytics. It’s easy to correlate individual transactions with video, set up exception-based reporting and motion capture to monitor specific areas of the business, and quickly search and review hours of footage.
Solink is designed to be accessible through any connected device, including a smartphone, through a single, user-friendly dashboard. Dashboards can be customized to the individual user, depending on their role and responsibilities in the business.
Billy and Kailey extended this insight and accessibility even to their investors, to remain fully accountable.
Benefits: Deterring vandals, correcting POS errors, curbing labour costs
Fitting up any kind of new business is no small undertaking. Deliveries of materials and equipment for construction and installation open windows of opportunity for would-be thieves and vandals.
Solink quickly proved its value to deter any such malicious activity … on three separate occasions.
“In each case, the system notified us and we were able to provide the video verification to have police officers arrive quickly and scare off these individuals before we had any losses,” Billy said.
This constant intelligent monitoring continued to prove its value in the first weeks after opening. The Moores relied on it to identify and address operational issues as each member of the HTeaO Tomball team learned their roles.
In one case, staff were incorrectly entering discounts at the POS. Not only were they not providing the proper discount for first-responder customers, but they were also inputting the transaction in such a way that the Moore’s still owed a royalty payment to corporate. Solink’s POS integration helped to identify and address an issue that was both harmful to customer relations and to the new location’s operating margins.
Now that HTeaO Tomball is a few months past its opening, the Moores no longer spend as much time onsite and have put more trust in their managers. Solink provides the peace of mind to know they can step away for a break but still look in at any time remotely to check transaction counts, monitor staff activities, and ensure brand standards are being met.
“Solink offers great data sets, visibility, and outstanding, hands-on service. We love the service we get anytime we have anything to address. The Solink team gets you answers, gives you updates, and gets it taken care of.”
One critical area of focus is employee labour costs – keeping the number below 20 percent as a percentage of revenue. With Solink, it’s easy to monitor employee activities and spot where additional training or other corrective action may be required.
“Solink has protected our investment as we start up and move forward with our business,” Billy said. “We appreciate that and we do attribute part of our success to Solink.”