In 2017 DoN catering was awarded the contract for catering onboard ÖBB trains – the Austrian rail network. DoN are renowned for the quality of their menus, service and of course, their food, and set the goal of finding a partner who would truly understand their business, and who could offer a system to help them ease the transition on board and reflect their values, being “Warm, Unconventional, Responsible and Aesthetic”.
Not only were DoN to take over the catering contract, they were also to inherit the 600+ crew members responsible for the onboard catering with the previous supplier.
Based in Austria, the project required remote access and support, requiring onsite technical staff , and wifi/mobile networks to remain connected.
Additionally, and perhaps ECR’s greatest challenge, was the concrete deadline for go-live. The transition was planned and committed to the Easter weekend 2018, with the changeover to happen on the Sunday across the whole network. There was to be no pilot or dry-run. It was a one-shot with no margin for error.
ECR carried out a risk analysis and mitigated risks with effective planning and client cooperation at all stages. Teamwork was key to the success of the project from start to finish. DoN and ECR built a mutual trust between the two teams, both learning from and working with the benefit of the other’s expertise.
ECR proposed their latest TrainNet software, to run on their unique Go2 handheld terminals and set about working on a series of workshops with the client and their teams representing all parts of the business. The system was specified and agreed, milestones were set, and the project got underway.
In addition to the requirement for an onboard EPOS system, DoN wanted to go the extra mile and present their customers with the added convenience of at-seat ordering. Part of the agreed specification was an at-seat ordering app: a landing page using the onboard wifi, enabling customers to easily browse the day’s offerings, and order food directly from the kitchen for delivery to their seat.
Launch day -2 our team arrived in Vienna and were welcomed to the training suite. Technical experts carried out last minute configuration and preparations, setting up wifi and mobile network communications, whilst training was prepared.
The training day itself comprised a 7-station circuit, where users were greeted and given an introduction to DoN and its work, followed by information on their new roles. They were issued with their uniforms and made their way from station to station, including the EPoS training module. Each user then received their HHT along with charger and accessories, right down to the till rolls, and upon completion of the session, were fully prepared for immediate departure on their first live journey!
Once onboard, the users were able to put their training into practice with the HHTs immediately, whilst passengers took advantage of the onboard at-seat ordering app. Both were an immediate success, launching without any issues and processing orders, transactions and full onboard activities from the first moment.
At head office, our team was simultaneously monitoring progress as a safety-net, to ensure that the communications were reliable and that the service was maintained at all times.
Reports began to come in and users were delighted with the results – both at Head Office and onboard. Transactions were being processed on 240 devices, across borders into 7 different countries, in 5 currencies. The system was managing deliveries and orders serviced from 6 warehouses in Austria, and successfully processing online orders.
There was no interruption to service, payment processing or crew performance, and at the end of the weekend the system had already processed thousands of transactions across multiple payment types, including cash, card, voucher, contactless and mobile wallet.
For our people out in the field, it was a long but successful 27-hour shift. Before leaving for the hotel, they and the DoN team celebrated with a well-earned chocolate egg…