Darwin Trailer Boat Club

About Darwin Trailer Boat Club

The Darwin Trailer Boat Club (DTBC) is Darwin’s oldest and most iconic clubs situated on the seaside looking out over Fannie Bay that began in a caravan in 1954. It is a busy venue, with a bar, a bistro and a functions room. It also has a boat ramp and is host to the Coopers Bluewater Classic, a premier family fishing event, every year.

Where did they need help?

“We were manually managing 400 food orders in the space of 90 minutes and putting dockets into our pockets because the order holder was overflowing.” says Alexander Ehrlich, General Manager of the DTBC.

For the Darwin Trailer Boat Club, managing orders manually had become the normal way of doing business for years. This seemed to have worked so far – entering the orders, printing them out and handing them to kitchen staff to deliver in a timely manner.

But the bistro was now busier and no longer efficiently managing the manual order process.

“Between 6pm-7.30pm every night we can do 400 meals in that time and still have a queue of people waiting,” says Alex, General Manager of the DTBC. “We call it the sunset rush and 80% of our trade is done in this time. It became too much to manage. We had two tills taking orders and sometimes the chef would have to ask the (order taking) staff to slow down because the kitchen could not handle the number of orders. The kitchen staff were stressed!”

The chef was able to display up to twenty dockets on the order holder and during their busy time, there were many more than twenty so he would put them in his pocket to keep them safe and pulled them out when he was ready. This is not unusual for busy restaurants without automated systems. The chef did exceptionally well to manage this manual process but it was not bullet proof and dockets were lost.

“Once a night there would be a lost docket and everyone would think some else was responsible for it,“ Alex remembers.

Here are how the problems escalated:

  • During dinner rush there were many dockets and keeping them in order was a job in itself, it was not uncommon for the orders to get mixed up
  • Dockets were being put into places like pockets or draws, and one docket would be lost per night on average
  • They used 3-ply dockets for the different areas of the kitchen to deliver their part – grill, salads etc. The first copy was eligible, but the second and third not so eligible, which meant that some orders were read incorrectly
  • When orders got lost or incorrectly delivered, staff thought someone else was responsible so no-one was accountable

This would often result in having to re-enter orders, therefore, creating delays for customers. All in all stressful for staff and annoying for customers.

Sound familiar?

The DTBC knew they needed better business systems. When the busiest time of the day or night arrived for the Darwin Trailer Boat Club, they needed all hands on deck, everyone alert and efficient and relying on business processes to help them get through that crucial ninety minutes with happy customers and a job well done!

How did H&L help solve their problem?

The Technology – Order Display Monitor (ODM)

The Darwin Trailer Boat Club installed H&L’s ODM – Order Display Monitor – an order management system for venues to get more control of their food order process and delivery. It integrates with the H&L POS system so that all incoming order dockets are on a visual display.

ODM is both a software and hardware turnkey and cloud-based solution and provides the following features:

  • It monitors your entire order queue, not just the dockets on the current page
  • It manages course and item progress on dockets
  • It allows to bump your orders around to manage queue priorities during service
  • You stay across all new orders as they come in with the “New Order Alerts” feature
  • You can share orders across multiple screens or configure each device to show only what is required for that area
  • You can Snooze and Park orders to manage courses and the order queue

H&L ran training sessions for the DTBC staff to make sure they used it for maximum efficiency and so that the restaurant got off to a good start. The DTBC installed the system during a quieter period in November so that staff could get comfortable with it before the busy season arrived.

The Darwin Trailer Boat Club now have three identical screens in the restaurant.

Staff can easily see all the orders displayed on a wide screen and can manage the order queues and details. Kitchen staff can see all the orders but stay focussed on their part, for example, the grill, fry or cold section but they can still see where the order is as a whole. If a customer wants a steak well done, they can start this in advance so that the rest of the plate comes together in a timely way.

Alex is relieved having the ODM installed. “The most obvious pain factor is gone and I believe the food now comes out faster. When the dry season hits which is our peak time and we have more data to review, I will know this factually.”

As with many venues that have been around a long time and doing business with tried and tested manual business processes, people were a little concerned about relying on yet another piece of technology. There was some resistance internally to begin with.  The DTBC had reviewed other order management systems before and found most of them rigid and complicated to use.

“Other order management systems we reviewed didn’t allow for deviation in a real life situation with for example, customers changing their mind”, says Alex. “Pencil and paper had always been easier, but the ODM was far superior than anything I had seen. It has revolutionised and changed the industry and has made our job much easier. H&L’s ODM (Order Management System) is user-friendly and clever.”

Snooze Orders

What are the benefits to the DTBC’s business today?

The staff are more efficient and more accountable in their work because they know exactly what they need to do. The morale is better in the restaurant because there is more organisation and less stress. Happier staff leads to better customer service.

Alex says the restaurant has also seen the following benefits:

  • Dockets are no longer missed or lost.
  • The chefs can easily recall previous dockets to review orders in the queue.
  • The chefs can manage the sequence of food coming onto the pass. If for example, an order had a pizza, schnitzel and a well done steak, either the chef had to put on the well done steak immediately and had to remember when to start the rest of the food, or the chef would order everything at once and the pizza and schnitzel would sit on the pass under hot lights waiting for the friend the steak which is not ideal. Now the docket can “snooze” for ten minutes and alert the chef to start the other dishes for the table.
  • It improves the quality of food because food does not sit on the pass losing its freshness.
  • The staff are more confident about accuracy and are more accountable.
  • Information about what stock they need to order is more accurate and based on what they are actually selling.
  • It keeps the management team in the loop and gives them information about menu items that are selling and those that are not, so that they can make informed decisions around menus in collaboration with the chef.

“My chefs have more control of orders, more ownership. All my staff are happier and their confidence has increased. We work better as a team, and customers are seeing the benefits of our more efficient order process.” Alex Ehrlich, General Manager of the DTBC.

 More about Order Display Monitor

 H&L’s Order Display Monitor software (ODM) has made completing orders easier than ever. Our cloud-based software runs on any device that supports Chrome browsers and integrates seamlessly with your H&L POS system. Incoming orders appear on the visual display to give the operator complete control over the entire order queue. The ODM is packed with features, all designed to improve accuracy, optimise efficiency and help your venue deliver to your customers every time.

Here are a few of the ODM’s most enticing features:

  • New Order Alert

The new order button flashes on the screen to let the operator know that a new order has arrived. With a quick dab on the touch screen the operator can review the new order, read it out to the prep staff and acknowledge the order. This provides complete transparency and accountability for staff throughout the venue.

  • Completed Orders

With H&L’s ODM your operators can view orders from any serving period at any time. It’s a snap to refine your search by entering time parameters to see the details of each order in your chosen timeframe. With a tap of the touchscreen you can simply recall an order back into the queue if you need to remake the item.

  • Bump Orders

Manage orders by changing the position of orders in the queue with the ODM’s bump orders feature. Whether it’s prioritising VIP orders or bumping smaller orders up from the end of the queue that can be delivered quickly, it’s all easily managed with H&L’s ODM.

  • Snooze and Park Orders

Maximise your orders on display by snoozing orders for a few minutes or park them until you need them again. This is a brilliant way to hide dockets for a short period while waiting for the next course to be called away so you can keep moving on the next lot of orders.

  • Multiple Screens

With H&L’s ODM you can share orders across multiple screens in your venue. Or you can configure each device in your venue to streamline the display to show only what is required for that area.

  • Communication

Add notes to orders to keep staff informed of changes.

  • Tracking & Reporting

The ODM allows you to effortlessly track shift stats and orders for the serving period so that you can what is working and what areas could be improved on.

Bumping orders

Maximise efficiency and profitability with ODM

H&L POS has been at the forefront of technology in the hospitality and food and beverage industry for over 30 years. We provide Point of Sale with extensive Back of House and a fully integrated suite of hospitality solutions. As hospitality people at heart, H&L understands the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation. We have staff in every state of Australia providing direction and advice as you grow and as technology changes. 


H&L’s products are all about optimising your venue’s profitability and making your profitability as easy as possible. Our sophisticated ODM is the superb cloud-based solution your venue needs to succeed. Contact our hospitality experts at 1800 778 340, or via email sales@hlpos.com to see how the ODM interface can take your venue’s order efficiency to the next level.