Since its foundation in 2004, Individual Restaurants Group has grown to become one of the UK’s leading restaurant companies. The firm is responsible for a collection of city centre and suburban brands, including Gino D’Acampo, Bank Restaurant & Bar and Piccolino.
Individual Restaurants unifies these brands through its Club Individual loyalty scheme, which rewards guests with points towards bill transactions, special privileges and regional events. Employing around 1500 people, Individual Restaurants has an annual turnover of about £72m.
Individual Restaurants was already very active online, giving guests a way to book tables from its website and mobile app and leave a deposit. But when the nation went into lockdown in response to COVID-19, the company’s online presence needed to grow and develop quickly.
“We’ve always done quite a bit online, but our online presence has had to grow enormously in the last year. During lockdown, we were offering a click and collect and a delivery service for our restaurants,” explains Adam Purslow, Technical Director at Individual Restaurants.
Most of the guests were accessing the site on their mobile phones or using the mobile app to order or book with the company and then paying with card transactions or PayPal. Adam was looking for innovative solutions to make payments easier and more efficient for guests and ensure that they could order any time, anywhere.
“We’re all familiar with card payments, but they’re not always easy. If people are at work, for example, and they don’t have their card with them when they want to order, that can hold up the transaction. We were interested in a secondary payment method that targeted these people. Whatever we can do to make our customers' lives easier, we try to do,” he says.
When Adam met with HSBC’s Senior Cash Management Consultant Tony Ricci to hear about innovations the bank could offer, they immediately hit on a solution that intrigued him.
“HSBC Open Payments – Pay by bank account* is a new solution whereby the client clicks that option and it directs them to their online banking system for payment. It takes the customer to their personal internet banking site or app and then they can send the payment by faster payments. Our solution works with over 40 banks, including the majority of the UK’s domestic banks,” Tony explains.
“This solution was really attractive to us, because it gave guests a secondary payment option, making it a lot easier to process payments from everyone, any time. The product was new and no one else had it. And we were really keen to work with HSBC and build it into our platform,” adds Adam.