Sun 18 Feb 2018
- The award-winning student news website of Imperial College

Know something you shouldn't? Tell us, using our quick, 100% anonymous tip-off form!


Commercial Services Chaos

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Jan 24 2007 18:57

Live!'s discussion has seen an explosive thread on the state of the Union's bars. Live! investigates some of the issues with commercial services.

Click Here for the Full Article

Jan 24 2007 19:51

Any ideas as to which ale they're going to have on permanently?

2. jess   
Jan 24 2007 20:29

the reason john couldn't do chips effectively before is because there is a planning permission issue with getting a vent from a deep fat fryer in the catering area in da vincis. the new product may be a result of the chips being cooked upstairs. we always wanted chips. chips chips. i'm going to email stuart about toast now. cheers.

3. jess   
Jan 24 2007 20:37

i forgot to agree that the epos system is a good idea for stock control, in the end, but from my experiences was difficult to use, the touch screens didnt seem tough enough for a bar (they're going to get JD on them and break, mark my words) and on one of them the drawer doesn't close properly, because of how it sits on the bar. and they're top heavy, and likely to fall off the surface when the cash drawers are opened when a bit full of change. not practical!!! oh, and the whole thing runs on windows which any imperial geek will tell you is a bit shoddy.

ie, i dont think they were very well thought out.

the original idea was to have them set into the bottom bar but it was going to cost too much to cut the bar to make them fit, and from my experience (we all know i have loads) in the bar, p***ed up students would have poured snakebite over them in about 30 seconds past opening.

if we had not affiliated to the NUS i would have suggested that the ale would have been a youngs ale, as that is what is supposed to be put through the pumps, as they supplied them. however now i am not so sure as its likely that with the NUS came a supply change... they have a trading agreement to get cheap alcohol (we used to have one with TUCO to get ours so cheap)

any questions?

Jan 24 2007 22:44

I'm not going to get too involved in this debate as I have promised Felix that I would write a comment for them in a few weeks time.

Quick factual point though - even though we are joining NUS, we have chosen not to join NUSSL so we are staying with TUCO.

Jan 25 2007 00:39

I can't make specific remarks about EPOS and union bars, I've never worked for bars and I've never used the system the union has, just the IBM system used within college.

All new systems, EPOS or otherwise will be 'difficult' to use when they are introduced especially for established staff. I don't mean any offence to Jess or anyone else but I just think for the point of debate it should be taken into account that in general you are always more satisfied with the system you started with.. As for the units being top heavy that is a simple issue to solve for any practical person with a few screws and brackets.

As for not withstanding JD, it may be nasty to say this but with the current postition the only way that would happen would be a clutz behind the bar because it would actually be quite an accomplishment for a punter to accidently spill any liquid on the units.

I will support all previous Catering managers however because it was always my understanding that ventilation prevented heavy frying and therefore it is the redevelopment rather than the recent restructuring that is allowing chip frying.

6. jess   
Jan 25 2007 02:32

actually [email protected] i'm a bit of a gadget freak, i love new stuff. i was looking forward to epos tills, i've used one in my previous jobs at a bar and a restaurant and they worked well. but its been implemented wrong at the union, and the tills arent up to the day-to-day of the bar, in my opinion.

everyone, at some point, becomes a klutz at one time or another, especially at 0:45 when you have been working since 16:45 and there are still 50 drunk students hassling you for whatever it is that is still on offer. accidents happen behind the bar, things get spilled and although simon spent a lot of time reorganising the optics so they were not hanging directly over the brand spanking new tills, someone, at some point is going to either spill something accidentally or have the "clever" idea of moving the till to clean behind it and forget to move it back. and it will get stuff on it. and it will break.

them being top heavy may be easy to solve but has anyone done anything about it yet? (apart from me sticking stuff underneath to stop them moving forwards so much before i left, which i think has been removed now...)

7. jess   
Jan 25 2007 02:35

oh, and with the new info from john, i would hazard a guess that the new perma-ale would be a youngs bitter, its pretty much the cheapest available on the tuco agreement (hence it being ale of choice for the chaps, 22s, links dinners and RSM bar nights) and would probably be even cheaper if bought in larger volumes. however it isnt very nice ;)

Jan 25 2007 09:22

Being a fomer IC student I have considered buying regalia from the Union Shop online (mine from the "good old days" is now a bit worn") however I have noticed how expensive it is. Maybe if the prices were more realistic more items would be purchased?

Jan 25 2007 10:26

"It is also believed that the system is unlikely to be compatible with a College move to cashless smartcard payments, as the costs of making it compatible with both Union and College systems would be too high."

"Ms Bedford stated that Hit Solution can interface with the potential cashless system the college is planning to adapt." - Executive Minutes (

ummm interesting....

Also I believe the stock write off for the online shop is £26K for this year and £13K for the previous year which is nearly £40K

Jan 25 2007 10:59

The executive committee were told it was likely to be compatible, however college seem to think it will cost too much for them to have a system compatible with the union's tills - we've seen some interesting documents.

11. mez   
Jan 25 2007 14:36

£40k...... wow thats a lot of money to be 'throwing away'.

in a totally separate question:

who was in charge of losing that?

*treading the SSP line carefully*

Jan 25 2007 14:48

It's all under commercial services - the shop is the retail arm.

Looking at might help answer your question, but of course it can't be answered here.

Failing that, drop an email to John Collins ([email protected]).

13. jess   
Jan 25 2007 16:49

the house wines were great before, by the way.

for cooking, that is

Jan 25 2007 17:24

The pervasiveness of free mulled wine over christmas was not a co-incidence!

Jan 25 2007 19:19

When you inhale just before you sip mulled wine, it should not makes your eyes water and irritate your mucus membranes.

That said, it was free.

Jan 25 2007 21:48

A funny story: On the first day of one of the new bar manager, I ordered a snakebite no black and got a carlsberg with blackcurrant! I look forward to the speedy training of the casual staff by this new 'experienced' managers.

17. jess   
Jan 26 2007 01:18

of course a real snakebite should be made with old rosie and lowie pils, none of that weak carlsthorn s**t they get out of the taps in that bar ;)

18. Sam   
Jan 26 2007 23:18

Back in the days when I felt like punishing my liver in that manner, the above combination of Old Rosie and Lowie (or Staropramen if you were in Southside) was called a Black Mamba, on the basis that it's bite was absolutely lethal.

Do people actually like the taste of that stuff?

19. jess   
Jan 27 2007 00:53

i know some people who did...

it makes this really interesting sediment, apparently its the best bit

20. Jon   
Jan 27 2007 10:50

Interesting choice not to use the same system as the college then... The epos tills in Southside/Harringtons are very resiliant to having spirits spilt on them, and have nice big buttons.

21. ?-=   
Jan 31 2007 22:52

I've been in the union newsagent before when the tills have been "rebooting" - seems to take ages. Will the bar have the same problems and close for 5 minutes every now and again?

22. mez   
Feb 04 2007 12:18

The bar did, still does and will continue to have those problems with crashing and rebooting.

Thankfully it is quite easy to reboot by double clicking on the icon at the center of the desktop. Your last drinks order is lost, but not the whole days takings. Which is a relief.

Thats the machine's fault, nothing to do with staff or managers. Absolutely nothing they can do about it. Write to [email protected]$ to complain.

It is just a little embarassing and awkward when you have to tell the customer that the till has crashed. Unless you have an absolute asshole for a customer, then they usually smile and laugh about it.

More thought should have been put into buying the tills in the first place instead of lumbering the new managers and 'relatively ' new bar staff with them. But oh well, s**t happens. Dodgy intel leads to wars in Iraq.

Add your comment:

If you can see this, something is broken (either with your browser, or with our system). Please leave the box below empty, or your comment will be considered to be spam.