When Pam Kelly and her husband decided to transition from ice cream shops into the restaurant world, they looked on historic Garrison Avenue in downtown Fort Smith.  The area is the hub of the city’s night life.  One of the main attractions for years was available.  A few months later they opened The Sound Room, a covered outdoor bar and restaurant.  

I asked Pam what some of her biggest challenges were in the new venture.

“The first issue was making sure we had a sufficient POS system.  The larger component was we wanted to bring in audio visual and separate it from our existing sound system the musicians and entertainment use.  We needed a separate system that would play the TVs and any overhead music without compromising or crossing over into the main entertainment system.” 

They received bids from many different solution providers, but the previous owner, Bill Neumeier, turned out to be a mentor for the couple.  He provided great advice and put them in touch with Jeremy Simpson of Fitzhugh Communications, Inc (FCI) / Fitzhugh POS Solutions, Inc (FPOS).  

“We heard their name over and over again, from other people as well, so I called them,” Pam said.

Jason Fitzhugh and Jeremy listened to Kelly’s goals and vision for the Sound Room.  Then they put together a multi-service/ multi-solutions system to both meet her needs and grow with her business.  Having everything designed, wired, installed, programmed and serviced by a single solutions provider gives The Sound Room a single point of contact for all systems.

The house audio system the Fitzhugh team set up consists of twelve Klipsch 650 CA Series surface mount speakers that sound great and will last many years in this outdoor environment. The TOA DA Series 500-watt power amplifiers provide plenty of power to the Klipsch speakers, and the TOA digital matrix mixer with zone and source control panels allow for easy operation.

The audio system is also set up to take an audio feed from the HD TV system installed.  With 14 HD TVs and multiple HD receivers to feed video from, an HD over CAT6 solutions was installed.  Each of the TVs has HD video signal being sent via CAT6 solution and is then converted to an HDMI cable at the TV for full HD signal up to 300’.  The HDMI video matrix switches allow multiple TVs to watch different events, games or shows at the same time. 

If 14 HD TVs is not enough for you, check out the 16’ wide HD rear-projection screen with 7000 lumen HD projector installed by team Fitzhugh.  The 16’ motorized HD screen hangs above the stage and drops with the push of a button.  With this being an outdoor venue, we did not have a lot of control of the ambient light.  Therefore, FCI went with an HD screen that allows for rear-projection and a very strong projector.  The Hitachi projector is installed on the wall at the back of the stage and puts out 7000 lumens of HD fun.

The point-of-sale system has to be solid for a venue as busy as The Sound Room and that’s why the Fitzhugh team removed the previously installed Focus POS system and replaced it with Future POS.  The Future POS software paired with End-to-End encrypted EMV credit card processing is about as solid as they come.  19” all-in-one touch-screen units are throughout the facility for the servers and bar tenders.  As usual, they customized the Future POS software to meet the specific needs of The Sound Room.  

The Sound Room has been open just over a month now, and I asked Pam what she liked best about the new systems the Fitzhugh team installed.  Pam said the feature that seems to mesmerize the customers is the giant 16 x 20 foot TV screen and audio.  The Kellys are thrilled to be able to offer the football games, soccer matches, UFC fight nights and other events.  

What has made the biggest difference to the staff?

“The POS system has modifiers.  We reference them as buttons, but the technical term is modifiers, that allow them to go in and break down different meals without it being too time consuming. Its very user friendly and efficient, and we haven’t had any issues since we had it installed.”

“We have a security surveillance system that we can access remotely on our phones.  We had a burglar alarm go off the night before last and the police were dispatched.   I looked at the cameras on my phone and saw there was a cat. It allowed me to rest at ease to know that there wasn’t anything major going on.  That accessibility is really nice.  Plus, It protects our customers as well as our staff”

What has made the biggest impact in the business?

“As the owner and finance person, the reporting is prudent.  I need to be able to see the numbers and know that the system is locked down securely to prevent voids and to be able to generate reports on inventory as well as what our numbers are for the day.  This for me is a very important component.”

The Mood Mix component in the system is also important.  It protects The Sound Room from copyright violations, while allowing them to easily play different playlists throughout the week.  It offers suggestions based on your previous selections to make creating playlists fast and easy.  

“We play it on a continuous basis.”

As their business grows they can add new features, like table-side ordering, handheld ordering, and digital signage.  These can be easily integrated into their current system.

What did you like most about working with FCI / FPOS?

“They are very genuine people and they were concerned with what we wanted and our goals and it was good meld.”

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