Speaking from his old-school flip phone, chef Joe Horton describes his relationship with technology as ‘tragic’. Smart phones – no way. Zoom – forget about it.
Joe co-owns The Styx restaurant and says his team are like family. Many have stayed with him since he opened his waterfront restaurant a decade ago. After returning from a holiday, he came back to work to find a post-it with ‘Upstock’ written on it – the team started using a new app while he was away. Thanks fam!
“I was so nervous when I saw that note and thought ‘how is this going to slow me down?' But, it was the complete opposite – Upstock was so easy to use."
To his surprise he loves Upstock, because he doesn’t have to waste time worrying about orders anymore.
“Before Upstock, placing an order always felt like I was taking a gamble. Did they get that text or voicemail? Do they even have what I need in stock? What’s actually going to show-up?"
"When I placed my first order in Upstock I was suspicious it wouldn’t work. It just seemed too easy. But it really is just so clear and simple – the stock info is all up to date, so I have certainty that what I order is what I’ll get."
Working nights in the kitchen he knows he can jump on Upstock at the end of the shift, see what's fresh, order it, and trust it’ll arrive when he needs it.
“It's so good – you get to just wrap up the kitchen and go home. It's quicker and less stressful, so it finishes your day on a much happier note.”
More from our chat with Joe Horton Co-owner and Chef at The Styx:
What’s the vibe of your restaurant and who are your customers?
We've got a large local customer base, some come everyday. Come the summer, we have lots of tourists through as well. Because it's right on the waterfront overlooking the Tasman Sea you get to see beautiful sunsets; even the odd whale swims past, it's pretty special. Our food? Well, lots of seafood, we’ve got some great local suppliers like Aquafresh and we get some fish off smaller boats in town too. We call it ‘casual waterfront dining’. We don't try to be too high-end, we’re accessible to everybody really. So families and older people, who come out for lunch. We do a good weekend trade; breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and private events too. It’s really buzzing being down by the waterfront, especially in the summer it just comes alive.
What's your favourite thing about how Upstock’s changed your ordering process?
I really rely on fresh, local products so I need to see in real time what’s actually available. Before Upstock I’d do a phone order, the supplier might have an answer phone message saying we have this and that for tomorrow. It was always, crackly, breaking-up and people talking in the background, so you’d miss things. It was messy. With Upstock, as soon as you log in, you just press ‘next day orders' and it gives you a list of what they actually have for the next day. And you put your order in and it shows you what you've ordered.
As well as running an all day restaurant, you host large private functions at The Styx too - how does Upstock help with that?
You can trust it, it just gives you certainty with ordering key ingredients because it’s straightforward and clear. And rather than sending a text to someone's mobile hoping they'll get your full order and understand your order. It's pushing a few buttons and they're getting a printed out receipt. It’s so simple, with no worries about people taking messages and missing things, it works very well.
What do you love most about your business?
We've got a wonderful team. We sometimes have a 30-Strong team during the summer and we do lots of fun activities with them and great staff parties every year. Some of them have been with us for 10 years, we had a bit of a prize-giving not long ago for everyone who had been there for five years or more, which was great. We manage to retain staff and we've got people from all over the world working for us. I suppose me being from the UK and Dana (Joe’s wife and co-owner) from Minnesota you tend to make your own family here. Lots of the staff have young kids now so it's kind of the next generation. It’s like family.