It is with heavy hearts that our news story is about the loss of Ian Whitehead, the first ever customer of ICRTouch TouchPoint. Our CEO, Colin Ringer, always spoke fondly of Ian and specifically asked us to put a story up out of respect and had the following to say:
The things I remember most about Ian
The phrase 'Firm but Fair' very much applies to Ian without question. Most of my colleagues have always been terrified of him; myself I always found him to be pleasant, polite and enthusiastic but there was a definite fine line. If you look after Ian he looks after you, even when you mess up; however mess him about and good luck to you!
He was ahead of his time bringing new ideas to the table when it come to running a business in his industry, this would clearly play a part in much of his success. Many of the early features of TouchPoint, such as the timed pricing promotions and customer loyalty features were designed around his wants; these would be ideas that many others would later follow. In fact I saw him around 6 months ago in another pub and excitedly showed him our TouchOffice Web solution. The very next day when I arrived at the office I said that I was considering asking him if I could contract him to spend a week with our web development team, helping them to shape that product; this only serves to demonstate the level of respect that I had for Ian and the passion that he had for his chosen industry.
Despite all Ian's success he was incredibly grounded, in my opinion a true entrepreneur and gentleman.
What he did for our Island
He created new, attractive businesses which helped encourage the rest of the island sit up and take note. Though the original Joe Daflo's in Ryde was an existing business, he grew this into a multi million pound operation and then by replicating this success went on to create new branches of it from nothing in both Newport and Southampton; with this creating much needed new jobs and employment opportunities across the Isle of Wight.
Most importantly to me though is that without Ian there's a very real chance that ICRTouch might not exist and here's why
I first met Ian back in 1998 when I was working for Island Cash Registers, he owned the Crown Hotel in Ryde and had asked us to help out with configuring his current Uniwell till system, he was running quite a complex promotions system and stretching the epos system way beyond what it was designed to do. This was typical Ian, he always wanted just that little bit more from things than they were designed to do. For example, the Uniwell's of the time were capable of 3 sets of prices per product that could automatically switch with time & date, this was already more than any other manufacturer was doing, however Ian wanted 5! With some 'gentle persuasion', I managed to get the system to do what he wanted, though it was always going to be a compromise. I remember that the crown was by a long way the busiest pub in Ryde at the time and I personally believe that the way he went about promotions was the cornerstone of this success, in particular during the 'quieter' days of the week.
In late 1998 he approached Andy, my employer at the time, declaring that he now wanted touch screen tills and asked us to quote. Back then touch screens in EPoS were pretty much unheard of, but by coincidence we'd started developing our own touch screen solution which was a project that I was personally overseeing. Despite being our first ever customer Ian put faith in us and our new product and purchased a single till from us; which soon became 3; citing the fact that it was colour where the only other system he'd seen was monochrome as supplied by Checkout.
A couple of years later he bought Joe Daflo's, a quiet little place in Ryde High Street owned by Mark King of Level 42. Under the original tenure it required only a single old fashioned till that was supplied by us, with Ian in charge this was to become 3 ICRTouch TouchPoint touch screen terminals with the corresponding increase in business that he went on to create. He used the Joe Daflo's brand name to open branches in Newport and Southampton.
ICRTouch is by a very long way the number 1 supplier of touch screen EPoS software in the UK; would she be around today without the faith and foresight afforded to her by Ian, who knows? But for me, at least, I will never forget the day I installed that first TouchPoint in The Crown and I will never forget Ian for the things that he helped us to achieve!
Thank you so much Ian, the Island will be a poorer place without you.
Further information about the loss of Ian can be found on the IW County Press website, including details on how to donate to the family's chosen charity.