S4Labour is the fastest growing labour solution for the hospitality industry. It is intuitive and user-friendly software designed to optimise scheduling of staff, as well as manage HR functions. In addition to significantly reducing operating costs, the system saves its users valuable time, allowing site managers to focus on doing what they do best – delivering great experiences to customers. Here are six ways S4Labour can save you or your managers time.
Saving time leads to increased focus on service levels
We have established integrations with most leading till system providers meaning hourly sales data populates automatically into S4Labour with no requirement for managers to duplicate the process. This also facilitates perfect scheduling, with the right number of people on shift to deliver service standards throughout the day.
Easy Time & Attendance Tracking
We can also take clock in and clock out data directly from EPoS terminals, ensuring correct payment of staff. This removes the need for managers to update shift times at the end of the night and the hassle of dealing with pay-related queries.
Managing Human Processes
HR functions can be a drain on managers’ time. S4Labour automatically manages complex processes such as calculating correct holiday accrual and sick pay, and makes previously burdensome tasks like ensuring staff have legal right to work and logging appraisals, grievances, and disciplinaries a breeze.
Manually creating a rota every week is often an unnecessary undertaking. S4Labour removes the need to do this by allowing users to create template rotas, which can be allocated to the required week in seconds, and then adjusted as much or as little as desired to account for the forecasted specifics of that week’s trade. There is no limit to the number of templates that can be created, and they can be created for the whole site or by department.
S4Labour makes worrying whether staff have checked when they’re due to work a thing of the past. Every time a manager creates a new rota, a copy of it is automatically emailed to all employees at the site. Employees can also take responsibility for managing their own personal details and requesting holiday through the system, further freeing managers’ time.
A Fully Integrated Solution
We integrate with leading training, payroll, and property management providers, and others. S4Labour is a one-stop-shop for management processes, removing the burden of working across multiple systems. Having an integrated solution allows S4Labour customers to work with the providers they prefer, safe in the knowledge that we will partner with them.
To find out more about how S4Labour can save your business time and money, or to request a demonstration, call 01295 267400 or email email@example.com today.
Barons Pub Company is a collection of food-led pubs in the south of England. It was founded by Clive Price in 2000 and has grown healthily since. Averaging a new site acquisition every two years, Barons expanded outside of its Surrey heartland for the first time in early 2017, opening The Black Boy near Reading. Barons pubs have won a host of local and national accolades, including the coveted Shepherd Neame Food Pub of the Year 2017, while Clive himself was a finalist in the prestigious BII Licensee of the Year Award in the same year.
Barons have been using S4Labour since 2015 to control costs, generate sales, and provide better insight across their growing estate. We met Clive to discuss his business, its success, and how S4Labour helps to drive it.
Clive outside his Rose & Crown site
How was Barons founded and developed to its current form?
Having worked in a wide range of hospitality jobs since the age of fifteen, as well as gaining a degree in catering management and economics, by the year 2000 I felt I had gathered enough experience to start out on my own. So Barons was born, originally as a single site restaurant which soon developed into a string of popular pubs. Our ethos has always been a simple one – promoting high quality food and drink in line with great hospitality from warm and friendly staff. Increasingly we have focused on attractive refurbishments of sites, which based on customer feedback and financial results, has been part of a winning formula.
How is the business structured today?
We employ 350 people across the seven sites, as well as fifteen head office staff who are based at our flagship site, The Cricketers at Horsell near Woking. I originally founded Barons with a business partner, who moved on from the business in 2008, although several other members of our head office team are approaching ten years’ service. We have recently appointed a dedicated administrative assistant at every site, which has helped create a professional atmosphere and freed up managers’ time to focus on guests.
What makes Barons unique and successful?
I believe that at its heart, hospitality is about making people feel good, and that this goes deeper than quality food and polished service. We pride ourselves on being the best we can, and identify several core company values. Amongst these are the celebration of success, covering everything from a new barman’s first perfect pint to winning a national award, and a desire to evolve and embrace change to stay on top of our game. This has created a positive, professional, forward-thinking atmosphere that has been at the core of our success.
Barons prides itself on staff satisfaction and motivation
What led you to decide an advanced labour scheduling solution would be of benefit to Barons?
There were numerous factors. We were frustrated with the lack of management control we had over labour costs. The pen and paper approach we were using felt dated and caused issues such as rotas going missing and difficulties accessing historic data. As we opened more pubs, we realised we needed a system that would give us insight into all sites quickly and easily.
What led you to decide that S4Labour was the best option for you?
The system came highly recommended to us by a former colleague, and when it was demonstrated we liked it straight away. It was clear that S4Labour would provide the solution we were seeking at a reasonable price, so we were very happy to proceed with the relationship.
What other tools do you use in your business, and how have these been able to operate alongside S4Labour?
We use Zonal for our EPoS system, and the fact that S4Labour run a seamless integration with Zonal for importing sales figures has always been a real benefit. We run our payroll through a local accountant, who has found S4Labour’s payroll export to be a hassle-free way of ensuring staff are paid correctly and on time.
How have processes changed as a result of using S4Labour?
We don’t see S4Labour as a stick to beat managers with, rather as a tool to help them optimise their rota-writing process. It has more often been used to identify understaffing than overstaffing, which has led to better scheduling, with increased sales and better service as a result. This success has prompted a wider technological push within our business, including the introduction of a new automated table reservation process.
How has your relationship been with individuals within S4Labour?
They’ve been very helpful. We always get a prompt and useful response to queries. Since our initial training we have felt that we are dealing with individual professionals who care about our needs and want to work with us, rather than a faceless corporation.
S4Labour integrates seamlessly with Barons’ other systems and processes
What’s next for Barons?
Ten years ago, I wrote a plan for how I wanted the next decade to look. This has now been delivered with a high level of accuracy. The core of our business is in excellent shape, and with the increased control we now have, there’s no reason this can’t continue for the next ten years. Turnover for the twelve months to September 2016 was £9.7 million, and this is projected to rise to £12.5 million for 2017. Profits are also likely to increase, in part because of better cost controls. We will continue to focus on delivering great hospitality in attractive pubs, and may seek to acquire sites with the potential to develop an accommodation offer. Ultimately, we are targeting twelve to fifteen sites, and will use S4Labour to help us reach this goal.
How do you plan to use S4Labour in the future to further improve processes and drive ongoing success?
As our business grows, any system that gives more management control is very welcome. We have recently started using S4Labour’s new HR module, which will give us greater insight into the human side of our business and save our administrative staff a lot of time. We will also continue to use S4Labour to optimise staff deployment to drive profits. We have been able to use the system to identify potential cost savings of £7,000 a week, and that we were underspending on labour at weekends by as much as 8% of sales. Rectifying this has led to happier customers, more profits through fewer missed sales opportunities, and more motivated team members.
What challenges do you face?
Without question our biggest challenge is cost pressure. Business rates have doubled in recent years and our rents have risen in response to our success. I approve of the National Living Wage as it encourages people to forge long-term careers in hospitality, but it is also a strain, while commodity prices have increased by 40% in some areas. S4Labour gives us better insight into and control of costs, which is a big help in planning for the future.
What advice would you give to any similar business that was looking to engage S4Labour?
Do it – especially if you are still working with pen and paper or a spreadsheet. There are so many benefits, including greater insight, control of costs, and clarity of communication, especially across multiple sites, that it quickly pays for itself.
School’s out for summer, and for our industry that means there are a host of opportunities for operators to maximise sales. Doing this well can provide an even greater boost to turnover at a time of year that typically sees the strongest trading, setting your business up for success into the autumn and beyond.
Here are our top tips to fulfil your site’s potential over the hazy weeks ahead.
The summer holidays bring golden opportunities to boost trade
Consider Your Deployment
The summer holidays are likely to mean changes to your trading patterns. No school means far more kids, and therefore accompanying adults, will be in pubs and restaurants through the week. This will be especially pronounced at lunchtime and early in the evening, with parents looking for ways to keep their children entertained. Demand for staff will be affected accordingly, and a greater emphasis on daytime shifts and early start times is likely to be necessary. It’s important to ensure that you are ready to make the changes to staff deployment required to meet this shift in demand, and that team members are prepared to handle any changes to their schedules.
S4Labour is innovative and intuitive web-based software that allows the hospitality industry to better understand their trading patterns, promoting optimal scheduling, reduced labour spend, and excellent service.
Busy Kids are Happy Kids
There’s many a pub and restaurant manager that knows the value of keeping children entertained to maintain a calm, welcoming ambience. Colouring books and crayons are a cheap and very effective way of doing just this. If you chose to go down this route in your site, it’s a good idea to ensure you have plenty in stock, and that staff are well trained in how to make their youngest visitors feel welcome and well looked after. Going the extra mile to cater for children can create a great impression with parents, encouraging valuable repeat business.
Consider Spend & Dwell Time
With soft drinks and small portions likely to be the order of the day for parents with children, it’s easy to get disheartened at low-spending tables. However, although they may not splash out on that high-end bottle of wine, families are also likely to have short dwell times. Considering spend in the context of dwell time shows that welcoming families can be a very lucrative move.
Capitalising on the opportunities a shorter average dwell time bring may require refinement of processes, including promoting efficient ordering and payment, and developing a summer menu that lends itself to a rapid style of service.
Attractive beer gardens are a surefire summer draw
Beat the BBQ
The biggest challenge for our industry over the summer holidays is convincing consumers to resist the temptation of buying cheap supermarket food and drink and staying at home. To compete, operators need to focus both on offer and atmosphere. Realistically, venues are never going to beat shops on price, so it’s integral to create a customer experience that is good enough to justify a higher price point.
It’s important that any outside spaces are more attractive than the back garden. This means that cleanliness, ease of access to the bar and toilets, and activities to keep children occupied are all important considerations. Special events like beer or cider festivals, live music, and family fun days can be a perfect way to draw the crowds, although developing wet weather contingency plans is always a shrewd move.
Driving year-round custom
The summer holidays can provide an invaluable revenue boost, but the best operators will be looking to use them to maximise sales into September and far beyond. Many parents, looking to keep their children occupied, will visit new pubs, cafes, and restaurants this summer. Delivering a quality of service and offer that will convert them from first time visitors to year-round regulars is a surefire way to boost the overall health of your business. Summer is a perfect chance to promote your business as the social hub of your community, bringing fantastic experiences to customers of all ages and walks of life. Succeeding in this is one of the very best ways to ensure your long-term profitability.