The Future Looks Bright for S4Labour’s New Graduates

The Future Looks Bright for S4Labour’s New Graduates

Following the appointment of three new senior employees, S4Labour are delighted to welcome to the company the four members of our graduate programme for 2017.


The quartet, who took up their positions at our Oxfordshire head office earlier this month, are Ross Atkinson, Ben Nestel, Jess Stacpoole, and George Tuvey. They were selected from a large pool of applicants after displaying in interview the talents deemed necessary to become valuable members of a dynamic, growing business.

The programme, now in its second year, will see the graduates rotating through four three-month placements in our account management, sales and marketing, development, and finance teams, concluding in a likely promotion to a permanent role in the department in which they have displayed most aptitude and most enjoyed working.

The Square & Compass, near Harrogate, where our graduates gained key experience

George, fresh from completing an Economics degree at Lancaster University, previously spent a week on work experience with S4Labour. He was swiftly convinced that a longer term position was right for him, saying, “During my previous placement I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the office and was very impressed by the direction the company is taking.”

We firmly believe that being able to successfully help our clients solve their labour challenges is rooted in a thorough and detailed understanding of hospitality operations gained only through first-hand experience. This ethos has been quickly grasped by the graduates, who spent last week working at one of our Malvern Inns pubs, furthering their exposure to front of house, kitchen, and managerial roles within the industry. The experience was a valuable one, according Jess, a Biology graduate from York University, who called it “a fascinating insight into the reality of labour management in the industry.”

S4Labour CEO Alastair Scott is thrilled by the appointments, saying, “We see our future very much as a graduate-led business, with senior roles filled by those who have shown the attitude and attributes needed to quickly gain internal promotion. This will give them the expert knowledge of our operations necessary to provide the exceptional level of service our customers have come to expect.”

Our graduate recruitment for 2018 will begin later this year and will be advertised both externally and through our Careers page. For general enquiries about the programme or working with S4Labour, email info@cattonhospitality.

The Future Looks Bright for S4Labour’s New Graduates

Staffing After Summer – Our Advice

The kids are back at school, there’s a chill to the air, and while we may still be blessed with the odd fine day, autumn is in the air. For most in hospitality, the end of the summer season brings renewed staffing challenges.


With sales likely to drop, tightly controlled labour spend once again becomes the order of the day. But all is not lost; for shrewd operators, this time of year brings opportunities to continue to generate healthy profits and ensure their business is structured from long-term success.

A reduction to footfall and takings is likely to mean there will be less demand for staff. However, rather than having to cut employees’ hours – a move that is never popular – for many, the chance to schedule fewer total hours of labour will arise organically.

Many young workers will return to studies

Earlier this year, our study into 23,000 people employed at over 100 organisations found that 89% of all hourly-paid workers in hospitality are under the age of 25. Many of these are students who work to fund their studies (and social lives), so the start of a new academic year will typically mean student-workers will want to work fewer hours or move on altogether. This provides a perfect opportunity for managers to save hours without aggrieving the staff who have likely worked hard all summer.

Improving your understanding of sales patterns within your business will also reduce the need to shorten hours without straying from a tight labour percentage. Darker nights encourage earlier dining, so be sure to amend shift start times to reflect this. If you can identify times in your trading week when you are typically understaffed, they provide a perfect chance to improve your labour percentage. Resist the temptation to just “get by” with a skeleton crew. The increased sales opportunities encouraged by attentive service will often justify having the extra body on shift many times over.

The changing weather brings changes to consumer tastes, which for many will mean a refined F&B offer as autumn takes hold. Salads and summer cocktails give way to heartier choices. This brings a chance to review the composition of your team. Do you have enough experienced labour in your kitchen to deliver new, more preparation-intensive dishes? Can your bar team cope with the increased demand for hot drinks? September is a great month for recruitment, as quality employees will be available following seasonal contracts, and any new staff you do take on will be well into their stride come the busy festive season.

Too early? Not a bit of it

And that festive season will soon be with us. It may be months away, but it isn’t too early to start planning for Christmas. The festive market is increasingly competitive, with the best operators exploring all advertising channels, not least social media, to promote their seasonal offers. Delegating tasks in this area to tech-savvy team members can be a very effective way to boost hours, while simultaneously ensuring Christmas is as profitable as it should be for all in our industry.

Finally, we must be realistic. At this time of year, there are going to be gloomy days and nights when customers just aren’t coming through the doors. In the spirit of silver linings, however, these can be seen as an opportunity to complete all the ancillary tasks that are side-lined in busier months. A thorough deep clean is always a good idea, while ensuring outside areas, including furniture, are protected from the harsh weather ahead is a valuable use of time. If you’re lucky enough to have an old-fashioned chimney, it’s probably time to arrange for it to be swept.

In today’s climate of rising costs for hospitality, it’s necessary for operators to make the most of the autumn, not just see it through. Following the guidance above will put you in the best position to make this time of year both profitable in itself and beneficial to the longer term health of your business.


The Future Looks Bright for S4Labour’s New Graduates

We’re at the Bar & Pub Show 2017

S4Labour are exhibiting at the Bar & Pub Show at Olympia, London, from October 2nd – 4th.


Come and find us next to the Bar & Pub Hub

The three-day event, part of the wider Hospitality Show 2017, will bring together professionals from all sectors of the industry. 

We are exhibiting from stand WF51, situated right next to the Bar & Pub Hub at the heart of Olympia’s West Hall. It will, as these events always are, be a pleasure to come together with so many people who are as passionate about our industry as we are. 

We will be delighted to speak to any operators about their labour challenges and how S4Labour can help, and would like to invite any existing customers in attendance to come and catch up. It’s always great to renew acquaintances with clients old and new and discuss how we can continue to support their businesses to drive sustained success. 

Attendance is free for those who register in advance

We look forward to seeing you there. 


The Future Looks Bright for S4Labour’s New Graduates

S4Labour Clients Win at Great British Pub Awards

The champagne corks were popping as two S4Labour customers saw off stiff competition to take wins at the Great British Pub Awards 2017. 


    Temple Brew House’s award has taken pride of place amongst their beers

City Pub Company’s Temple Brew House, in London, came out on top in the prestigious Beer Pub/Bar of the Year category, while Rumba, in Macclesfield, part of DV8 Bars, was crowned a worthy winner of the Turnaround Pub of the Year award.

City Pub Company signed up to S4Labour in January 2016, and use the system to control costs and drive sales across all their 33 sites. Co-founder John Roberts is a particular fan, saying “Your labour system is doing wonders at the City Pub Co – well done!” 

DV8 became S4Labour clients the same month. The year and a half since has been an excellent period for the company – who operate cocktail lounges in Cheshire – culminating in success at last night’s awards show at the Hilton, Park Lane. 

In total, no fewer than eight S4Labour customers were vying for trophies across five categories. 

We are dedicated to helping the best operators from across all sectors of hospitality get even better. Catton Hospitality’s Director of Customer Services Andrew MacDonald hailed the success, saying, “It’s a pleasure too see our clients reap the rewards of the hard work and dedication, which coupled with S4Labour’s insight and support, is always a winning formula.”

Congratulations to the winners. We’re already looking forward to more in 2018!


The Future Looks Bright for S4Labour’s New Graduates

Experienced Trio Joins S4Labour

We are delighted to announce the appointments of three new senior members of the S4Labour team.

This news was also reported in industry-leading publication Propel Info

S4Labour is the fastest-growing labour scheduling solution for the hospitality industry. As more and more first rate operators are realising the value it brings to their business, we are dedicated to bringing the best people into ours. This will ensure that our products stay the best on the market, and that the quality of the service we provide to our clients remains as high as ever as we expand. 

Chris Wells

Chris Wells and Tobias Collison have been appointed to the role of Account Director, in which they will be responsible for overseeing the S4Labour usage of a number of our highest-profile clients. 

Both have a wealth of industry experience having completed the graduate training scheme at Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), operator of almost 1,800 pubs, bars, and restaurants nationally across several well-known brands. 

Chris went on to spend three years as an Area Manager for sites within M&B’s Premium Country Dining concept. He more recently worked as an Operations Manager for Tortilla Mexican Grill, who operate around 30 sites nationally. This gave him an intimate understanding of the quick service retail sector, which positions him ideally to work with S4Labour’s customers within this sphere. 

Tobias Collison

Tobias managed sites within M&B’s popular All Bar One and Premium Country Dining brands.

He gained a wealth of restaurant sector experience as General Manager of Jamie’s Italian’s prestigious site in Birmingham’s Bullring development, before being appointed to the role of Operations Manager for Pizza Express. He was responsible for overseeing the profitable operations of their restaurants throughout Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire. 

Gareth Thomas has been appointed to the position of Business Development Manager. He will primarily be responsible for developing the relationships between S4Labour and new and existing network partners, including EPoS providers, training companies, and property management systems, with an aim to ensure seamless workflow across S4Labour and its many complementary platforms. 

Gareth Thomas

Also with roots at M&B, Gareth spent eight years working within the Premium Country Dining brand, both as a General Manager and overseeing new site openings.

He went on to manage The George at Backwell, Catton Hospitality’s pubs division Malvern Inns‘ debut site, where he gained first hand knowledge of working with S4Labour to ensure tight controls on labour spend and excellent service levels.

More recently he worked for Punch Taverns, who operate some 1,300 pubs nationwide, including time as an Area Operations Manager within their Falcon Division. 

All three are enthused at the opportunities ahead with S4Labour:

I am delighted to have joined S4Labour at what feels like an incredibly exciting time for the company. Over the last five years as an Operations Manager, I have used several different labour systems in both full and quick service restaurants, and I can honestly say that I wish I had had the opportunity to use S4Labour as a tool. My aim is to help to provide a level of customer service far beyond what is expected, and to provide operational insight wherever possible. – Chris Wells

I’ve worked in hospitality since my sixteenth birthday and quickly became hooked. I’m incredibly passionate and energetic about customer service and driving efficiency within operations, and looking forward to demonstrating this to S4Labour’s many clients. – Tobias Collison

I’m hugely excited to build key relationships with our valued network partners, and show them what sort of opportunities our S4Labour system offers organisations to optimise their labour controls. In my previous positions, from General Manager to Operations Manager, the challenge of delivering a P&L budgeted labour cost was constant. S4Labour gives operators the key to achieve this. – Gareth Thomas