Hospitality Sees Another Uplift in Sales

Hospitality Sees Another Uplift in Sales

Hospitality sales figures during February increased by 4% when compared to the same month in 2020. It is important to note that, in February 2020, there were some declines in sales due to public anxiety surrounding Covid.

Sites based within London experienced lower sales than February 2020. Both wet and dry-led sales declined by 8% and 7% respectively.

Non-London based sites saw a large 13% increase in dry-led sales, with stable wet-led sales compared to February 2020.

Richard Hartley, S4labour’s Chief Innovation Officer, said: “After 2 full months of trading following a tough festive period, to see another positive month of sales reveals some form of stability for the sector. The sector will benefit from the lifting of Covid restrictions, however the rise in VAT coming in April is causing concern for all operators.”

S4labour and Newtelligence: The Rise of App-Based Table Ordering in Hospitality

S4labour and Newtelligence: The Rise of App-Based Table Ordering in Hospitality

The last couple of years have seen huge changes in consumer behaviour. However, for any paradigm shift there has to be a catalyst supporting this change. The way people have gone about ordering food and drink — be that in a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe — is not the same as it once was. Ordering to your table from your phone, without having to stand up, is at times now quite standard. As well as this being an incredibly convenient solution for restaurant-goers, the operational benefits mobile ordering entails aren’t lacking in numbers. S4labour and Newtelligence have come together to explore the technological phenomenon: mobile ordering… and just how useful it can be.

Staffing levels are in constant conversation across the hospitality sector. Covid-19, isolation periods and lockdowns have heavily damaged the industry. It’s no surprise that, when speaking to S4labour customers, not having enough staff to meet sales demands was a massive concern for the sector. Table ordering functionality arguably is part of the solution to this problem.

There is definitely a case for some customers wanting to simply order something without the usual conventions and conversations. Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with this. Sometimes, someone will just want an extra drink or snack and not have to queue or have a conversation. In fact, some individuals choose to have their entire dining experience through an app. Data from PYMNTS goes as far as suggesting that 41% of restaurant sales are generated through digital channels, such as apps or aggregators. Even though this doesn’t specifically mean table ordering apps, it acts as a clear indicator to consumers wanting to digitise their dining experience. But, what does this all mean for our original point of debate: staffing levels?

App ordering doesn’t necessarily mean you have more staff, but what it does mean is they’re more likely to be doing the right tasks at the right time. Front of house, when mismanaged, can be a chaotic environment. In an environment where app ordering doesn’t exist, front of house’s responsibilities can be exhaustive: welcoming customers, checking in on them, preparing drinks, communicating with back of house staff, serving food and drink, dealing with complaints, taking orders, printing bills and clearing tables. It can be a lot.

When ordering on platforms such as Newtelligence’s food2go service, the requirements for front of house staff are significantly reduced. Instead of approaching customers for new orders, dealing with amendments, reducing queue times and taking payments, front of house can prepare orders from point of order and spend more time on improving customer experience. And, importantly, improving productivity.

This goes beyond increasing staff productivity; there’s also something to be said for revenue growth. The question arises: do you actually end up ordering more on an app instead of traditional ordering methods? A statement from Pepper in The Morning Advertiser believes so, stating that average transaction value per customer has increased through app ordering on their platform. Assuming this is true across the board, the opportunity of greater revenue from orders should not be ignored. Not to mention all the drivers which encourage this, be that upselling through questions like “Do you want anything else with that” or “Add this to your order”. Yes, waiters can and will do this where appropriate. However, on apps customers may feel they have a heightened sense of autonomy and are less hassled — potentially encouraging more purchases.

All this said, it’s important to consider the counter-points. We started off this article suggesting changes in consumer behaviour has led to app ordering becoming standard. Yet, there will be individuals who prefer experiences that aren’t reliant on technology. This is totally acceptable. There will be hospitality sites who pride themselves on their front of house staff having excellent interpersonal and rapport building skills, and are a pivotal part of their business-perception. Additionally, app ordering may encourage a party of guests to be distracted on their phone — limiting social experiences. In light of these points, it’s essential to treat app ordering as a hybrid-model. Ordering to your table from your phone shouldn’t replace customer service; if anything it will enhance it. Staff members will have more time to focus on customers, as opposed to taking orders and printing bills.

The market for this product is ever-growing. Recent climates from Covid-19 and staff shortages may have accelerated its popularity, but improving customer service and speeding up processes only helps grow businesses. App ordering combined with effective deployment can be useful tools to boost productivity. S4labour enourages cost saving and sales enhancing rota creation. When combined with food2go, front of house staff have more time to focus on customers and not take as many orders, revealing opportunites to improve business bottom lines.

For more information on our new partner, Newtelligence, get in touch with them today.

Only A Pavement Away and S4labour Partner for New Café Initiative

Only A Pavement Away and S4labour Partner for New Café Initiative

People, productivity and payroll software provider S4labour supports Only A Pavement Away’s new training Cafés. The charity is preparing to open training Cafés across the UK and are launching this Spring.

S4labour will provide their software for Only A Pavement Away’s Cafés, helping with their people management needs. Their training Cafés will be staffed by Only A Pavement Away Members and an experienced management team. The sites will allow those helped by Only A Pavement Away receive training, qualifications and experience to help individuals rebuild their lives through the hospitality industry. 

Greg Mangham, Founder of Only A Pavement Away, said: “The concept of the Only A Pavement Away Café is to prepare its Members for work in the hospitality industry. The support & involvement of S4labour will add a level of knowledge and business acumen that many coming into the industry won’t possess. The use of S4labour will give the Members an understanding of forecasting and skills to run a profitable business.”

Richard Hartley, Chief Innovation Officer of S4labour, said: “The Cafés initiative from Only A Pavement Away is a terrific cause and has helping those in need at the heart of it. Giving people this opportunity to work and grow in a hospitality environment is so important to everyone here at S4labour. We’re all determined to see this initiative give those facing homelessness, prison leavers and veterans the right operational skills for a successful career in hospitality.”

January Sales Reveal Some Much Needed Stability for Hospitality

January Sales Reveal Some Much Needed Stability for Hospitality

The first month of 2022 has seen stable sales across the sector, with January’s overall sales up 1% on 2020 levels.

Food-led sales were up 3%, however drink sales were down by a small 1%.

Sites outside of London saw their like-for-likes increase by 2%, whereas London-based sites saw their sales decline by 4% on January 2020.

Richard Hartley, Chief Innovation Officer, said: “January was shaping up to be a difficult month for the sector, especially following the loss on sales over the festive period. The stable like-for-likes are welcome but most likely not enough, as sector prices look set to rise given the oncoming surging costs in energy, labour, food, drink, and insurance.”

Week-on-Week Growth Spells Some Positivity for the Sector in a Time of Need

Week-on-Week Growth Spells Some Positivity for the Sector in a Time of Need

Last week’s hospitality sales remained soft — down 8% on 2020 levels. However, with the ending of Plan B restrictions potentially in sight, sales were up 4.5% on the previous week  — albeit from a low-base mark. 

Week-on-week sales in London were up 1%, whereas week-on-weeks in sites outside of the capital were up 5%. 

The majority of the like-for-like decline remains in London sites, where sales suffered a 23% fall on 2020 levels last week. Non-London, on the other hand, saw a smaller 3% drop in sales when compared to the same week in 2020.  

S4labour’s Chief Customer Officer, Sam Wignell, said: “Operators have started to see a slight turning of the tide and sales are, for the first time this year, starting to grow week-on-week. However, these rises are from a low point and there is a long way to go before the industry is in full recovery.”