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.

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.”

The True Cost of Lack of Visibility and Poor Employee Management

The True Cost of Lack of Visibility and Poor Employee Management

Employee turnover in the hospitality industry is a problem. It’s higher than most other sectors, and we are behind the curve on giving a proper focus to engagement and retention — as well as not recognising the benefits it brings. This isn’t overly controversial, but for some it has become an inevitable feature of hospitality. However, others in the industry are getting on the front foot and reaping the benefits of better people management, leading to significant reductions in staff turnover. S4labour have taken a look at what the real costs of high staff turnover are, as well as uncovering some of the real causes (and solutions) to the problem. 

The Cost

Accepted wisdom in the industry puts the figure of replacing an employee in the region of £1,000. However, data from the Society Of Human Resource Management puts the figure at 16% of annual pay. Taking an average across the range of hospitality roles, this puts the figure way over the £1,000 per employee mark, and closer to £3,500 a go. 

Data from reveals that 1 in 3 employees in hospitality will leave their job over a year, but for many roles replacements will need to be found 2 or 3 times over the course of a year — leading to turnover rates in many hospitality businesses of 70% or higher. That would mean to maintain a team of 50 people, the cost to the business is at best £30,000 but possibly as high as £122,500 per year. Of course, costs vary depending on the position and pay rate, but there is a substantial reward for bringing staff turnover down.

Why Does It Cost So Much?

The reasons for the big cost to replace someone are multiple, complex and when added together… they start to mount up. Firstly there are soft costs, including recruitment; admin; and interviewing which will contribute to lost time. With lost time, there are lost opportunities — time spent on admin is often time lost. Therefore limiting sales and training that would drive productivity for the rest of the team. In good times, there are plenty of suitable interview candidates. However currently there is an acute lack of labour, so the chances of interviews going poorly, probations not working out, and the inability to find the right fit for quite some time, are all quite high. Once you have a replacement, the costs continue to stack up. Onboarding H.R. and payroll setups only add to the administrative burden. Training not only takes up a manager’s time but the new team members’ time too. There is a steep learning curve in hospitality, and those who have not experienced the front line before will take time until they become sufficiently productive — especially when compared to the person whom they may have replaced. 

What Is the Solution?

These are issues felt by the entire hospitality industry, and whilst they may be unavoidable there are ways to significantly mitigate the severity of the problem. Those who are giving this a real focus are using data trends to identify, and manage, areas of the business that are driving staff turnover. Ultimately, they are doing something about it.

Where can you start? Every shift is different. It goes without saying that every business is different; there is no one answer on how to reduce staff turnover. Some of these issues will require you to survey your team, giving them a voice to tell you what their stresses (or even the things they love about work) are. However, there is also a hidden treasure trove of insights within your people data — potentially transforming your ability to retain talent. 

At S4labour, we have some amazing forward-thinking operators who have been helping guide the future of our H.R. offering. When we have been speaking to HRD’s about the issues they are facing, the solutions often come back to improving visibility of the workforce. After all, if you can’t see what’s gone wrong, how can it be rectified? Gaining visibility is key in identifying weak points in your staff retention, or pressure points within management that helps prioritise management time, training and focus areas. 

For example: do you know which sites, or which managers, are having the best outcomes? How many people leave your business for a different sector or are they moving to competitors? If so, why? If you don’t know this, you can’t do anything about it.  Some of the main causes for people leaving the business include: not being recognised for their service; being overworked; not being paid correctly; or poor relationships with management.

Being able to see if, when and where WTD breaches are happening will help identify stresses in the business that typically lead to high turnover. Recognising work anniversaries or birthdays has a big boost on morale and generates higher levels of staff engagement. Trends in lateness, or sickness, can be early indicators of dissatisfaction at work (either those arriving late or by those observing tardy behaviour). Having the data to show either improving or worsening trends is critical in how you focus resources in doing something about it. Supporting better management and having appropriate discussions with teams is a lot cheaper than continually supporting a revolving door workforce. 

If you would like to know more about data giving you the right insights to reduce your staff turnover, please book a demo below:

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People Insights That Drive Better Actions

People Insights That Drive Better Actions

There is a minimum requirement when it comes to H.R.: you must have proof of right to work; written contracts; work time directive awareness; constant compliance etc.. However, mistakes happen, things get lost, and valuable time is therefore wasted — especially when recruitment, sales or deliveries are your focus. After all, supporting employee retention and growth is only growing in importance. Getting your people processes right is a golden opportunity that can drive a real impact on the bottom line — meaning employee insights become pivotal. 

Knowing behaviours of managers and teams drives insightful actions; and understanding why they occur brings the following questions: 

  • Are you aware of breaching working time directives?
  • Which sites have more sickness?
  • Are certain employees always late?
  • Are some sites improving or worsening their absentee rates?
  • Do you have a consistent trend of high employee turnover?
  • When are your new starters finishing probation?
  • Are you exposed to fines for missing key employee information?

The list continues. People management issues aren’t only about team members, it’s about managers too. No people manager should be expected to keep track of H.R. related issues via pen and paper; it can limit success and drain valuable time. Every working time directive breach could result in a fine — the stakes are high, especially when it comes to young workers. In a situation where employee turnover is much higher in one site compared to another, it can’t be ignored. Is it management, culture, or failed probations? Insights are required to investigate. 

Still, with the investigation, the focus must remain on positively influencing the bottom line of business financials, whilst simultaneously managing teams effectively. High staff turnover has a huge cost on businesses, not just in the cost to replace and retrain, but the lost skills and opportunity cost.  

Insightful data drives informed actions. For example, how can you be prepared for audits if there is no record of working time directive breaches? Using data to track behavioural trends for employees and sites is becoming an increasingly reliable tool to identify potential areas of problems. 

Those who are doing well on this are using the insights that their data brings, tracking trends and taking faster actions to prevent costly issues. Understanding sickness trends, absenteeism, WTD breaches, lateness and more are all indicators of where you need to focus your energy. In essence, knowing which sites or managers require further support or investigation.

 If you would like to know more about data giving you the right insights to reduce your staff turnover, please book a demo below: 

Book a Demo