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Insurance should make you smile

Posted By Paul Jeffries, Founder of Rerusni, 04 August 2020

No one looks forward to their insurance renewal notice in the same way no one looks forward to the reminder from the dentist. But just as you have your teeth checked, you should have your insurance checked. It is all too easy to renew without considering whether the cover you have is the cover you need.

So, ask yourself. Has your turnover changed? Have you got many more staff?  Have you bought new equipment?

The more information you give the insurance company the better protected you will be.

But, which of us can genuinely say we read every word of our policy? We assume that we have the cover we ask for. We assume business interruption covers all interruption, but now it seems that may not be the case.

Currently some insurers are finding themselves in a tricky spot, particularly within the hospitality sector and the courts are being asked to decide how to interpret conditions and clauses.

Insurance companies need to insure, or they won’t exist; but we are learning that the old guard aren’t guarding us as much as we thought.

Some people have said that they simply won’t bother to buy insurance in the future as the current dispute has left a sour taste, but that decision could have serious consequences for them, their employees and customers.

You can always find the insurance that you need, so don’t press that renew button as quickly next time.

Think about the options; go direct to the insurance company rather than through a comparison site or the broker you have always used.

Shop about – get recommendations.

Read the policy – ask every question that occurs to you. Don’t leave it to the day before your current policy expires to renew.

There are so many examples of how we now do and buy things that no one could have ever imagined. There is no reason why insurance should not be better, clearer, easier to understand and more effective for you.

New products and new technology are providing new ways of buying insurance and while

you should not ignore the reminder notice, new options are now available.

Buying insurance, just like that visit to the dentist, should leave you with a lovely white smile on your face.


Paul Jeffries, Founder

07711 642132

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Does technology have a place in the post-Covid hospitality sector?

Posted By Richard Carter, Co-Founder of OrderPay, 30 July 2020
Updated: 29 July 2020

The Covid-19 crisis has undeniably fast-tracked conversations about how technology solutions can help support the hospitality industry rebuild, after what has been a challenging time for the sector. Although many businesses were evolving their digital offering pre-lockdown, over the past few months, operators have accelerated these strategies - strengthening their e-commerce presence, digital loyalty platforms and CRM systems in order to survive. This begs the question, as we come out of lockdown, does technology have a long-term future within the hospitality sector? And can its functionalities complement consumer demand and contribute to driving sales?

Looking to the future

It cannot be denied that technology addresses the current needs of the on-trade. Contactless payment has helped that sector minimise person-to-person contact and adhere to social distancing. However, as the initial focus for many was to find an order and payment solution, with time and development, operators should look towards offering a multitude of tech features which span far beyond contactless payment – and to look for new ways to reach and retain customers and drive sales.

It is important for businesses to picture a post-Covid world and think about how technology can support and complement their business in the future. Operators can reap the benefits from numerous technologies ranging from customer reviews, delivery, voucher management and loyalty schemes. Businesses that embrace new solutions will be able to create unique and memorable experiences for their customers - helping to retain customer loyalty, drive footfall and sustain profitability in the long-term.

In a sector that has historically been so dependent on the ‘personal touch’, there will inevitably be some operators concerned that implementing this kind of tech will mean that hospitality becomes less hospitable. On the contrary, technology is here to supplement the great service that our customers know and love, providing them with a hyper-personalised in-venue experience. For example, functionalities which streamline the customer journey such as browsing nearby venues or viewing menus on a mobile phone can guide guests directly to what they’re looking for. And what’s more, these solutions provide relevant customer data and valuable insight into consumer behaviour, which can help operators distinguish their most and least successful parts of their current offering and make changes wherever necessary to further enhance the customer experience. Businesses can implement tech solutions which complement their brand and those working for it while enhancing the overall customer experience by removing the well-documented pain points of bill payment and splitting.

The Covid-19 crisis has placed significant value on the importance of safety and rightly so, the industry has looked to tech solutions to answer these questions. However, operators that do embrace new technologies will be able to reach and retain customers in new and enhanced ways whilst driving sales for the long-term.


Richard Carter, Co-Founder


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Can the UK find a new appetite for eating out?

Posted By Nigel Ball, Director, Licensed & Leisure of Colliers, 23 July 2020
Updated: 22 July 2020

The weakness in the casual dining market had already seen rents fall on average by around 20% since 2017-2018.  According to our analysis, more than 200 restaurants were handed back to landlords following the ‘Casual Dining Crunch’ of 2017-2018.

Now, the Covid-19 pandemic will reduce casual dining spend in the UK by more than £20bn this year. This is triggering a fundamental restructuring of the sector and the property market which serves it.

Operators have found themselves with overheads that are too high, margins which are too low and a target market which is nervous about a return to eating out on the scale which prevailed prior to the pandemic.

Our new report looks at the sector’s trajectory prior to Lockdown and how it can begin to ‘right-size’ itself in the face of the new customer attitudes and economic realities brought by the pandemic. Colliers believes that the key to this is constructive collaboration between casual dining operators and the landlords who provide the space from which they trade.

The turnover element of the rent demanded by leases will become much higher and base rents will need to reduce if landlords and operators are to find a mutually beneficial way of working together.

Independent restaurants which have lower cost bases than the multiple site operators can help fill some of the void but they already pay lower rents on average than the large chains so cannot be the whole solution to landlords’ problems.

The Government's 'Eat to Help Out' scheme and VAT reductions are timely measured but to restore trading viability, support existing operators and woo new offers into vacant space, rents must inevitably fall and the sector has to target new and sustainable profit margins.

As a consequence, we expect there to be a further significant reduction in rental values, and an increase in vacancy rates, together with a structural change in the way that casual dining property leases are structured.


 To read the full report please click here or contact

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Opening your doors to outside patrons

Posted By Ewen Macgregor, Partner at TLT LLP, 09 June 2020

After the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, all eyes turned to nations that were emerging from their own restrictions to glean some insight into what a phased return to the new normal might look like.

For cafes and restaurants, this included taking over large, outdoor spaces and setting up tables where patrons could eat and drink while observing social distancing.

Already in April, we were advising UK operators and architects on how this “continental street café” scene would work in practice.

Making the concept a reality

On 29 May, the Environment Secretary George Eustice announced that the government “won’t be loosening the restrictions on [the hospitality sector] until at least July, and even then it is likely that in the case of pubs and restaurants it will begin with beer gardens and outdoor areas only.” The Local Government Minister, Robert Jenrick, has also indicated that he is considering a “blanket permission” for restaurants and cafes to use squares or pedestrianised streets for chairs and tables.

While this may be seen as baby steps in the re-opening of the sector, it provides operators with an opportunity to get ahead of the game and utilise any space they can to maximise the commercial opportunity. This could mean extending into or expanding a garden, using car parking space or placing tables and chairs on a public highway.

It will take the combined will of the industry and local authorities – be that members of planning, licensing or highways departments to name but a few – to make this a success. Local authorities have shown a willingness to help the sector get back on its feet, but early engagement with these bodies – and local residents – will be central to taking full advantage of the proposed relaxation.

Key considerations
  • What areas does the “red line” in your premises licence cover?
  •  Is there an opportunity to extend into a beer garden or car park?
  • Does your premises have a tables and chairs licence? If so, what is the scope (areas covered and numbers of tables and chairs permitted), and is there any opportunity to extend this?
  •  If you do not have a tables and chairs permission, is there an opportunity to place tables and chairs on a public highway adjacent to or at the front of your premises.

 There is no universal approach to placing tables and chairs on public highways, so check the local position. Once you have identified areas where your premises can be expanded, engage with the local authority and residents, to make these plans a reality.

Any proposals will have to be supported by a well thought through, Covid-compliant management plan and risk assessment that takes into account social distancing.

After such a lengthy period of lockdown, this is a huge opportunity for the sector. More so than ever, it is incumbent on operators, regulators and customers to get this absolutely right – for the benefit of those that can open first, and to secure an accelerated re-opening of the sector as a whole.


Ewen Macgregor, Partner 


 Phone: 0333 006 1251

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Embracing the challenge: How one entrepreneur is turning adversity to her advantage

Posted By Amber Staynings, Founder at Bums On Seats, 02 June 2020
Updated: 01 June 2020

Many will be familiar with the scenario: a start up with no money, contracts, or people, but an abundance of enthusiasm, clear vision, and long hours, leading to the launch of a successful company in a little over 12 months. This is the description of Bums on Seats, which stormed into the hospitality industry securing several contracts and a workforce of over 14 trained Freelancers before succumbing to the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Bums on Seats founder – Amber Staynings – began the enforced period of self-isolation by setting up regular online discussion forums, both individually and collectively, to maintain that crucial and ongoing contact with her workforce family. In particular, Amber and her committed and dedicated team of consultants used their contacts and collective experience in the industry to gain invaluable insight into how consumer behaviour will change as lockdown begins to lift. Amber has been challenging the industry with the vital question: how can fewer bums on seats still be profitable for your business?

By taking a focused dynamic approach Bums on Seats has been able to adapt to the very different climate and are launching an affordable service to the industry under the title Sales Re-opening Plans (SROP). These plans incorporate a number of new areas which include strategising the crucial need for customer loyalty, home and office delivery services, revised localised and community digital marketing campaigns, and hospitality redesigns aimed at keeping customers feeling protected, happy and relaxed.

Speaking from her rented flat in Guildford, Amber said, “Developing and retaining my talented team members was always going to be a challenge given the disastrous news coming out of the hospitality industry. However, the space created by this enforced separation has proved immensely valuable in creating new ideas for Bums on Seats to pursue when things get better. My regular chats and online discussions have helped us develop new skills and raise awareness of issues connected to the future of the industry. Social distancing has given us the ‘space’ to do this rather than simply remaining focused on day to day operational needs.”

Amber is clearly determined to continue the work of Bums on Seats as and when the industry starts to recover. Her reputation, and those of her team, had resulted in substantial demand for their proven services in turning low or unprofitable businesses round in a very short space of time. Bums on Seats are happy to talk to any new potential clients in preparation for the upturn. In the meantime, Amber will be continuing to garner new ideas from her team and help them to develop a range of new skills and knowledge, knowing that time well spent now is crucial for the future of the hospitality industry. 

Amber Staynings / Founder / 07791 626578







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How to avoid a rent review disaster?

Posted By Nigel Ball, Director, Licensed & Leisure of Colliers, 19 March 2020
Updated: 17 March 2020

Read the lease.

I often get asked for tips on how to manage a rent review to achieve the best outcome and my answer usually starts and finishes with the advice; read the lease.

Rent review disasters include having to pay an unbudgeted rent increase, an over-rented lease that cannot be disposed of, or an under-rented lease that deflates the freehold value. How can you avoid this?

Of course, you should appoint a rent review consultant. That consultant should be experienced in the sector in which you operate; there is no point in appointing  a surveyor who specialises in factories in the Midlands to negotiate your rent review on a pub in Soho.

That consultant should also work in a business that undertakes letting transactions in your sector - they need an up to date understanding of what is going on in the market in order to properly advise on market value.

If your business operates over a broad geographical region, then that consultant should also be able to draw on regional expertise as well.

  • But what about the more technical details?
  • What is the rent review valuation date? It’s in the lease
  • Should tenant’s improvements be disregarded? Usually, but it depends upon what your lease says.
  • Are there onerous lease terms that should reflected in the rent agreed? Read the lease.
  • What hypothetical lease terms should be assumed? You guessed it.
  • How is a dispute resolved? Usually by either an arbitrator or an independent expert, it’s in the lease.
  • Can I challenge the outcome? Sometimes, but what does the lease say?

Planning is important as well. Start early; develop a strategy and budget properly including making appropriate provisions for back dated increases, plus interest. Didn’t know that interest was payable? It’s in the lease.

Having specialised in this field for 35 years, I have witnessed  most things that can go right or wrong in a rent review negotiation, and they haven't always been my fault. However, I am sure that in almost every case that a disaster has occurred, it could have been averted by following this advice:

Read the lease!


For more information, please visit their site here.




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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Posted By Casual Dining, 10 March 2020
Updated: 09 March 2020

Casual Dining 2020 will host over 60 speakers in three Keynote Theatres when it returns to ExCeL London on 25-26 March. With such high calibre speakers taking to the stage, Casual Dining wanted to ask some of them ahead of the show “What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?”.

“Don’t always sit in the same chair in your restaurant or pub, or park your car in the same space, as you’ll only ever see your business from one angle and will never get a view of it from the other tables and spaces that your customers use.

Also, a saying that I picked up in my early days in restaurants and still use to this day: To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late and to be late is unacceptable.”

Mark Teed, Food Strategy & Implementation Manager, Star Pubs & Bars

 “You are given so much advice throughout your career. It’s not always a single piece of advice that sticks with you, but instead watching and learning from industry leaders over the years and learning from them. There are so many extremely talented individuals in the industry, and I’ve been lucky to work with a number of them.”

Baton Berisha, MD, The Ivy Collection

 “Hot Food Hot, Cold Food Cold. We are in the business of delivering great experiences, don’t over complicate things for the sake of it.”

Steve Hill, Operations Director, Bone Daddies

 “Give direct, fair and appropriate feedback to everyone that reports into you. Be honest and hard on the problem not the person.”

Steve Phillips, Operations Director, Busaba

 “Be kind, be fair, be consistent.”

Laura Morris, Co-founder, Yard & Coop

“Without the right amount of servers, you’ll leave cash on the table. Any idiot can cut wages but controlling and delivering service is key.”

Chris Stagg, Operations Director, The Peach Pub Company

“There’s no such thing as a mistake unless you make it twice, and the second you think you know what you’re doing you’re screwed.”

Mark Wogan, Co-founder & Creative Director, Homeslice

 “I’ve been given so much and wish I had listened to a bit more of it. Things I try to keep in mind are:

·       The difference between hospitality and service

·       We should constantly aim to do less but better

·       If it can’t be explained in one short sentence, a prospective guest is never going to get it!”

Simon Allison, Head of Marketing, Inception Group

 “Retail is detail (it really is – sweat the detail!).”

Mark Mcfadyen, Group Operations Director, Brewhouse & Kitchen


For more insight from these and many other speakers read the full Speaker Q&A series at 

To view the full Keynote line-up visit

Book your free trade ticket today at quoting priority code CD97.






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Food and drink trends for 2020

Posted By Casual Dining Show, 18 February 2020
Updated: 10 February 2020

Which key food and drink trends will be shaping menus in the year to come?  That’s exactly what leading trade show Casual Dining asked some of its regular visitors.

While responses were varied – banana blossom, bergamot, better beef, mussels, seacuterie, kohlrabi, Asian broths, premium fried chicken, protein drinks, British seasonal produce, prebiotic foods, fermented veg, alcohol free seltzers, coloured gins, and Picpoul wine for example – the majority agree that health, sustainability and plant-based innovations will continue to have a big influence on what we’ll be eating and drinking.

Read the full comments here:


Delicious, fun & meat free Brian Trollip, ops director at Dishoom

We’re all pretty exhausted by the constant squabbling, politics and polarisation that seems to be happening globally.  All the anger is tiresome, and I think that 2020 will be great for anyone who helps people to escape for a while and to have fun and let go.


Sustainability = the new norm – Jane Treasure, food & beverage director at PizzaExpress

Consumers will be increasingly focused on their impact on the world and documenting it. Strong sustainable credentials to all ingredients and removal of unnecessary packaging will be expected and become the norm. 


Mindful eating – Amir Ali, culinary innovation strategist at Mitchells & Butlers

Aquaculture has traditionally been given a bad rap – but things are changing and eating mussels is one way of getting very good quality protein while having a very small impact on the planet. 


Small colourful dishes, packed with flavour – Nisha Katona MBE, CEO of Mowgli Street Food restaurants

Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese cultures major on flavour, colour and chaos.  People are far keener to have a table full of colour, flavour variety and a sharing way of eating.


Flexibility and variety – Nicola Underwood, food development manager at Thwaites

I think consumers will become more conscious of the choices they are making and the brands they are aligning to.  Shorter supply chains, less processing of ingredients and heritage will all play an increasing role.


Value for money – Charlotte Huckvale, product development and innovation manager at Marston’s

The biggest opportunities will be particularly around driving experience for consumers. Customers will still want to see value for money, not just through price but through provenance and quality.


Meat substitutes will be big – Mark Teed, food implementation manager at Star Pubs & Bars

Customers are still eating red meat but are more frequently choosing to have meat free days.  We’ll see things like banana blossom become mainstream and vegetables being added into meat products, to enhance taste and cut CO2 emissions.


Drinks for all seasons: Simon Woplin, head of innovation - F&B at Ambassador Theatre Group

Some long held key Sunshine brands will see more competition, with anyone who can come up with a 21st century version of Pimm’s being a sure-fire long-term bet.


Casual Dining show – free trade registration

Casual Dining returns to ExCeL London on 25-26 March.  For further information and to book free tickets, visit




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Forget Spam, it’s time to get engaged with insight

Posted By Martin Steels - Head of Propositions, BT Wi-fi and Commercial Sport, 13 February 2020
Updated: 12 February 2020

The right message, to the right person, at the right time.  A pretty basic Marketing concept.  But with traditional methods of customer data collection, generic targeting and messages dropping into our inboxes randomly throughout the day, there is plenty of opportunity for improvement within the hospitality industry.

The first challenge is to get to the right person, or more specifically, to get the right email. All too often our efforts to collect data leads to less than useful results (!). No one likes getting spammed, and so when signing up to get a free drink the typical thing to do is provide an alternative account that’s role is to soak up spam like a sponge.

Collecting customer information has traditionally relied on a value exchange – you give the customer a discount or incentive and in exchange they hand over their details.  Quid Pro Quo.  This approach has worked in the past, customers do like incentives after all. However, this is often an expensive way to collect data. And worse, even assuming the given email is a legitimate one, considering the majority of customers don’t tick the now-mandatory marketing consent box, this expensively acquired contact is rendered useless.  Quid, yes, but where’s the quo?

And what about the right message? Even if you do obtain a valid email, and get marketing consent, what’s the best that you can do with it?  You could send a blanket email or a generic promotion, but this can be a real shot in the dark. Often, the most intelligence that can be applied is knowing a customer’s birthday resulting in the classic “It’s your birthday next week get a free bottle of prosecco when you book a table”. 

To truly hit the sweet spot, the recipe requires more than just the right email, message and basic demographic data. You need to know and understand who your customers are, how they behave and what is relevant to them and at what time. To do this marketeers must look beyond traditional content-based profiling, such as Age/Gender, and instead utilise the powerful insight that context-based profiling has to offer. Has the customer visited recently? Did they stay long? What do they like? What do they think of your brand? What are they looking for today?

Context-based profiling works by taking rich personal information available from social media profiles and combining this with an understanding of on-site behaviour in your locations. Both these facets of data can be gathered using public Wi-Fi and in practice is a win-win for both parties, and here’s why. Customers sign on to your network with their Facebook account; not only is this quick and easy for them, but in return you get a wealth of personal data and every time they visit any of your locations you build up a picture of their behaviour.


Now, it’s all well and good gathering insightful data but the ROI is reliant on how the data is used. The icing on the cake is that the very same data gathering technology has the functionality to serve the right message, to the right person at just the right time; That customer who has been three times this week, likes real ale and tends to spend around 90 minutes with you?  - Why not push a drinks promotion to him over the wi-fi at the end of the Liverpool match?

This level of personalised and timely marketing creates a virtuous circle whereby your customers no longer feel they are being spammed. Instead, your customers receive content they are genuinely interested in, and as a result are happy to give their details and actively engage with your brand and services.  It’s time for your business to flourish in the hospitality industry by unlocking the power of customer insight and making impersonal marketing a thing of the past.  




 BT have officially launched their new Wi-Fi product, BT Insight & Engagement, which brings advanced analysis and targeted marketing capabilities to their portfolio. For more information on how BT Wi-Fi can help your business please visit




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Using Technology to Drive the Guest Experience

Posted By BT, 30 January 2020
Updated: 29 January 2020
An evolving passion for experience

A well-documented shift has taken place in the consumer consciousness in recent years. Likely to be contributed to by a number of factors: environmental, social, economic and political, the consumption of experience over commodity is increasingly defining the way we live our lives as a greater value is attributed to lifestyle quality versus personal possessions. With a backdrop of a new approach to consumption; ever-increasing property prices creating a new space for the build to rent sector, lease-hire and interest free formats on offer for the acquisition of high-ticket items; a focus on ownership is losing out to a focus on experience, and quality of experience at that. And there has been a seismic shift to spending on things to do, rather than things to own.

In this environment, the sharing economy has flourished. We holiday in others’ homes, we share rides and crucially we talk about those experiences of collective consumption in increasingly public forums. Today’s consumer wants context to their experience and they will seek out the experience of others to base that upon. In an era where consumers document their lives digitally, experience has become social currency. And with the advent of social media, sharing the experience has become as important as the experience itself.

A unique opportunity

So what does this mean for the UK hospitality sector? Well the evolving passion for experience can be seen in both consumer spend and prioritisation of future spend. Whilst consumer confidence drops, leisure spend remains high with all categories of spend in YOY growth. However increased caution is on the horizon with 30% of consumers predicting a reduced spend on leisure in the coming year. *

But whilst some risk may lie ahead, there remains a significant opportunity for operators to capitalise on this experience-focussed generation. By combining physical retail with experiential leisure and providing avenues through which consumers can enhance, review and share their experiences, hospitality operators can fully capitalise on this shift in consumer focus. 

Facilitate the sharing of experience

And for a generation where immediacy is key and sharing is vital, fast and robust wi-fi offers a platform on which the currency of experience can be traded. By facilitating and encouraging the sharing of positive experience by offering a fast connection, and by pushing users to review sites to share their experience in a meaningful way, operators can cater for the modern guests’ requirements whilst also seeing significant value return.

Understand the customer to enhance their experience

Whilst fast wi-fi can enrich the guest experience, it’s not just about speed of connection. With smart wi-fi comes a range of opportunities for hospitality operators to get closer to their customers.  Through a simple social login, operators can access rich insight on who their customers are; in-depth demographics, a view of their interests and hobbies – detailed profiling which has historically only been available for those operating in the online space. By understanding who their customers are and being able to make informed decisions about what they might want, hospitality operators can tailor customer engagement and deliver a personalised experience which is matched to their customer’s profile. And in a landscape where quality of experience is king, building an offer which is uniquely fitted to that guest creates an enhanced ability to drive loyalty.

*Source: Deloitte, Experience is Everything: The UK Leisure Consumer, June 2019



BT has this week launch their new wi-fi product, BT Engagement, which brings advanced customer insight and engagement capabilities to their suite of services. For more information on BT Wi-Fi for your business, please visit




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