Posted By Zonal’s sales director Tim Chapmann,
16 hours ago
Having been in sales for more years than I care to admit, I have probably spent as much time in a hotel bedroom as my own bed. And what my experience tells me is that hotels are missing a trick when it comes to using technology to make the guest experience more personal, convenient and dare I say it, even fun.
I’m not just surmising; our GO Technology research supports this view. Of the 1,500 frequent hotel customers polled in our latest research conducted by CGA, technology comes into play when booking a room and the preferred method is via a hotel’s own website (67%). However, this is where the technology journey for guests seems to end.
My personal experiences certainly marry with the GO Technology findings. I find it baffling how little technology I can use to make my stay as hassle free as possible. After a long day of meetings and an inbox bulging with unread emails, I often just want to kick-off my shoes and relax in my room.
However, room service is often costly, there’s not much choice and the food can be lukewarm at best, when it finally arrives. I seem to be in good company. GO Technology indicates that during their stay, well over half of consumers have never used tech to order room service (70%) and more than a quarter (28%) consider ordering or paying for it to be a challenge through the traditional methods.
So, if these consumers are anything like me and without any incentive to do otherwise, they are probably ordering from one of their favourite high street restaurant brands and getting it delivered through Deliveroo or Uber Eats. In fact, our research shows that 28% of British consumers are ordering more food deliveries than they did a year ago and this trend is growing by the day. Let’s face it – it’s not only convenient, but I get the food I want, often at a lower cost than what the hotel has to offer.
I do ask myself, therefore, why are hotels in the UK so behind the curve, compared to restaurants and bars, when it comes to adopting technology to build sales and guest loyalty?
For example, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been able to use a technology solution to avoid the check-in rush. It’s so frustrating! Three in five (60%) consumers say they have never used an iPad or similar to check in to a hotel, although there is clearly demand, with nearly half (45%) wanting to see automated check-in in the future.
Other figures within GO Technology that resonate with my experience include the fact that people don’t use technology to reserve a hotel restaurant table (64%) or pre-order food and drink (63%). These figures contrast sharply with the restaurant and pub sector, where smartphone pre-booking and order-and-pay are now firmly embedded.
Online reservations through hotels’ websites, apps and third-party platforms have transformed the way consumers discover and engage with hotel brands, and automation is starting to emerge at check-in. But beyond those first few steps in the customer journey, the hotel experience is generally much lower-tech.
There is a clear opportunity for hoteliers to use mobile-friendly and in-room technology to facilitate the customer journey. Not only are there financial gains to be made from additional income generated from on-site food and beverage sales, to activities such as spa treatments and trips. Pre-order and pay has quickly become the norm within hospitality and consumers are expecting the same type of service when staying at or visiting a hotel.
Posted By P&G Professional ,
13 February 2019
Updated: 12 February 2019
UKHospitality (UKH) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) Professional team up to deliver an online workshop to support managers in hospitality to get the most out of their vulnerable resource, their people.
The free, educational webinar, will take place on Thursday 28 February, at 13:30.
The webinar will bring together a panel of renowned industry thought leaders, to share practical examples of how to create a more positive working environment, with a focus on how to retain staff during the first two years of employment – a critical time period as currently over 50% of hospitality employees leave their workplace during this timeframe.
Brexit and the surrounding uncertainly has created new challenges in the hiring and retention of staff in the hospitality industry. These issues will be explored during this webinar, with practical tips given on how to keep staff motivated during potentially turbulent times.
The webinar speaker panel includes:
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality (UKH)
John Keating, General Manager of Fairmont Resorts, St. Andrews
Liz Smith-Mills, FIH, MBICSc, is an independent housekeeping consultant and member of P&G Professional’s Advisory Council
Greg Elmore, UK & Ireland Sales Manager at P&G Professional
Greg Elmore describes what managers will get from tuning into the webinar; ““We believe that every experience counts, and that includes the experiences and interactions your employees have at work. With political uncertainty making some employees feel anxious about the future, it is more important than ever for companies to focus on the welfare of their people. This webinar will provide case studies for how to motivate teams and how to create and maintain a happy workforce.”
Click here to complete the registration to avoid missing out on this informative webinar.
Posted By Casual Dining – the industry’s favourite trade show returns on 27-28 February,
12 February 2019
Casual Dining is the definitive trade show for the UK’s restaurant, pub and bar sector. Over 5000 trade buyers will gather at their annual industry event this month on 27-28 February at ExCeL London, to meet over 220 food, alcohol, soft drink and equipment suppliers, from big name brands to smaller start-ups.
Casual Dining gives senior decision makers the unique opportunity to discover new products and trends for their business, hear keynotes from the biggest restaurant operators, and all whilst networking with a who’s who of the industry!
New venue, new trends
Event manager Eva Ellis explains: “Casual Dining is the only UK event that annually attracts so many leading innovators, influencers, trailblazers and decision makers from across the sector together in one place at one time. It’s proved itself year after year to be an essential visit to see what’s new and compare the latest products from leading and emerging suppliers.
“At its new home of ExCeL London, it’ll showcase its biggest and most eclectic exhibitor line-up yet. Around one in three are new to the show, including Scotland Food & Drink (who are hosting a new pavilion), Diageo, Honest Drinks by Coca-Cola European Partners, Hellmann’s, Deloitte, Purezza, Pedrino, Real Kombucha, f'real shakes and smoothies, Spirit Cartel, Sea Arch - Not Gin, Coffee World (UK), Biff’s Kitchen, and Futura Foods UK.
“Then there’s 100+ returning exhibitors adding their latest NPD: Reynolds, Lamb Weston Meijer, Nestlé Professional, Kraft Heinz Foodservice, McCain Foodservice, Harri, Schweppes, UCC Coffee, Fentimans, JJ Food Service (Lavazza Coffee), Arla PRO, Yumpingo, The FoodFellas, AAK Foodservice, Pidy, La Tua Pasta, FrieslandCampina, The Culinary Food Group, Brita Vivreau, 3S POS, MCS Technical Products, Nelson Catering, Colour Heroes, Eden Furniture, Jenpak, Bookatable By Michelin, Bizimply, and ApicBase, for example.
“We’ve also expanded multiple product categories this year – so look out for more plant-based alternatives, meat, fish, ingredients, desserts, alcohol, soft drinks, foodservice software and apps.”
Big name Keynotes
Thanks to the addition of a second Keynote Theatre for 2019, visitors will be able to enjoy even more free content from some of the industry’s most inspiring business leaders, as well as essential insights and market updates.
Casual Dining’s high-profile seminar line-up includes CEOs, MDs and senior directors from some of the UK’s biggest and most well-known restaurant chains – including Dishoom (Shamil Thakrar), BrewDog (David McDowall), Carluccio’s (Mark Jones), Hawksmoor (Will Beckett), Mowgli Street Food (Nisha Katona), Loungers (Alex Reilley), Pizza Pilgrims (Thom Elliot), MEATliquor (Scott Collins) and PizzaExpress (Jane Treasure).
Also making their debut are: head marketeers from wagamama (Andre Johnstone), Bill’s Restaurants (Lesley McIlroy), and Las Iguanas (Lucy Harwood); operations directors from The Ivy Collection (Baton Berisha), YO! (Jo Childs), Browns Brasserie & Bar (Dave Lewis), and Pizza Pilgrims (Gavin Smith); plus wagamama’s executive chef Steven Mangleshot.
As in previous years, market updates will be provided by Kate Nicholls (UKHospitality), Simon Stenning (futurefoodservice.com), Fiona Speakman and Chris Jeffrey (CGA), and Peter Backman (see the show’s website for full timings and further seminar details).
For more information and to register for a free trade ticket to Casual Dining 2019, please visit www.casualdiningshow.co.uk and use priority code CD128.
Opening times – 10am to 5pm both days (last entry 4pm)
Dates – Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th February
Venue – ExCeL, London
Website – www.casualdiningshow.co.uk
Posted By Jon Midmer , Managing Partner of JMA,
24 January 2019
Updated: 22 January 2019
As we enter 2019, I await with interest to see how developments in the UK hospitality industry will unfold. As the leader of a hospitality-focused executive search firm, even though this will almost certainly be a year of considerable political upheaval, you’ll have to forgive me if my main interest is in the top industry movers and shakers.
What will the arrival of a new CEO at Greene King herald? What can we expect when the CEO baton is passed on at SSP? And what will change, if anything, with an internal promotion to Chief Executive at Wagamama?
A trend I’ve observed in the past few years has been F&B executives heading to the leisure sector, such as moves from Domino’s to Saga, Spirit to Rank and Bill’s to the world of bowling. And last year Bourne Leisure recruited from Prezzo and Greene King. Why so many heading for the exit?
For one, maybe because it’s just heavier going in the F&B sector than it has been for many years? Another reason behind leisure players hiring casual dining, pub and fast-food executives, might be that these days you can’t have a great leisure experience without a compelling, well-executed F&B offer. In parallel, food-led hospitality players have realised that, however great your menu, you need a great leisure experience to go with it, be that in store or online.
Any predictions for 2019? A CEO I had breakfast a month or so ago, whose opinion I highly respect, summed it up well when he said it will be a year for “doing what you have to do before doing what you want to do”. A sentiment, I believe, that will be shared by many.
While 2019 will undoubtedly be another year of significant challenge, as much as I have sympathy for those who are struggling, would it be fair to say that some of these challenges are self-inflicted and the result of hasty expansion, a lack of investment in people and brand, not fully confronting the challenges posed by delivery and digital, misguided leadership and over-leverage?
If they weren’t, we would not be witnessing the continued outperformance from the likes of Nando’s, McDonald’s, Gregg’s and Wagamama in the big league and Loungers, Dishoom, Caravan and Honest Burgers in the all-comers category. I know for a fact that all of these businesses think customer-first, have differentiated propositions, provide excitement and value, and are well run by great leaders with a real sense of purpose. I predict that these operators, and their leaders, will continue to enhance their reputations in the year to come.
Paula MacKenzie, GM of KFC UKI, one of the brightest stars in the industry, in an interview in The Times a couple of months ago, summed leadership brilliantly in three words: “People and strategy”. I would argue that this year, maybe even more so than in 2018, the very best leaders need to get both of these elements right to succeed. Of course, great execution is key if you are to keep customers coming back for more.
In 2019, therefore, I predict that conditions will never be tougher, nor will distinguishing yourself as an operator, or a leader, harder. However, for those with the stomach for it, surely this makes 2019 a supremely exciting challenge for those wishing to excel in tough times?
Posted By The Licensed Trade Charity,
21 January 2019
It’s January. Christmas was great but has taken its toll on your body again. You are starting the New Year tired, a little heavier than you were three weeks ago and having drunk too much after over a period of overindulgence. Fortunately, for those in the drinks industry, the Licensed Trade Charity is on hand to offer guidance to get back to the pre-December you.
This is just one of the areas of health the Licensed Trade Charity can help with, alongside more serious issues such as dealing with serious illness, coping with disability and substance dependency. Through the charity’s free 24/7 helpline and website which provides over 60 help sheets on a variety of topics, pub, bar and brewery workers can get a range of support on not just health advice but money, housing and mental health too. In the meantime, here are the charity’s tips on countering that Christmas overindulgence…
The Association of UK Dietitians say that the average person in the UK consumes around 6,000 calories on Christmas Day alone – between 2-3 times the guideline amount – with possible weight gain across December of 5lbs1.
This is often washed down with excessive amounts of alcohol. According to a YouGov survey, nearly half of men and almost a third of women drink over the recommended daily allowance over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day2, with an overall alcohol consumption increase of 41% across December as a whole3.
Whilst Dry January seems to be an ever-increasing movement, there are other steps you can undertake to help reduce the effect of alcohol consumption – allowing you to still enjoy your favourite tipple without giving it up completely. These include:
Help your body clear out the alcohol by drinking plenty of water between alcoholic drinks, or alternate them with soft drinks. It is estimated that your body needs four-parts water to every one-part alcohol to remove it from your system.
Drink slowly. This gives your body – and more importantly your liver – time to metabolise and flush the toxins from your body.
Have at least two, and ideally more, alcohol-free days each week.
Downsize your drinks - if you’re a beer-drinker, make the units go further by drinking halves instead of pints. If you’re a wine-drinker then opt for a smaller glass.
Never drink on an empty stomach as this floods your body with alcohol and forces your liver to work too hard. Make sure that you eat carbohydrates and fats before drinking alcohol to line the stomach, prevent nausea, hangovers and to help avoid getting drunk. Food will also absorb some of the alcohol, thereby slowing its delivery into your blood stream.
Sign up to Club Soda, the mindful drinking organisation. You can join online for free to receive eBooklets on setting goals and tracking your progress, and gain support to change your lifestyle.
Many people will be wincing when they step on the scales in January and setting themselves fitness related resolutions. Here are a few very achievable goals you can make to cancel out the over-indulgence:
Be active – burn off the extra calories you have taken on by gardening, dancing, or going for a walk. If you are popping to the local shop, think about walking there and back rather than automatically reaching for the car key.
Track your exercise – free apps such as Runkeeper or MapMyRun can be used for walks, bike rides and more, and help you see how far you have gone and how fast – giving you a goal to beat for next time and added motivation.
Serve your food in reverse. Most people start with the ‘naughty’ foods leaving little room for vegetables. But by dishing vegetables up first and ensuring they fill half of the plate, you can more easily control the amount of the less healthy items that accompany them.
Count your chews! Chew every mouthful 20-30 times as this breaks the food down more allowing it to be more easily digested. It also slows you down so you realise you are full sooner, and not when it is all too late.
Eat oily fish such as salmon and mackerel each week which can help prevent heart disease
But it isn’t just the overindulgence that has a negative effect on our wellbeing by the time January arrives. According to the Sleep Council, we lose over 30 hours of sleep over the festive period4 – equal to four nights of solid sleep – a considerable amount that can render you irritable and less effective at work. January is the perfect time to get back on an even keel by:
Try to get back into a regular routine before bed, and instead of ‘cramming’ sleep with one really early night, try to go to bed a little earlier each night to gradually restore your sleep reserves.
Make your bedroom a technology-free zone. Don’t watch tv in bed, or look at your phone or laptop – the brightly lit screens of phones and computers can decrease the amount of melatonin released at night to help you sleep.
Posted By Helen Wheddon, Partner and Head of Real Estate Disputes at law firm Stevens & Bolton LLP,
27 November 2018
Conditions are currently very challenging in certain parts of the hospitality sector and casual dining has been hit particularly hard. Many well-known brands have suffered due to a significant shift in consumer spending habits and other external factors, including business rates hikes and wage increases, have created a perfect storm.
So how can the hospitality sector weather these conditions? A notable trend in the current climate is the rise in the number of Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs). Casual dining brands in particular have been keen to take advantage of the benefits that CVAs offer. Just this year, Jamie’s Italian, Prezzo, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Byron and Carluccio’s have all entered into CVAs.
What do CVAs offer? A CVA is a way for a struggling business to restructure and/or reduce its debts and outgoings, and it can be particularly useful for businesses with a significant property portfolio. Restaurants and other hospitality businesses trading from a number of different locations can use the process to agree rent reductions for premises they wish to keep, and potentially early terminations of other less profitable sites.
The key feature of a CVA is that if the proposed restructuring is passed it will bind all creditors, even those who voted against it. Landlords often complain that these arrangements affect them disproportionately and unfairly, forcing them to accept lower rents and preventing them from taking action to recover past debts or even taking back their premises. But, the other side to this argument is that the purpose of a CVA is to keep a business out of more formal insolvency arrangements like administration or liquidation and landlords may recover more under a CVA than if the business went under completely.
What are the alternatives? CVAs have been dominating the headlines, but there may be other options for struggling operators to reduce or restructure their property liabilities. Property overheads can be a significant cost to a business, so good legal advice when taking on premises is essential to build in some flexibility that may be needed down the line if conditions change. Tenants with well-located premises may want to assign their leases to another business that wants the site, without onerous conditions attached such as continuing guarantees. A well advised tenant will have negotiated a break clause in its leases so it can exit the lease early, or use the threat of exiting as an opportunity to negotiate better terms with the landlord. Negotiating a rent concession or reduction may be an option and a flexible landlord might allow a move to monthly from quarterly rents, which can help with cashflow and allow the business to survive for the mutual benefit of both parties.
Stevens & Bolton LLP is a full service, top 100 UK law firm. If you have any queries about your premises, what your options might be or would like to know how the Hospitality team at Stevens & Bolton can help your business, please click here to visit our website for more information.
Alternatively you can click here to contact Helen Wheddon, Partner and Head of Real Estate Disputes, directly. Helen advises on all areas of landlord and tenant work and specialises in advising corporate occupiers on their property portfolios.
Over 150 years ago, one of the oldest fish & chip restaurants was established in London’s Covent Garden. While the diners can still enjoy the original recipes, the team behind The Rock & Sole Plaicehave never underestimated the importance of driving efficiency through modern technology.
In today’s world of restaurant management, it is imperative to work with reliable partners to help address the needs of your business. 3S POS has worked with the Managing Director of Rock & Sole Plaice, Ahmet Ziyaeddin, to deliver a system that helps the staff manage multiple dining areas with ease, bring down labour costs and speed up customer service using the reliable EPOS suite.
In a recent interview, Ziyaeddin explained: “We’ve been a customer of 3S POS now for just over one year and in that time we have experienced a level of customer service and level of support that we have never experienced in this field before. 3S POS has delivered exactly what was promised. If it was needed, further development [was carried out] to fine-tune the system to our needs. 3S POS have persisted until they have achieved the result, and they’ve been very quick and diligent in their manner.”
Integrated technology installed at this buzzing fast-casual dining spot includes the intuitive 3S POS Software, integrated with the OrderPad for fast table-side ordering and Pay-at-Table technology with its partner PaymentSense.
One System for Complete Control
For fast-casual restaurants such as Rock & Sole, that serves such a large number of customers daily, the most important aspect for the management team as gaining control of the site’s operations using one reliable system. The 3S POS team successfully installed the feature-rich EPOS software to help the onsite team manage everything, from sales to stock and HR.
The restaurant’s MD commented during our interview: “This has really stepped up another level for us; I can review the productivity of individuals working in specific areas, I can see data in real-time and reports can be generated on all different aspects of my business, and I can hone in on that pretty quickly.”
Supporting Customer Service Excellence
The Rock & Sole Plaice has been serving customers for around 150 years and is currently featured in over 4,000 travel guide books. Over the generations, the restaurant has welcomed Londoners as well as new visitors to experience the very best traditional fish & chips that London has to offer. The restaurant has four distinct dining areas and one of the technology solutions 3S POS have installed on site was the intuitive OrderPad.
As Ahmet pointed out, this technology has proved indispensable in delivering the great customer service the restaurant is known for. He commented: “The element we really feel we can’t work without now is the tablet (OrderPad). Over the course of a day, especially in a restaurant which turns over the number of orders that we do, this adds up to an extra member of staff being required. It’s very, very time efficient for us.”
Fast & Efficient Payments
In a busy restaurant environment, many waiting staff experience pressure to deliver a fast service without comprising on efficiency. Today, restaurant technology is in place to help overcome these obstacles and support the efficient operations. As the 3S POS System is seamlessly integrated with PaymentSense Connect, we are able to give the waiting staff ability to perform functions such as split bill payments without having to go back to the EPOS till, we were able to achieve just that.
Ziyaeddin was quick to point this out during our interview, explaining: “The current new boom for us would be the PDQ machines’ ability to issue receipts for the table directly to the customer without my staff having to do two journeys to the table.”
A System that Delivers Tangible Results
We work very closely with our customers to understand their operational needs, and our main goal is to install a system that delivers the right results. By choosing the 3S POS Hospitality EPOS Suite, The Rock & Sole Plaice have seen a dramatic improvement in three key areas: service speed, order-taking accuracy and cost savings in their labour budget. On top of that, the restaurant management team are now able to access to important business data and use business reporting tools that will help the restaurant become even more efficient.
In his final interview comment, Ziyaeddin explained his motivations for recommending 3S POS to other businesses as technology partner: “I would recommend 3S POS and already have done to several of my colleagues in the field. What we found differentiates 3S POS, and why I feel such confidence recommending them, is they strive to improve your system every day. You can tangibly feel their motivation to help you achieve the results you are looking for.”
The best and most talented candidates are confident in their bargaining power and want to have some degree of job flexibility. Some will ask for four-day weeks, reduced hours or remote working. Others will just want the flexibility to stay at home and look after their sick kids when the need arises and not feel guilty about it.
Increasingly, employees don't want to be tied to their desks, so switched-on employers are focusing more on what gets done by staff – using and developing key performance indicators – instead of measuring performance by how long people spend at work. Rather than 'clocking in' and 'out' each day, employers can afford employees some freedom and flexibility, providing they deliver on their targets.
2. Mentoring and Training
Staff want to know that they are progressing and developing through their role. The scope for personal and professional development through further training is one of the most sought-after qualities candidates look for in an employer.
Training and developing staff need not mean a lot of time spent away from important tasks or sending them on expensive management courses. There are many informal, cost effective ways to develop people and let them know they are valued. This might include launching an internal mentoring / development programme or simply educating management to take a more active interest in their staff's careers.
3. Salary Packaging
Staff don't just want work flexibility but pay flexibility too. Salary packaging can provide that, allowing employees to take certain benefits paid for out of pre-tax income – such as cars, personal computers and superannuation.
4. Positive Reputation
Employers who experience a high staff turnover will need to look deeper into their organisation and examine the reasons why this is the case.
Do you provide employees with an enjoyable working environment or is it tense and stressful?
Is there a strong sense of team in the organisation or is everyone simply doing their own thing?
Do certain personalities take away from a great working atmosphere, rather than contributing to it?
Frequently in business our reputation precedes us – so it is worth asking the question: If I didn't work here already, would I want to? Treating employees with kindness, appreciation and respect typically yields a response of hard work, dedication and commitment.
5. Clear Development Pathways
For high achieving professionals, the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally is crucial for job satisfaction. They want to invest their talent in an organisation that can help progress their career and expand their skill set in return for their hard work.
Do you offer on-going training and development?
Do you have clear pathways for growth and promotion?
Can you offer your executives tasks that are both challenging and rewarding?
Creating a culture of continual learning and progression helps to both engage existing employees and enhance your reputation to others as an attractive employer – especially for high level executive or senior leadership roles
Renewable energy has become a global focus over the past few years. Around 100 countries, have set renewable energy targets, including the UK. In Europe, the aim is to acquire 20% of the total energy supply from renewable sources.
The drawbacks of using fossil fuels have become more evident over the past century. The need for developing renewable energy sources is greater now, more than ever, as fossil fuels will be depleted in the next 50 to 60 years.
Businesses are the largest consumers of energy, using 56% of the UK’s electricity. If more businesses switch to renewables, a significant difference could be made to the environment. As well as being the quickest way to cut your carbon footprint, or becoming carbon neutral, renewable energy can be a very cost-effective option - you can get paid for going green.
If your system is eligible, you’ll receive quarterly payments over the course of 20 years. You can find more information on the scheme and how to apply via Ofgem's website.
Feed-in Tariffs (FIT)
Another government scheme created to promote the uptake of renewable energy. It’s open to both homes and businesses, with eligible installations including: solar PV, wind and hydro. Under the scheme, participating electricity suppliers are required to pay eligible generators and exporters.
Despite heavy cuts to the scheme at the beginning of 2016, joining can still be beneficial. Learn more about FIT and eligibility criteria.
Renewable Energy Sources
Biomass energy accounts for roughly 85% of the country’s renewable energy**, and is simply the burning or fermentation of organic material, such as straw, wood or other crops.
As well as on a national scale, biomass systems can also be installed in individual homes and business. Common installations include stove burners for heating rooms, connected with back boilers for heating water. Initial installation can be costly but with around £800 available per year in savings, it should eventually even out.
Find out more about the pros and cons of biomass energy here.
One of the main benefits is the ability to generate free, green electricity for use at your site, meaning that you require less energy from the grid during daytime hours. Savings can equal thousands a year (depending on your normal bill).
If your business does not own or long-term lease its premises but you still want to cut your carbon footprint, switching to a green energy supplier might be the best option for you.
Squeaky is one supplier which provide electricity through entirely renewable sources. Its platform allows businesses to buy directly from generators in a cost-effective way, delivering a better deal for both parties.
All its electricity supply contracts are secured through Europe’s largest renewable generator, so it will only ever provide power from 100% clean sources. Importantly, prices are very similar to regular suppliers.
Save money and cut your carbon footprint
Whether the aim is to cut your carbon footprint, to save money or both, renewable energy is one of the key ways to help your business achieve its goals.
Posted By By Peter Backman, P&G Professional’s Expert Advisory Council,
05 October 2018
The eating out market – not only restaurants, but pubs, eating at work and other occasions too – had been going through a period of sustained growth until the end of 2016. And because the market was growing, competition increased dramatically (an average of 600 restaurants were being added each year by small chains alone). So long as customers were happy to eat out more often, this competition was not a problem. In 2017, however, belts were tightened and people became reluctant to eat out. This heightened the absolute need for all operators – large and small, high end and value-driven – to make their outlets stand out. A need that remains crucial today.
To survive in the current climate, attention to detail is absolutely paramount. Customers expect, and rightly so, to feel valued. Everything should be centred around creating the best customer experience. Excellent food and service almost goes without saying but hygiene is of equal importance. At a basic level, operators have an incremental duty to protect consumers’ health, with safe food practices and hygiene standards. That focus should extend to both front-of-house and back-of-house.
Customers expect a clean, safe environment and the government’s “scores on the doors” hygiene rating scheme has given them transparency. With 75% of respondents in a recent survey from the Food Service Standards Agency saying they are aware of the scheme and almost 40% claiming the rating would influence their decision to eat at a restaurant, I would argue there is no excuse not to have five stars. Anything less is likely to be bad for business.
Beyond doubt, customers are becoming ever more aware of the need for high levels of hygiene. The latest figures from the ONS show over 50%, answering spontaneously, are now aware of hygiene standards.
It’s not only about first impressions, but lasting impressions too. Gleaming white table cloths and sparkling cutlery may impress a customer initially. But in reality, people shouldn’t notice such things, they should be commonplace, and expected. Cleanliness is not only about what the tables look like and how clean the floors are, but more importantly, the area that doesn’t get talked about. Recently I took my family to a restaurant that shall remain nameless. The menu was great, the service was excellent, but that came to nothing when we visited the toilets. Out of five cubicles only one was fit to use. Unacceptable certainly, but uncommon, I’m afraid not.
Keeping the bathroom clean doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple to use professional products, like those in the P&G Professional range, get the job done the first time, creating an inviting environment for customers. Highlighting the cleaning products used in public areas can also build credibility. Professional formulas of brands like Fairy, Flash and Febreze are known and trusted by consumers.
Negative impressions are important, not only because they upset customers but influence how people view the back of house operations which are never seen. An unclean front of house leaves questions about what dangers may lurk unseen in the corners of the kitchen, further undermining customers’ trust in the restaurant.
Cleanliness is important for its own sake and for what it tells customers about an establishment. In today’s ultra-competitive market, in which no customer can ever be lost, successful operators are those that continue to play one of the easiest cards – making a positive impression based on food, service and appearances. They make their restaurant truly welcoming and send customers on their way with a positive lasting impression.
Peter Backman is a member of P&G Professional’s Expert Advisory Council. With many years of experience as a consultant and analyst, his expertise and knowledge extends across the whole eating out market, and its supply chain - in the UK, Europe, the USA and the Middle East. He enlightens senior management in operating companies, their suppliers and investors, and his views are constantly sought by the media, trade associations and other organisations active in the eating out and hospitality markets.