by Gary Powers, Managing Director of Regency Security
As repeatedly reported in the news and discussed by the Home Office, knife crime in England and Wales is rising and it continues to bring increasing concerns. These concerns are not just around public safety, they also bring additional concerns around people’s perceptions about bars and clubs.
Security teams are now carrying out additional searches. 100% searches are made at certain locations using either security detector wands or multi-zone walk-through detectors, which you see at airports. With these increased measures, some people think that the venue has trouble, where in fact it’s probably looking to reduce the risk.
This issue also increases overall costs, with the additional security required to carry out more searches, additional equipment and extra personal protective equipment for the security officers such as stab vests and Kevlar gloves.
Whilst most media channels often report on bigger cities like London and Birmingham, reports show other areas of the UK are also seeing an increase to knife crime. For every 100,000 people in the capital, there were 168 knife offences in 2017-18. Out of the 44 police forces, 42 recorded a rise in knife crime since 2011.
Last month, with interest I listened to Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary’s speech on Violent Crime. He said that on an almost weekly basis, we wake up to the news that another person has been stabbed, that robbery is on the rise, that serious violent crime is on the up. I also read in a recent YouGov poll that for the first time, crime was a more important issue to the public than health. Last year saw a 14% increase in homicides a 15% increase in hospital admissions for assaults involving a sharp instrument.
Keeping the public safe has always been a key part of being a Door Supervisor and now with the rise in knife crime everyone needs to be extremely vigilant, especially with concealed offensive weapons. At the end of the day it is the Door Supervisors responsibility for the protection of life, protection of property and premises, the prevention of loss and to prevent and to deter crime.
Nowadays an offensive weapon is very different to what they used to be, they have become very clever and you come across many adapted weapons for causing injury. We have found home-made knives, screwdrivers, sharpened combs or brushes, sharpened belts and knives that are the same size as a credit card.
Examples of concealed weapons or often known as defence weapons
It is everyone’s responsibility to help reduce knife crime. We need continued educational programs in schools, more media campaigns, people need to take positive action when someone is aware of criminal behaviour using Crimestoppers or reporting directly to the Police, making retail changes to stop selling knifes to the wrong people and challenge the why, finally banning concealed weapons which must be removed from circulation.
Restaurant management has come a long way and the days of using notepads and spreadsheets to complete the smallest tasks are over. While nearly every large-scale restaurant may flaunt it, not every small restaurant owner has decided to make the change to professional management software. But regardless of how you crunch the numbers, there’s no denying that switching to great automated software not only saves you time and money but also lets you drive your business towards achieving more growth and profitability.
Still need a reason to purchase quality restaurant management software? Here are the top five reasons you should consider stepping it up.
1. Take control over your inventory
Your kitchen is busy enough as it is. Cut down on some of the daily chaos by knowing exactly what happens to your ingredients, how much you’re paying for them and when you need to re-stock. Why waste hours ogling over inventories when you could just have the whole process automated? A restaurant management software allows you to do just that – by incorporating point of sales technology, your inventory will know every time you input an order, deduct the ingredients that go into every dish and let you know how much ingredients you have left at the end of your business hours.
2. Track sales easily
Move away from time-consuming manual accounting practices and enter the digital age of productivity. With restaurant management software, you can track every last cash and credit card transaction and account for every penny easily. And with all your business data in one centralised location, this software makes it easier than ever before to keep track of your taxes, profits and expenses while eliminating the possibility for any mistakes.
3. Process debit and credit cards
With more and more people going cashless every day, processing electronic payments is critical to retaining your customer base. Restaurant management software makes this a possibility by allowing your customers to pay with their credit/debit cards when they need to. This makes business management easier and convenient while creating a secure way for customers to enjoy your food and services.
4. Comprehensive analysis
Make your sales management tasks easier by having your business information stored securely and methodically. Restaurant management software allows restaurant owners and operators to access any aspect of the business’ data quickly and at any time. This feature enables you to easily create sales strategies that work by studying reports on previous sales information and track the success of your new strategies using the software.
5. Manage employees
Keep track of how well your employees perform by using well-designed restaurant management software to monitor them. Investing in this can help you to maximise productivity by scheduling employees, observing their time and attendance and letting you stay on top of employee leave and absent reports. This allows your restaurant to achieve its full potential by managing your workforce in the most effective and profitable way possible.
Posted By Fourth,
25 April 2019
Updated: 23 April 2019
Purchase-to-pay and inventory for restaurants and hospitality businesses is particularly important. Food and beverage is one of the largest costs so needs to be controlled, and not having the right products in place means missing menu items which impacts your guests’ experience.
Accuracy is therefore key, but usually results in admin-heavy processes that are prone to error – especially when paper is involved. Food service businesses are busy places and so it’s easy for paper to be misplaced, or handwriting to be misread meaning the wrong information is keyed into systems. Correcting these errors takes precious time for you and your suppliers, and if not corrected then they’re likely costing you money.
Systems like the Fourth Platform allow paper-free invoicing, electronic ordering and simplified inventory management, removing a lot of paper and administration. And adding mobile technology to the mix now means you’re even less reliant on paper. Let’s look at just a couple of examples.
Receiving deliveries on a mobile device makes it easy to log orders wherever and whenever the delivery takes place. It also eliminates the risk of lost paper or unreadable notes by capturing information digitally wherever the delivery is received. Pending deliveries can be easily accessed, and items quickly checked off by swiping to accept or reject, or amend quantities or weights as required. And because data is being entered directly into the system, it’s immediately available for review centrally.
Printed count sheets not only risk errors being introduced from rekeying data, but can also delay the process if what’s on the sheet doesn’t match with the areas or items being counted. Completing counts on a mobile device will speed up this process, allowing staff to count what’s in front of them rather than what’s on the sheet and with no need to re-key data. Stock areas can be created and managed on the fly, and ‘write-in’ items can be easily added in. You can even download the data to the device so you can complete the counts in basements or other areas that don’t get cell or Wi-Fi coverage. Once the count is complete and the device reconnects to the network, the data will be uploaded to the system.
Of course mobile technology can help in other areas of the purchase-to-pay process. For example, with an ordering app you can walk around the storeroom and see the actual stock levels vs theoretical, along with what’s already on order. You can then create the order on the mobile device then and there.
To find out more about how mobile technology can help improve the purchase-to-pay side of your business, download the white paper here.
Posted By Jason Martin, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Tahola,
11 April 2019
Updated: 09 April 2019
The process of gathering and analysing information about customers has become a fundamental requirement for companies seeking to compete in the digital era. As the consumer’s data footprint expands, so does the opportunity for businesses to understand their requirements in more detail.
Single Customer View (SCV) seeks to consolidate and aggregate data to give a holistic view of the customer to maximise on past activity to predict future behaviour. This can be exploited further by targeted marketing to elicit a planned response, the ultimate aim being to generate additional revenue through obtaining detailed customer insight.
Within the hospitality industry the adoption of an SCV is usually to assist the marketing function to drive sales by stimulating more visits, encouraging the customer to spend more or trigger lapsed customers to re-engage.
To do this we can use the many digital touch points a customer has with a hospitality business. A few of the more common data sources include, EPOS, WiFi, Social Media Channels, Direct Marketing and data held within a CRM.
I was recently involved on an SCV project for a UK based hospitality operator, they had a number of data feeds into their SCV, some were linked to EPOS (loyalty card) and some weren’t (WIFI login). The first campaign that was driven by the SCV was focused on Father’s Day. Using the SCV and the connected data, we were able to segment their customers to specifically identify lapsed customers that fitted a particular profile, in this instance it was men who had children. An email campaign was created and distributed to the targets identified. The day after Father’s Day we were able to quantify the effectiveness of the campaign by looking at the activity of the selected recipients. The re-engagement of those lapsed customers was particularly compelling and the money that was spent as a result of the campaign contributed to the overall ROI of the project.
The SCV is therefore, not only a source for direct marketing, but direct marketing should also be a source for the SCV. If a feed from the direct marketing platform(s) is used to update the SCV with the marketing activity a customer has received, then the effectiveness of it can be analysed accurately.
This can be quantified not only in terms of what the customer has spent as a result of the campaign, but also how receptive they were to the approach. This provides the marketeer with insight to tailor more effective and targeted campaigns by utilising the information that has been gained from the SCV.
Consequently the SCV becomes the master data for the customer. It uses the dimensional data from the CRM and calculates the attributes and measures that are necessary to provide insight and segmentation for the marketing activities, this therefore means that the return on investment for the implementation and adoption of the SCV can easily be calculated.
The challenge as always though is in the detail. The multiple software systems previously mentioned, identify the customer and measure them in many different ways. These must all be conformed, to enable us to join the activities to the unique customer.
Posted By Martin Jones, UHY Hacker Young,
28 March 2019
Updated: 26 March 2019
The rise in modern consumer demands and advanced technologies has led to many global hoteliers integrating non-traditional services into their business plans in order to ramp up bookings. In this article, we look at hotels offering a ‘home from home’ experience, spaces for co-working and the trend in offering more ‘meaningful’ experiences for holiday bookers.
Home from home
One way hotels are attracting guests is by embracing home sharing. Earlier last year, Marriott International embarked on its first venture into home sharing, under the Tribute Portfolio. The hotelier partnered with Hostmaker for its pilot in London, and found that guests were staying more than twice the typical hotel length of usual stays and were seeking for more space than a hotel, choosing units with multiple bedrooms.
Home from home
The hotels that have already turned their open lobbies into socialising or work spaces are now taking it one step further to cater to business travellers and professionals, setting up co-working areas. Much more than a lobby, the space is offering practical amenities like office supplies, printers and coffee – something the start-up WeWork has seen being a huge success. The likes of Spacemize creates an alternative work environment, branding them as a space that is more productive than working from home, more convenient than working from a coffee shop, more beneficial than having a private office and cheaper than renting a coworking desk. Marketing these spaces as freelance havens has led to the start-up emerging in London’s most exclusive venues.
More meaningful travel experiences
Eco hotels, such as Mauritius based hotel SALT, ensure their bookings include plans to “connect modern explorers with meaningful travel experiences”, and members of staff invite hotel guests to events with family and friends. SALT have found this such a success, there are plans for an opening in Sichuan, China, next year. Hotels and home sharing platforms have realised that guests want more from their hotels than just a bed to sleep in.
Even though these new trends emerging are broadening the scope of the hotel industry and the weak pound is helping lure in inbound leisure travel, uncertain negotiations around Brexit may impact business and leisure travel in the near future and create a new economic environment for the hospitality industry, which the hotel sector needs to be ready to adapt to.
When it comes to payroll, the hospitality sector is incredibly complex – with transient, seasonal, part-time and full-time workers that are paid hourly, weekly or monthly. Add tips, service charges, shift swapping and a high-turnover of staff to the mix and it’s easy to see why payroll problems can be common. It’s therefore no surprise that hospitality businesses regularly appear on the Government’s ‘named and shamed’ lists for not paying the minimum wage.
Aside from the obvious impact on workers, resolving these issues takes time that people in the hospitality sector generally don’t have – not to mention the potential reputational damage or even prosecution that comes as a result of falling short of the regulations.
Aside from ensuring your payroll systems and processes are robust, you need to make sure that structures are in place to ensure both you and your employees are complying with all governing bodies, including HMRC and the Pensions Regulator. You also need to make sure you have strong, consistent processes in place to ensure your employee’s pay is accurate and arrives on time.
You then need to make sure you don’t fall foul of some common mistakes made by hospitality businesses, including:
Uniform requirements that push workers below the minimum wage.
Including tips in NMW calculations.
Not counting time to change into uniform, team meetings or travel between sites as working time.
Not keeping adequate records.
Not updating an employee’s hourly rate when their age takes them into a new NMW bracket.
Used in the right way, technology can help remove many of the complexities of complying with NMW requirements. In conjunction with employment law experts, GQ|Littler, we created a ‘National Minimum Wage guide’ covering common challenges like those above, the legal requirements and how technology can ease the burden of compliance.
Posted By Phil Grehan Manager, UHY Hacker Young,
21 March 2019
Updated: 19 March 2019
Those who haven’t yet abandoned their Facebook profiles in favour of Twitter or Instagram have probably been flooded with ‘10 year challenge’ photos (a social media trend involving sharing a current picture of yourself alongside a picture from 10 years ago). Some friends have fundamentally changed, moved out, married or had kids, whereas some seem remarkably similar – if not for a few more greys or a little less hair. What if the hotel sector had a Facebook profile? What are the key feature changes since the midst of the recession in 2008/09?
The power of the consumer
Successful hotels have always focused on ‘guest experience’, but in the past decade the stakes have been raised tenfold. An off par meal or poor night’s sleep is all that is needed for a guest to vent their dissatisfaction on social media. Equally, hotels offering a unique experience, or a great event venue will benefit from free advertising as photos from hundreds of smart phones circulate the internet. Engaging with social media is a must for all hotels.
Staffing, staffing, staffing
In 2008/09 almost every hotelier I spoke with would include staffing as one of their main headaches. Whether struggling to find staff for regional hotels, struggling to retain managers and team leaders or simply struggling to cover their growing payroll expense, this was a headache. Ten years on this has not changed. In fact, National Minimum Wage increases in excess of inflation have made staffing more costly and the Brexit decision has made sourcing staff much harder. This challenge is expected to get much worse.
In 2008, technology was seen as a way of increasing guests or cutting administrative costs. In 2019, for many this is still the case. However, the more adventurous or high end hotels are beginning to use technology to personalise their guest experience. With accumulated guest data, hotels can contact guests in advance of a stay with activity recommendations and complementary offers based on their previous activity. They can greet them by name at the point of check in and book them into their ‘usual’ room, and send an automated email for brief, but important feedback after their stay to improve the service next time. In fact, some hotels have done away with the reception desk altogether removing the barrier between the receptionist and the guest and some are proponents of using AI for check in, freeing up staff time for other guest interactions. Watch this space. With increasing pressure on staffing, technology adoption may be forced to increase.
If the hotel sector had a Facebook profile, it would undoubtedly have a façade of reliability and consistency, unchanged by time. However, look a little closer and there are a number of ways it has reinvented itself this past decade. More interesting still are the changes yet to come.
Posted By Phil Grehan, manager, UHY Hacker Young ,
19 March 2019
After noticing various friends participating in the Facebook’s ’10 Year Challenge’ (a recent social media trend involving posting a picture of yourself from ten years ago side by side with current one) this week, I have been thinking about how things have changed for UK restaurants since the depths of recession. What if the restaurant sector had a Facebook profile? What are the key changes since 2008/09?
Everyone has a voice
The past 10 years has seen social media become indispensable, with over 1.5 billion additional users during this period. For many it is the first thing they look at in the morning and the last thing at night. For restaurants with show stopping dishes, idyllic locations or great customer service this is an opportunity for free advertisement whether through ‘checking in’, reviewing or sharing photos of a meal. However, the potential downside is magnified too. Complaints triggered by an off par meal or poor service are now shared with a large audience, meaning the level of reputational risk has also increased exponentially.
Health food evolution
From the raw food and baby food diets of the late ‘00s, to the paleo and keto diets of now, ‘extreme’ diets are big business, but continually changing. These trends (along with our increasing obsession with cookery programmes) suggest today’s consumer is more informed and health-conscious than they were in 2008/09. Whilst restaurants would be ill advised to change menus seasonally to meet the whims of the next best diet, consumers want to know from where their food is sourced and what its nutritional value is, meaning increased pressure on restaurant owners to cater for their needs and provide this information.
This decade has seen a definite shift in preference towards convenient and flexible dining more compatible with a busy lifestyle. Deliveries remain a small portion of total food sales, but have c.7% growth the past five years whilst the casual dining sector has experienced a boom in demand, only to falter in the last 18 months as higher labour costs, business rates and food costs have caught up with some chains, resulting in branch closures and CVA’s. However, for restaurants that can keep control of their costs and offer dining flexibility, this shift in demand remains an opportunity.
Statista identifies that annual turnover of restaurants and mobile food services in the UK have grown at an astonishing rate, from £22m in 2008 to £38m in 2017. Aside from the threat presented by Brexit, these high levels of growth combined with changes in demand and a consumer-led ‘review/comment’ culture present an opportunity within the restaurant sector – but only for those who are able to stay ahead of the game.
Hospitality is one of the few industries that can never be truly replaced by the virtual world.
Human interaction, or service, can never be replicated through a device or technology. It drives everything we do as a sector.
Of course, as every operator knows, a lot more goes into running a hospitality business than simply delivering good service, be that in catering, accommodation and everything else in between. Think recruitment and training; managing supplier relationships; seeking and winning new business opportunities.
In today’s digital age, all of these can in many ways be dealt with at the touch of a button, thanks to the countless tech tools on the market claiming to enable operators to get on with the business of good hospitality.
From social media, instant messaging, emails and video conferencing to online stock management, and web-based training portals, there are myriad back-of-house tech services that support commercial success.
But tempting as it might be, these digital interactions should never be a complete substitute for face-to-face communication, of which the advantages are plenty.
Relationships are what a good hospitality business is built on. In-person networking is immediate. It enables discussion, speeds up communication and lets you reach mutual understandings more quickly, rather than spend time waiting between digital responses. It can be more honest and transparent than digital interactions, which in turn can lead to stronger, longer lasting relationships as a result.
Face-to-face networking also comes with the subtle social cues - such as body language, intonation and expression - that are absent from written digital messages.
Technology can never take the place of the personal touch either. Real world interactions enable both parties to showcase their sparkling personalities, providing valuable insights that will help foster an understanding of sales prospects, potential customers, future recruits and more.
From a personal perspective, this is something we do every day.
As part of my role on the Board of Arena, I have access to a broad range of senior contacts through their events. These relationships can, of course, be initiated and developed ‘virtually’ but having that face-time has been vital. My ability to network directly via Arena has helped me generate significant contracts.
Being adept at in-person networking has the potential to set you apart from your competitors as digital communication becomes ever more commonplace. The more technologically advanced we become, both in our business and personal lives, the more vital it is to develop the type of human connections that the virtual world can never deliver.
What digital communications can save you in time and resource, could cost you in opportunities if conducted in isolation because there will always be a crucial place for face-to-face networking. Savvy operators demonstrate their understanding of this with a comprehensive networking strategy that encompasses all the tools at their disposal.
As an industry, hospitality has never forgotten the value of face-to-face interactions with our customers and clients. I don’t believe it ever will.
Posted By Dr Heather Rolfe, National Institute of Economic and Social Research ,
13 March 2019
The hospitality sector is one of the highest employers of EU migrants with the most recent Employer Skills survey finding a third of hotels and restaurants employ at least one person from the EU and they represent 19% of the workforce. So it is no surprise to find that hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and bars are among the businesses most affected by any reduction of migration ushered in by Brexit.
NIESR has been tracking the sector’s response to Brexit since before the referendum. At an industry round table we held 2 years ago worries centred on the potential loss of their EU workers, future provision for low skilled migration and the costs and bureaucracy of a new, visa based, system. This week representatives from big corporate names joined SMEs and policy makers at another NIESR round table co-hosted with UK Hospitality. We found them more worried than ever, particularly about the unappealing menu of visa options in the Immigration White Paper.
Loss of EU workers and the process of applying for settled status
Two years ago our roundtable participants urgently wanted clarity on the status of their existing workforce. That issue has been addressed through the settled status scheme, though concerns about applying through a non-android phone, awareness and compliance remain. But in the meantime net migration from the EU has fallen to a level last seen in 2009 and by 60% since the referendum alone. This hasn’t gone unnoticed on the ground, with employers reporting loss of EU workers and fewer applicants. One expanding restaurant chain is now spending twelve times as much on recruitment than before the referendum. And a hotel was only just coping by incentivising staff to recommend family and friends.
Employers felt that the fall in the value of sterling was pivotal to the exodus of EU workers, particularly higher paid employees in management and professional jobs. Employers also said that EU colleagues felt they were unwelcome in the UK and had reconsidered their future here. As one restauranteur commented: ‘It’s a fairly caustic environment for them and a lot don’t feel welcome’. The general climate of uncertainty about future immigration arrangements was also seen to influence decisions, especially of potential migrants who employers were trying to recruit with little success.
Fishing from a larger pool
Employers told us repeatedly that they don’t deliberately set out to recruit migrants but face significant problems recruiting local workers. Asked whether they couldn’t just pay more, they explained that they would merely be competing with other employers in the sector, that price increases would have to passed on to the customer and living costs would increase.
A variety of initiatives within the sector testifies to its efforts to fish from a larger pool of talent. They include the Springboard Charity which supports disadvantaged people into employment in hospitality, leisure and tourism. Since the referendum employers have also looked to groups including ex-offenders, ex-service people, the homeless and the long-term unemployed. But as one employer explained, ‘it’s a lot of work and it’s not filling the gap’.
And employers emphasised that it’s about shortages of labour, not skills. As one participant explained: ‘We’ll upskill anybody. We’ll make that investment’. But recruits have to be work-ready – reliable and hard-working, with good social skills. EU migrants have offered the sector a steady supply of these ‘soft’ skills. New arrivals in particular are also more prepared than British recruits to start at the bottom while learning the language. This fits well with the value the sector places on understanding the business and on the job training.
A limited bill of fare
Hospitality employers have always made the case for immigration policies to cover lower skilled migration and the White Paper proposals were seen to fall short of the sector’s needs. But worse than that, there’s a view that the proposals are targeted at the sector as one of the largest and most visible employers of EU migrants. As one participant put it: ‘The message is that, if the immigration system that’s put in place affects the sector, it’s a price worth paying (to show that the UK Government is serious about reducing net migration)’.
Skilled visas will be subject to qualification and salary thresholds. Provisionally set at £30,000 employers said this would have to fall much nearer to £20,000 to cover most posts in the sector, especially since tips were not taken into account. As Marley Morris from the IPPR pointed out, around 90% of jobs currently carried out by EU national in the sector would not be eligible for a skilled visa. The only provision made in the White Paper for lower level skills is a ‘transitional’ arrangement for 12 month, non-renewable, visas and employers were adamant that these would not meet the sector’s needs: costs incurred through in-house training would not be re-cooped, employers wouldn’t be unable to progress individuals to supervisory and management posts and the costs of continual recruitment would soar. Employers also feared the visas would create a two-tier workforce and make integrated teams more difficult to achieve, as a hotel manager stated:
‘You wouldn’t invest in someone here for a short period of time in the way you’d invest in your other employees. There’s friction there’
The White Paper includes provision for an extended Youth Mobility Scheme open currently to 18-30 year olds in eight countries including Canada, Australia and Japan. But again, they didn’t see this as meeting their longer-term needs, unless visa holders could transfer to other routes without having to leave the country and reapply.
Wake up and smell the coffee
Migrants have enabled the sector to expand so that our cafes, restaurants and hotels are now seen as an asset for tourism, which has not always been the case in the past. But the industry now faces what a number of participants described as a ‘perfect storm’. Demographic changes have reduced the supply of young people who in any case would prefer to work in sectors such as arts, media, teaching and health. At 4.1% unemployment is at an almost record low while at 75.5% economic participation is at a record high. This makes migrants pretty essential if businesses are to thrive once Britain leaves the EU.
What sometimes gets lost in the Brexit noise is that the hospitality sector, which has traditionally employed many migrants, also employs more than 2.5 million British workers whose jobs are at stake if a ‘skills based’ immigration system means employers can’t recruit the workers they need.