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Follow the three Ps for success ahead of the festive season

Attributed to Liam Crooks, EMEA Managing Director, Lightspeed

While we’re back to pre-pandemic levels of socialising, the gap between supply and demand is crippling, with many restaurants closing in 2023[1]. Inflation drove wholesale food prices up, and with news of ‘surge pricing’ being adopted across the UK, one suspects only so much of that cost can be passed onto patrons before they decide to forgo that meal, or drink, out. When it comes to the crunch it’s all about retention – by increasing customer retention by 5%, profitability can see an increase of 75%[2].

New food waste legislation coming into play, means tighter operational planning by understanding consumer needs and seasonal fluctuations. Being one step ahead of the legislation when it comes to food waste could mean a greater amount of profit to enjoy.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that restaurants focus on innovating their business to adopt new ways of boosting profit and reducing wastage to stay competitive.

Planet – data to combat food waste?

According to a recent study[6] 47% of hospitality owners agreed that implementing environmentally friendly initiatives will attract more customers. With reducing waste being a priority for sustainability, managing inventory more effectively should be high on the list.

For restaurateurs, knowing how to manage stocks is sometimes a question of survival. Clever and easy to implement tech tools such as advanced ePOS software can manage stocks on a daily basis and control raw material costs. To paint a picture, let’s imagine a restaurant is wasting around 5% of food purchased, if that restaurant spends £1 million on food (just for ease), that 5% of lost food translates to £50,000 in wasted COGS (Cost of Goods Sold). With better inventory tracking, even if that was reduced by one percentage point, that’s a saving of £10,000 per year. Working that out across multiple premises for a chain restaurant would result in a pretty hefty increase in profitability at a crucial point in the year.

People – treat customers like a VIP 

Diners’ expectations are for restaurants to offer the fine dining experience of a 5-star hotel. Everyone’s a critic, readily sharing great meals and beautiful surroundings, so adding value to the person behind the customer is essential.    

With the creation of customer profiles, available in cash register software, qualitative data can be harnessed to build insights into the clientele. Restaurateurs can track all kinds of habits and preferences such as; allergies, preferences and any special payment habits, and use this data to enhance their customer experience.

Performance – celebrate super stars and the service will shine

With a recent YouGov survey suggesting that 42% of hospitality staff leave their job within the first 30 days; taking care of employees is the first step towards retaining good workers. To deliver the best possible customer experience, they need to be pampered while receiving continuous training. The best way to identify staff strengths and areas for improvement is to use cash register software with key employee performance reports.

Top selling products, turnover per employee, average spend or tip amount are some of the key success indicators that can be monitored these days through some clever digitisation of processes. With an objective view of employee performance, business owners can fine-tune their training strategies and upskill their front-of-house staff. This leads to a virtuous circle: better trained, more successful employees who are more fulfilled, more committed and therefore less likely to leave – avoiding the additional costs associated with staff turnover.

Focusing on customer and staff retention while, at the same time, reducing food waste, will help those working in hospitality step into 2024 with a refreshed enthusiasm.

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