Over the past few weeks, Beacon director Chris Durant has been on a grand tour of the country visiting the chosen businesses to find out more about their successes and challenges. Porthmadog first, followed by Bristol, Gloucestershire, London and Kent. The Isle of Wight visit is next.
Chris was impressed with the teams he met, "They're all clearly passionate about their businesses and juggling similar challenges - surviving the recession, developing their teams, marketing and pushing forward with their strategic plans when they have so many other tasks in their daily routine. All typical challenges for entrepreneurs in our industry".
While Chris heads up Beacon Purchasing and advises businesses on purchasing strategy, he has spent his career in the hospitality industry, including 10 years as a catering consultant, and so has a real understanding about the hospitality business.
He told Caterer, "As you'd expect, I wanted to talk to them about their purchasing, because it's so important at a time like this to make sure they are buying as competitively as possible. Many seem to have fair deals at the moment, but we've offered them all help with a purchasing benchmark exercise if they want.
"I would say that one of the biggest priorities for all of the businesses is to make sure they stay on top of their costs. But it's not just about price - menus and beverages must be regularly costed and analysed to see which products are the most profitable to sell and push via marketing initiatives. There's no point in having high sales on a dish if you can't make the profit you need on it. Re-engineer the menu; see if you can buy the ingredients cheaper or else change the menu."
Beacon's 5 Quick Better Business tips:
- Stand in your own queue! Try out your customer's experience - from arriving at your car park to leaving - and be picky. What do your customers really see? Or arrange a mystery customer visit.
- Make sure all menus/drinks are regularly costed and that your current sales-mix generates your target margin.
- Re-engineer menus or replace dishes that don't earn you enough and train the team to "sell" the higher-margin products.
- Check, record and cost out your food wastage every day. Don't believe anyone who tells you they waste nothing!
- Check the prices you are actually paying against the prices you have agreed to pay.