Your Restaurant Matters

YOUR RESTAURANT MATTERS

Issue 1 Highlights

Strategies And Tactics For Recovery And Growth
Challenges and solutions
Funding For Expansion And Growth
Increasing Revenue Through Customer Loyalty
Leading F&B Operators Implement NFS Solutions

Issue 2 Highlights

New Mobile POS Technology now Available for Restaurants
Leading UK Restaurant Operators Expand with NFS Technology

From The Editor:

Welcome to the Autumn Issue of Your Restaurant Matters. This publication pulls together many topics of interest to F&B operators and provides some interesting perspectives and valuable insights that we hope will help you in growing your business, positioning yourself for the recovery ahead, and dealing with important matters such as customer loyalty and satisfaction.

The last twelve months have been very challenging for most F&B operators, with many restaurants having to cut costs to survive, or finding it difficult to secure funds, or experiencing cost pressures on essential F&B items. We believe that increasing revenues is key to your success, so have focused on key topics and ideas to help you make this happen.

Your Restaurant Matters is about YOUR business and its successes, so I hope the content of this issue will help you along the way.

Strategies And Tactics For Recovery And Growth

Despite the industry having been badly affected by the global downturn, there are definitely signs of recovery. Here we present views from some independent experts who look at what has occurred in the UK restaurant industry over the last twelve months, how operators have adapted and repositioned themselves, and how some are looking to growth and recovery in the year ahead.

British Operators Confident Of Outperforming Economy

A recent survey involving members of the British Hospitality Association’s National Restaurants Group included responses from major restaurant groups operating in the UK. These have a combined turnover of over £1 billion from more than 1,200 units, consisting of 24 brands, and employing a total of 30,000 people.

The general consensus is that lack of bank finance availability is one of the most inhibiting factors towards growth and expansion in the future. Despite this, operators will still seek to lend, with over one-third of businesses saying they will need additional funding in the next twelve months, and half needing more in 2010/11.

Other major inhibitors to future growth include the downturn in consumer spend, the availability of suitable sites, high food prices and the burden of regulation.

Over a third of surveyed businesses predict a slight growth both this year and next, whilst a similar number predict strong growth in 2010. What is clear is that these groups are confident that they can outperform the economy in the next couple of years, despite their beliefs that customers are eating out less often and spending less when they do so, with corporate spending in significant decline.

It is clear that the restaurant sector has been quick to react to this decline. Over three quarters of survey respondents have cut down on staff in 2009, and nearly two thirds have frozen wages and salaries. In addition, menus have been re-engineered by many, and 88% have renegotiated food and beverage contracts. This marks a swift and decisive reaction to the downturn.

Restaurants consider re-engineering menus as one of the top measures for clawing their way out of the recession, but the introduction of special offers and promotions is the most popular method – with 88% using this tactic. Around 75% cited better staff training as their route to survival.

F&B Growth Against The Odds

The Coffer Peach Business Tracker has published figures that indicate a rise in sales for the third consecutive month for UK restaurants and pubs. The figures, from a sample of thirteen major chains, indicate that larger businesses are still outperforming independents, with a rise in sales of 4.6% against the same period in 2008.

The Peach Factory, a UK-based market consultancy and media agency, collaborated on the survey in partnership with KPMG, UBS Bank and Coffer Group. Peter Martin, Founder of the company, said: “The focus on improved marketing, promotions and delivering value is having an undoubted impact on the top line.” He added that whilst this strategy puts pressure on profits, operators will have to get used to working within a smaller margin.

It seems that despite fears surrounding a drop in out-of-home spending, the increased sales figures hint that eating out may be something consumers are not willing to sacrifice completely.

Will Hawkley of KPMG, said: “The results confirm that trading at the leading restaurant and pub groups is holding up well during the downturn. However, operators will have to keep their focus on cash flow and driving down costs whilst continuing to generate innovative promotional campaigns.”

UK Restaurant Report Shows Signs Of Recovery

For its UK Restaurant Leader Report 2009, Allegra Strategies surveyed nearly 150 restaurant industry leaders nationwide, to determine how they view the current climate, and if they have plans for the immediate future.

Key findings of the survey indicate that:

* Although trading conditions are still difficult for the UK restaurant market, the economy is beginning to show signs of improvement and operators are now starting to plan for recovery. Despite almost 60% of restaurant operators reporting negative like-for-like performance in Q2 2009, their level of concern with the economy is diminishing compared to last year.

* Operators with average turnover of £10 per head or less have been less affected by the downturn, and brands such as Whitbread Group, McDonald’s and Subway are consequently well positioned in the market.

* The recession, combined with empowered consumers, has increased competition, and substantial discounting will leave a considerable legacy.

* A total of 85% of restaurant leaders think that customer value expectations have risen as a result of the recession.

* A combination of increasingly savvy consumers, greater choice in the market and the desire for value have made customers more selective and less loyal to previously favoured restaurants.

* A key challenge for restaurant operators is to find ways to offer customers enhanced value.

* Around 63% of industry leaders predict that consumers will be eating out more regularly in five years’ time.

* Around 64% of leaders believe Fast Casual dining is the business model set to grow the fastest in the next three to five years, due to consumers becoming more mobile and leading more informal lifestyles.

Steve Gotham, Senior Analyst for Allegra Strategies, commented: “The economic slowdown is leading to a shake-out in the restaurant sector, in which only the most skilfully managed, better funded and more customer-centric operators will survive.”

However, he feels that economic influences are cyclical and that favourable long-term trends towards greater eating out activity will drive renewed market growth. “There will be a recessionary legacy related to customer value expectations, but issues around customer experience, convenience, healthier eating, provenance and sustainability will inevitably work their way back up the agendas of both consumers and management,” he said.

Challenges and Solutions

The Challenges Faced By Today’s Caterer

There is independent evidence that caterers have been more affected by the downturn than other F&B sectors. Barry Knight, Director of Smith & Williamson, looks at the challenges faced by caterers in today’s market, and what can be done to address these in order to keep a catering business on track.

Barry Knight is the Director of Smith & Williamson, independent provider of investment management, accountancy, tax, corporate and financial advisory services to private clients, corporates, professional practices and non-profit organisations. He believes that although caterers are traditionally more resilient than other sectors to fluctuations of the economy, they have been affected by the recession more rapidly than experts had anticipated.

He notes a few of the challenges faced by caterers in today’s market:

Competition

This due to the fact that entry into the UK’s catering industry has very few barriers. A catering business can be set up either from home or from a business location within one month, and with minimal investment. Plus, many restaurants also provide catering services.

Change

Caterers have to contend with the whims and fancies of their clients as well as party numbers, which can change several times in the run-up to an event. Clients frequently change their mind but the caterer must ensure they have the right stock and staff in place to make the event a success on the day.

Cash

Knight cites this as the most important factor, as lack of cash is the main reason why many caterers go out if business. “Good cash forecasting and bank facility management are fundamental,” he says. ” You need to ensure that you keep accurate records of the costs of food, supplies and staff as well as income. Not only will this help you to budget and plan year on year, but it will also be handy for when the tax man comes.”

According to Knight, these aspects of management are applicable to most sectors of the economy, but especially so for caterers. Clients can easily cut budgets or cancel events, and caterers’ services could be considered a luxury, so are evidently more vulnerable than other businesses in the current economy. “If any cracks appear, the pain will be felt remarkably quickly,” he says.

Cost Control

“It’s important to remember that no two customers – and no two businesses – are alike,” comments Knight. He notes that every consumer has their own approach to buying, has a preferred means of communication and a unique personality. “A one-dimensional strategy, therefore, could be a huge stumbling block; it’s all about choosing the right approach.”

Knight feels that in order to grow, every small business needs a multi-faceted, integrated customer service that takes all foreseeable preferences into account. His tips for keeping a restaurant business on track are as follows:

  1. Produce regular forecasts at least quarterly, and preferably monthly, with cash flow being the most important. Run sensitivity analyses to compare cash position and bank facilities and ensure items of capital expenditure are identified ahead of time. Remember that cash is king.
  2. Move the cost base away from fixed to variable, even if at the outset it appears to cost more. If the business is facing a downturn and a possible fall in demand, there is likely to be excess capacity and the costs that are variable will naturally fall.
  3. Set realistic banking covenants to reflect the true risk of the business and not simply to achieve the cheapest cost of borrowing. Breaches of banking covenants affect credibility with banks.
  4. Manage stock efficiently and ensure wastage is down. Take regular stock inventories so that stock is within its sell-by date and used in a timely manner.
  5. Closely watch the competition and adjust business model when necessary. A small operator may not be able to compete on price but can differentiate itself on quality and service.
  6. Be flexible and think ahead; consider changing customer patterns and work to adapt accordingly.
  7. Adopt best practice at all times. Assess the brand’s website for ease of use, information provided, sample menus and client testimonials.
  8. Be realistic and act on problems immediately by working out a solution that can be presented to creditors. Recognise that banks, in particular, don’t like shocks.

Funding For Expansion And Growth

Key Tips To Raise Funds For Expansion

The Capital Group (Finance & Leasing) Ltd is an independent finance company based in Romsey, Hampshire, that specialises in lease finance solutions and asset finance. The Group structures lease finance solutions and schemes for suppliers of various capital equipment sectors, offering a wide range of services including lease rental, lease purchase, lease hire and business loans.

David Phillipson is the Sales Manager at the company, and an expert in the field of securing finance for business projects. Given that banks’ lending criteria are more stringent in the current market, he feels that restaurant operators looking to improve their chances of raising funds for expansion should consider presenting a sound business plan to banks and investors, making sure that they include solid CVs for the main individuals behind the business.

“You should also highlight other parties that are investing into the business,” he says. “Investors and banks will want to see that you are investing your own money into the site as well – not just time and effort.” He stresses that: “It’s not all about forecast figures – CVs and business background are just as important when presenting business growth plans.”

Given that lease finance is the primary product that The Capital Group offer, Phillipson then recommends how to approach differences between raising finance for essentials assets, such as equipment, and raising finance for non-essentials, such as new furniture or new menus. “Apart from the two key benefits of protecting cashflow and the associated tax benefits, a key advantage of using lease finance is that you will preserve your banking lines for use in other areas of the business, such as payroll and stock,” he says.

Phillipson’s overall assessment of availability of funding for restaurants in today’s market is that, without question, funding in the hospitality sector and restaurant trade has become harder to obtain, as banks have tightened their underwriting criteria. “This is especially true for new start ventures,” he notes. However, funding of capital equipment through lease finance companies is still very much available. “Banks are asking more questions and want more information, such as copies of accounts, and bank statements. They also would ideally like to see a business plan.”

He tells how bank statements are now becoming a common requirement of underwriting to show that there is cashflow in the business to pay for the monthly outgoings, and that no charges are being acquired.

So who is lending? Where can restaurants go to seek finance?

Phillipson believes that all of the banks are lending to some degree, but as highlighted previously, they have all tightened their criteria in terms of who they will lend to, and their decision will depend on credit checks performed, and the current position of the business. “Smaller, less well-known banks are putting facilities in place for businesses in the hospitality market, with the main pre-requisites being that the owners of the business are homeowners, and that the credit checks are clear,” he says.

What message would The Capital Group like to convey to operators seeking to raise finance today?

“Simply to be looking to provide the finance company with as much positive information about the business and the individuals behind it as possible,” says the sales manager, who has noticed that a lot of customers feel they now have to give a lot of information to finance companies to get facilities, where in the past it was relatively easy to get funding.

“Times have changed and the tighter underwriting guidelines and checks are for all of our benefits in the long term,” he points out. “Finance is available to the right business opportunities – you just have to be patient and be thorough with your business planning.”

If you would like to know more about how The Capital Group can help your F&B operation, go to www.capitalgp.co.uk or contact: dphillipson@capitalgp.co.uk.

Increasing Revenue Through Customer Loyalty

NFS Viewpoint: The Loyalty Effect – The Hidden Force Behind Growth

One of the most successful ways we’ve found our F&B clients are generating more income and achieving higher customer retention is through the introduction of easy-to-use, web-based customer loyalty programmes. The editor interviewed Leon Sabwa, who heads up Client Services for our EPOS business unit. He offered his perspective on customer loyalty, which I hope you find both useful and informative.

Editor: What Is Unique about Nfs’s Approach to Loyalty and Retention?

LS: I believe that Loyalty is an important tool to generate repeat visits to the restaurant (and therefore revenues) and to generate customer loyalty. There is certainly a wide choice of restaurants for consumers nowadays, but if a restaurant offers some kind of reward or incentive, consumers will keep going back, and if there’s a reward for a restaurant’s loyalty option, consumers will sign up to it.

Editor: Is it that clear-cut?

LS: Yes, it’s that simple.

With the current economic climate it is important that organisations can calculate and understand the total value of a loyal customer. For example, if a restaurant’s average breakfast meal is £6.00, with customers frequenting twice a week, or 104 times a year, the annual total revenue opportunity is £624. With an average customer tenure or lifetime of ten years, the total value of the loyal customer is £6,240. If one breakfast customer stops visiting, the restaurant has not lost £12 a week, but potentially £6,240. This is why building loyal customers is so critical to the bottom line.

John Wheeler of the independent Coffee Bamber group describes their Aloha Loyalty scheme as a major part of the business. Their coffee shop in Darlington has issued more than 4,000 loyalty cards and has benefited significantly from the increased repeat business. “I believe that I am correct in saying that without the Aloha Loyalty programme, my business would not have developed as quickly as it has, and I may not have retained customers,” he says.

Editor: What is unique about NFS’s approach to Loyalty and Retention?

LS: We have three main USPs:

1. We offer fully integrated programmes, from transactions at the till to management of applications online, as part of a single solution with no interfaces and complexities.

2. We are totally web-based, so all operator and customer experiences related to loyalty are online.

3. We’ve made it easier for restaurants to set up loyalty with no real extra costs, given that the application is browser-based.

Editor: Of the people who have deployed loyalty at NFS, who were the most successful and why?

LS: Sandquay Restaurants in Ireland could be described as the most successful, as they deployed the system across both their Luigi Malones and Café Hi brands. Peter Darragh, Operations Manager at Sandquay Restaurants, manages their ‘Customer Royalty Card Scheme’. In just a few months, the Temple Bar restaurant alone attracted more than 500 customers to its loyalty programme. “We have a good clientele and they can see the benefits,” Peter says. “With the loyalty card they know exactly how many points they accrue with each visit, as it’s right on the bill; they don’t have to wait for the statement.”

Editor: What do you see as a ROI for someone who implements a loyalty programme in a 8-10 restaurant chain, and what are the main benefits an operator can enjoy?

LS: The return on investment for such a group would be increased expenditure and more frequent visits, and the main benefits Aloha Loyalty offers F&B operators are as follows:

Benefits Of Aloha Loyalty

  • The loyalty system rewards the most profitable customers and encourages repeat business; customers perceive better value and thus return more often (E.g. Two extra repeat customers per week with an average bill of £17 would equal £1,768 of additional revenue per year)
  • Ease of reporting on sales, redemptions, reward liabilities and programme effectiveness; management can promptly pull reports to assist with quick and accurate decision making
  • Safeguards against employee abuse of promotional programmes on manual or non-integrated systems, as in addition to standard POS security, Aloha Loyalty can limit how much a member can be rewarded, and authorisation prompts can be configured to prevent cards being over-swiped or entered manually
  • Increased brand recognition through card marketing and configurable guest bill information provides low- cost, high-impact marketing
  • Aloha Loyalty stores a database of customers from which data can be analysed and exported; operations can therefore implement effective marketing programmes with detailed customer intelligence, saving the need to purchase customer lists and information
  • Loyalty cards with balance or discount settings can be allocated to employees, thereby providing a better way to regulate employee meal plans

Peter Darragh of Sandquay Restaurants describes the increased data capture as a major benefit for the restaurant chain. “The loyalty programme does not increase our workload at all,” he says. “It’s a totally streamlined system.”

Editor: What restaurant types most benefit from a loyalty programme?

LS: A customer loyalty programme can provide the benefits of added value and increased revenue for all types of operations, from cafeterias to fine-dining restaurants. Those that benefit most have designed schemes to appeal to a targeted customer base. A successful, well-designed, well-planned and well-implemented loyalty system will change the behaviour and buying patterns of customers.

London’s Dover Street Restaurant and Bar has noted significant changes since installation of Aloha Loyalty. Stuart Graffham, F&B and IT Manager at the venue, notes, “The amazing thing is that by using the application we now have the ability to know which of our customers are good spenders, and which keep returning.” He believes the solution most benefits Dover Street operations because “It allows the business to focus our promotions on key groups of people based on the usage of their rewards card – much like targeted sales.”

Editor: What should operators consider when planning a loyalty programme?

LS: Some of the processes to consider include:

A Loyalty Situation Analysis

Before designing a loyalty programme, operators need to understand as well as possible their current situation and capabilities for implementing and managing an effective programme. This analysis will provide an overview of the requirements from an operational, revenue growth and communications perspective.

Data Gathering and Customer Profiling

Analysing customer-specific data enables operators to determine how to grow their best customers. Additional research could be conducted to understand customers’ preferences between products. Such analysis should be ongoing and can be refined once the loyalty system is in place and providing accurate data.

Potential Programme Impact

Once operators know where to focus, profitability goals can be set for the loyalty programme. This will help to identify potential cross-sell, up-sell, retention and customer acquisition opportunities.

Loyalty Programme Design

Operators should be in a position to design a programme that will include the structure, payout levels and reward recommendations that will drive the desired behaviours of their best customers.The following characteristics are essential:

  • Reward – The reward must match the expected quality of the operation and products. The total reward mix should be difficult to duplicate, incorporate variety and be perceived as having high value, thereby motivating customers to increase spending to reach a certain level. At the same time, the reward level should be achievable
  • Convenience – Once earned, it should be made easy for customers to redeem, obtain or use their rewards
  • Communication – Better targeted offers, messages, rewards and services relevant to customers should be created based on differences in preference

Editor: How long does it take to set up the system, and what are its components?

LS: The implementation of a loyalty system will vary depending on the planning discussed above, and the complexity of the reward schemes to be created. In many cases, a loyalty system can be set up within two weeks.

A Loyalty system typically comprises:

  • A loyalty server with loyalty software module and database
  • An EPOS system to collect customer information and deliver rewards
  • Loyalty cards used to identify customers

The Aloha Loyalty solution is delivered via an ASP model, making it a simple and cost-effective tool for a growing business. The software is installed once in a secure, central location and data is provided to users via a standard web browser. This managed service provides hospitality operations with the latest technology, and with minimal maintenance. The loyalty module integrates seamlessly with the EPOS system to deliver real-time rewards and information.

Operators using Aloha Loyalty can also take advantage of the MemberLink module which provides online access for loyalty members. This can be used to enhance the guest experience and to reduce administrative overheads by allowing customers to update their member profile information and view their current standings direct from the restaurant’s website.

Now that we understand what loyalty can do, we look at some of the different ways in which it needs to be applied in order to improve an F&B business in today’s changing market. We present some ideas and guidelines that may help influence the loyalty and commitment of customers; that look at how consumers increasingly expect loyalty communications and offers to be personalised, relevant and delivered across various channels; and how loyalty needs to take a fresh approach if it is to attract new customers and please existing ones.

Is Your Loyalty Scheme Engaging Enough?

According to a consumer survey by customer loyalty agency Direct Antidote, Loyalty System communications and offers, including email, mail or social networks, are failing to effectively engage members. The survey discovered that only 32% of US consumers gave reward programme communications an 8 or higher, on a scale of 1 to 10, when asked about their relevance to personal needs. It seems that although many marketers believe personalisation is key to their campaigns, a hefty 68% of consumers gave their loyalty programmes’ communications a personal relevance score of 7 or below.

Direct Antidote’s study concentrated largely on communications, as well as other loyalty programme-related information. Across all the demographics surveyed, relevance scores were disappointingly average. The older survey participants marked perceived relevance with an average score of 5.7 – the lowest of all; young adults and Hispanics were the two demographics with the highest score, of 6.9.

“We are in an era of high customer expectations, and today’s empowered consumer has a strong desire for engagement. But the loyalty industry is falling short on the highly personalised, relevant communications that consumers expect,” commented Di Cullen, Direct Antidote President.

Cullen said the study highlights several areas in which loyalty marketers can improve, and that there is a set of strategies that could assist them in enhancing the communication relevance of their campaigns, such as:

  • Create offers that appeal to the trends and values of the time
  • Leverage partnerships with other brands to share data, drive down costs and boost the value proposition for the consumer
  • Explore alternative sources and find new ways to mine for information that is compelling to customers

Another factor that emerged from the survey was a substantial rise in engagement with rewards programmes among the older generation, compared to the same study in 2007. The report notes a 64% rise in the amount of older people who now read special offers received in the post, and a 21% rise in those that read mailed statements, and also those who respond to member surveys.

Generation Y – or millenials – beat all other demographics in their engagement with rewards programmes through new media, such as social networking. Over half – 52% – of young adults “strongly appreciate” communication through the mobile channel, and 55% said the same about social networking websites. The general population’s averages came in at 38% and 39% respectively.

“These results are indicators that the loyalty business enjoys appeal across the span of demographics,” stated Cullen. “As Baby Boomers move from workforce to retirement, there is an opportunity to engage these consumers with communications that appeal to their new lifestyle. At the same time, fostering engaged, loyal customers within the young adult demographic means approaching them using emerging channels.”

Logical Steps To Building Loyalty Programmes

Based in the UK, The Logic Group, a loyalty consultancy, recently published new guidelines for setting up successful customer loyalty programmes in a backdrop of economic uncertainty. These were produced following a survey conducted with Ipsos MORI earlier this year, which found that 46% of UK consumers felt they were not “part of a loyalty scheme”, and that those that are only feel “luke-warm” about their loyalty associations.

The survey indicates that UK consumers are most actively members of shopping and retail loyalty programmes, and that the majority have either one loyalty programme membership or none, as seen below:

  • No loyalty programme memberships……………..46%
  • 1 loyalty programme membership………………..45%
  • 2 loyalty programme memberships……………….6%
  • 3 or more loyalty programme memberships…….1%

Anamaria Chiuzan, Senior Marketing Manager for The Logic Group, notes that the six guidelines published by the company offer suggestions for increasing the amount of loyalty programme sign-ups and improving satisfaction levels for existing members:

  • Keep Loyalty Messages Relevant And Simple
    Clear and relevant messages alongside appropriate offers and rewards will make customers feel more engaged. Some 30% of survey respondents said that rewards relevant to individuals would encourage them to spend more.
  • Recognise Your Loyal Customers It is important to understand and keep track of loyal customers, to know where they are, and how / where they shop. Vital customer data such as this allows a business to personalise customer experiences and exceed customer expectations; it also helps with implementing retention strategies, and becomes a key asset in managing relationships with valuable and less valuable customers. Businesses need to show loyalty to their most loyal customers, and also need to understand what is important and relevant to them.
  • Deliver Loyalty Via Customer Service
    Loyalty programmes need to be integral to customer service, therefore all employees – not just customer-facing staff – must understand any programme’s goals. It seems loyalty yields the most success when programme benefits and core messages are promoted to members at every customer service touch point. Logic Group’s survey revealed that good customer service is the top factor in encouraging spending, and poor customer service was the top factor in discouraging additional spending.
  • Carefully Plan The Loyalty Journey Marketers should map out the entire customer journey to aid design of a unique programme, and as this should build gradually throughout the customer’s lifecycle, it is essential that loyalty offers be relevant to customers. By appreciating that loyalty is nurtured over time, strategies to grow customers’ profitability and add value to the business can be sustained. Logic Group’s survey shows that trends in loyalty vary, and that factors such as age and lifestyle have a major impact on customer loyalty at each stage of a customer’s lifecycle.
  • Integrate Loyalty Into All Channels Of Communication A consistent customer experience should be built both offline and online, and businesses should recognise customer choices and communicate via all available channels at the right place and at the right time. A consistent loyalty experience throughout all channels will reinforce the idea that loyalty is at the core of the business, and will encourage repeat business. Using survey results as an example, it appears that customers shopping online expect the same loyalty benefits as they would receive by shopping in-store.
  • Invite, Analyse And React To Customer Feedback Businesses should leverage customer opinions to monitor the loyalty programme’s progress and optimise the loyalty model. Customers are happy to offer feedback if they feel they are being heard, and businesses that perform customer surveys to better understand expectations and motivations can utilise the resulting data as long as it is relevant and visibly acted upon.

Chiuzan notes that the market is over-saturated with loyalty programmes, and that very few are successful. “However,” he says, “there is enormous potential for businesses to successfully revamp the loyalty experience. Loyalty programmes as we understand them today need to be refreshed, and businesses must understand that a successful loyalty programme relies on integrating its intrinsic complexities into a seamlessly excellent customer experience.”

Wise Research Ltd, publisher of The Wise Marketer, an online news and research service for the customer loyalty industry, recently published Loyalty Guide III, its new global directory for customer loyalty marketing that offers facts, figures, market sizing data, trends, forecasts, ideas and innovations for business development, proposals, presentations, and project tenders.

According to Wise Research, poor customer engagement is reported to cause up to 75% of lost sales, and loyal customers buy more, often paying more for better service. They say strong customer relationships are a key driver of sustainable business growth, and that customer retention and loyalty are becoming the key focus for many operators.

Peter Clark, co-editor of The Wise Marketer and co-author of The Loyalty Guide series, believes there are six factors that play key roles in influencing the loyalty and commitment of customers:

Leading F&B Operators Implement NFS

How NFS Technology Helps F&B Businesses Today

NFS Hospitality has been a leading provider of F&B solutions for many years in the UK and Ireland. Our solutions are based around Aloha EPOS, the global EPOS solution for restaurant and F&B markets. In addition to Aloha EPOS, NFS also provide Stock Control, Head Office Reporting, Loyalty, Restaurant Reservations, Web-Based Head Office Reporting, Chip & Pin Solutions and Handheld Ordering.

Recognising that restaurant operators need a total solution, NFS also provide a comprehensive installation and training package including hardware, networking, user training and, most importantly, a manned 24/7 helpdesk, regarded as the best in the industry today.

NFS is delighted to announce installations of Aloha EPOS and associated modules in various market segments it serves across the UK and Ireland, including Fine Dining, Nightclubs, Venues and Healthcare.

Nightclub & Restaurant

Mahiki, A High-Profile , High-End Nightspot

An NFS client in the nightclub segment, Mahiki, is a trendy and award-winning cocktail bar in the heart of London’s Mayfair. The venue opened its doors in 2006 and has since been a favourite of many high-profile celebrities, including the young royals. Mahiki’s owners replaced a former club, and found Aloha EPOS from NFS Hospitality in place when they took over. Junior Lisboa, Assistant Manager, spent a great deal of time, along with his team, evaluating whether to keep Aloha or shop around. Above all, they wanted to ensure that the system would meet the new bar’s business needs and offer speed of operations – a key factor in this segment.

“One factor that influenced our decision was the 24-help desk support from NFS. We also liked the magnificent amount of virtual memory we get for long term sales records,” he said. Another factor that impressed the assistant manager was the implementation process. “It was very innovative,” he says. “Our management team was well trained and able to pass on to on-site supervisors very smoothly.”

Lisboa said he had a lot of choice in functions, from inventory control management to staff hours v actual. Mahiki also benefits from accuracy in stock audits; staff clock validation; waste and comps breakdown; night revenue, before and after, per terminal or per employee; breakdown of service charge owed to staff; item sales including small stock takes per night of high-value champagnes, magnums, spirits, etc.; incentive schemes for employees; retrieval of copies of bills sorted by time, server, table name, amount, etc.; and Internet access to the system.

Healthcare

Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Foodservice Operations

In April 2009, NFS implemented a new EPOS system at some of the foodservice operations within Great Ormond Street Hospital, or GOSH, as part of the healthcare facility’s major refurbishment. NFS’ Aloha EPOS solution was initially installed in GOSH’s main restaurant and deli bar, and the system is to be rolled out to other F&B outlets within the hospital over the next 12 to 18 months.

Some of the main drivers for the Aloha EPOS implementation are:

  • Better Capture And Analysis Of Take-Out Revenue
    This will enable GOSH to claim back VAT, previously only refunded on the basis of very simple estimates. Being able to claim back the correct amount of VAT will in its own right fund a significant amount of the investment in the new EPOS.
  • Improved Management Information
    GOSH’s Catering Manager is now able to identify important management information almost instantly. Eg: he can determine product lines selling well; items sold on an hourly, shift and daily basis; and revenue associated with each staff member.
  • Automated Prompts
    Aloha EPOS’ automated prompts within the software are ideal for up-selling, so staff can recommend complementary items to customers and increase transaction value.
  • Full Integration With Stock Control And Back Office
    Aloha EPOS is fully integrated with the GOSH stock control and back office system, Indicator, so all sales can be transferred automatically to the back office system, saving time and also improving overall management of the catering operation.
  • Customisation
    The EPOS system can be customised so that large buttons can be used to speed up activity at the point of sale, making it easier for staff to charge correctly and be more responsive to the customer.

Venue

Multi-Faceted And Fast Growing Chelsea Village

Food & Beverage is also a major part of many large venues, such as Chelsea Village, a multi-faceted business, leisure and entertainment complex built around the grounds of London’s world-famous Chelsea Football Club. The 12-acre site comprises a range of F&B, accommodation and health club facilities, as well as a 42,500–seat stadium, and employs more than 300 staff.

To integrate F&B for all these facilities, Chelsea Village selected Aloha EPOS with NFS Hospitality as the systems integration partner. “As Chelsea Village is expanding fast, especially in corporate hospitality, we knew we needed a system that would cover F&B for the whole site,” said Michael Kirk, Project Manager.

Aloha, an advanced web-based F&B management system, is now installed at the Village’s two hotels, which include 21 conference and banqueting rooms; its five restaurants; at the Purple nightclub; and at the stadium’s corporate hospitality facilities.

Fine Dining

Irelands only Two-Michelin Star ** Restaurant

Across the water, in Ireland, NFS Hospitality has installed their Aloha EPOS solution at Ireland’s only two Michelin star restaurant. Now that The Patrick Guilbaud Restaurant, based at The Merrion Hotel in Dublin, has implemented Aloha EPOS software, they are enjoying a reliable and sophisticated fine dining point of sale solution, backed by industry-leading 24/7 support.

The Aloha software POS, which replaced an ageing Micros system, has the latest in graphical table-management, great functionality – including individual seat recognition, an ability to ‘fire-courses’ from the floor, and gives an immediate insight for service and kitchen brigade alike. The prestigious restaurant wanted to implement a solution that would enhance the meal experience and also function in extremely busy situations, where reliability is key.

During the current economic crisis it is essential that restaurants – especially in the fine-dining sector – up their level of service and invest in software that is able to deal with the demanding needs of today’s consumer. The latest Aloha Table-Service offering, which provides the ultimate ‘bespoke fine-dining’ management ability, is unique in today’s challenging marketplace.

Many other leading Dublin restauranteurs have chosen to install the Aloha solution, notably Ross Lewis in Chapter One, (Michelin One Star *), on Parnell Square, plus the current President of the Irish Restaurant Association, the influential Paul Cadden, selected Aloha for the highly acclaimed ‘Saba‘ site in Clarendon Street, following this up with his new ‘Saba To Go‘ concept in Rathmines.

Rhodes D7, in Capel Street, opened with Aloha Epos and the linked Reservit table-reservation solution. Other sites in Dublin include the eclectic Koh Restaurant & Bar and The Church on Jervis Street – a multi-million euro development.

NFS offer a 30-day trial installation on any Aloha Epos solution. Why not contact us today and see just what you are missing?

COMPLETE, INTEGRATED SOLUTION FOR F&B MANAGEMENT

If you are running an F&B operation there are multiple technology components you may need to deal with, from serving the customer at the point of sale, to managing your cash in the back office, to taking inventory of stock, to organising large parties, to reviewing sales figures in detailed reports at head office.

NFS Hospitality has a complete solution that brings all these components together seamlessly in one fully integrated solution, backed by round-the-clock support to all international clients. If F&B management is important to your business, here’s what NFS Hospitality can provide:

Quality Is Not Expensive – It’s PRICELESS

Nick Skudder has been EPoS Manager for NFS Hospitality for many years, selling to clubs, restaurants and bars in the UK and Ireland. His perspective is based on direct interaction with bar and restaurant owners and operators over the last twelve months. As market conditions have been very difficult, Nick has had to find new and innovative ways to help his clients survive and develop their businesses.

As Aloha Sales Manager at NFS, Nick tells how he is increasingly taking calls from many dissatisfied EPOS users who are frustrated with non-performing solutions and poor or non-existent support structures. “An inactive EPOS product is a breeding ground for fraudulent activity,” he says, explaining how staff are usually struggling on the minimum wage and see the accessibility of the system as an ‘open door’; thus an opportunity to boost their income.

NFS are able to help with this problem as they install their product on most existing Windows-based touch-screen platforms, so minimising any further investment in IT hardware. “Second-generation EPOS software swap-out has become a harsh economic reality for many cost-conscious operators,” notes Nick. He feels many have inherited EPOS systems and are frustrated by the lack of training, antiquated back-office structures, poor reporting and constant failures on both software and hardware. “Aloha from NFS guarantees total reliability and control backed by industry-leading 24/7 support,” comments Nick.

NFS’ diverse install base includes stadia, concert venues, leading restaurant operators, high-capacity nightclubs and an eclectic mix of late-night venues. Nick says a typical example of an operator on a fourth-generation EPOS solution is Glyn Hughes, from Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff – a live-music venue that has been in operation for twenty-five years.

“Glyn approached NFS at the recent Bar Show in London and was attracted by Aloha’s ability to run in redundancy mode,” he says. “In addition, Aloha’s track record in the reliability stakes, strong 24/7 support and a seamless interface into the Aloha Loyalty module led him to purchase 30,000 Aloha E Cards for the forthcoming student influx at Freshers’ Week.”

Introducing NFS’ Unique EPOS Scrappage-Scheme

Thinking of changing your EPOS?

Look at this recession buster from NFS.

We will take in your old equipment as part payment for a new-look Aloha EPOS solution. No hassle, just a straightforward, no messing exchange mechanism that helps you to make that all important decision and choose Aloha from NFS Hospitality!

For more details, contact nick@nfs-hospitality.com.

Looking beyond the recession

The last 12 months have been challenging on many fronts for restaurants and other food service related businesses. In addition to having to cope with a drop in revenues, many of us have had to make cost reductions and frankly the banks have been only too happy to take a back seat in a time of great need! But then, did we expect anything else? The ball in is our court and we need to take the steps to drive up revenues and deliver the best possibly experience and value for our customers. I hope the contents of this Newsletter will help you to do just that, focus on best practice, the best ideas in driving revenues and most importantly, developing a plan to move your business forward positively as we see the recession starting to ease.

I wish you every success in developing your business and hope that you will contact NFS Hospitality if there is anything we can help you with in relation to technology and business consultancy.

Best wishes.

Luis De Souza

Managing Director

Tel: +44 (0)1920 485 725

luis@nfs-hospitality.com

NFS Hospitality Corporation

www.nfs-hsopitality.com

EDITOR’S NOTE:

We hope you enjoyed our Autumn Issue of Your Restaurant Matters.
To help us improve our next edition, we’d like to know what you think.

  • Have we missed something or someone important?
  • Which topics are on your agenda for the next 12 months?
  • Do you have any related news or insight to share with us?
  • Would you like us to write a review on your NFS installation?
  • Would you like any more information on Food & Beverage topics, such as White Papers or Case Studies?

Please contact me with your feedback, comments or queries at:

feedback@nfs-hospitality.com

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