Future-proofing your hospitality business
The digital revolution means the world of business is changing at a galloping pace. Restaurant, bar and hotel operators need to keep up with the change to maintain a competitive advantage.
On Wednesday 18th September WMT’s Simon Gurney, Peter Davies and Lauren Kaswell hosted a seminar for hospitality clients on ensuring their businesses are ready for the digital future. Here’s what we found…
WMT’s new Business Systems and Transformation Director, Simon Gurney, kicked off proceedings. He shared his experience of implementing effective and modern systems that not only streamline processes but also provide insight.
He covered the evolution of systems – the past, where systems were effectively just ‘keeping the score’ and looked to the future. Modern systems are connected, efficient, forward facing and help drive positive change, rather than just reporting on it.
He emphasised that the overall goal for a systems project should be clearly identified and recognised by all stakeholders involved in the project. He also stressed that all people are key to project success and engaging them effectively in the process is essential.
Taking the stage from Simon was WMT Hospitality Partner, Lauren Kaswell with a topic that reflected the importance of Simon’s ‘connectivity’ messages.
Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT was introduced by the government in April of this year. Frustrated with these changes, many have buried their head in the sand. Lauren’s talk aimed to change this way of thinking, encouraging restaurant and hotel owners to get ahead of their competitors and show them how they can use the change to their advantage to run a digitally savvy business.
For many MTD will force a need for a systems upgrade. Digital links will need to be formed between accounting software, till systems and other software. New rules prevent any manual intervention of the data required by HMRC.
Lauren stressed that hospitality businesses should contact their EPOS provider to ensure their software is compatible before the festive busy period hits. After this time there is just a few months left to get systems up to date ready for the 31st March. With an anticipated surge of businesses trying to get in touch with their providers in January – early planning will put you at the front of the queue, not the back.
Next we were joined by restauranteur Loui Blake. Loui is an award-winning marketer, entrepreneur and founder of the UK’s largest plant-based restaurant, Erpingham House, and central London restaurant brand Kalifornia Kitchen. Loui successfully built both his businesses with limited budget using modern digital marketing techniques.
During the event Loui covered up-to-date marketing practices for the hospitality sector. He spoke about the importance of positioning, ensuring content is specific, relevant and targeted to get in front of the right people. He detailed how your online content should do at least one of three key things – inform, inspire or entertain.
We were then joined by Matthew Ingham and Tom Howe from workforce management software provider Harri. They demonstrated how modern businesses are measuring labour management success. In an industry with a short-cycle turnover of staff, they explained how, by utilising Harri’s digital technology, you can take a fresh approach to employee engagement, productivity and retention.
Their software is designed to help business manage people from the start with the aim of getting the 15-90 day hiring process right.
They spoke on shifting employer focus from controlling staff to engaging with them, using software for both compliance and communication as well as creating a performance culture that people want to be a part of – employee first was the key takeaway message here.
Finally, WMT Troncmaster Services’ Peter Davies provided an update on the impact of TroncBox. TroncBox is a bespoke IT solution designed by WMT to help hospitality businesses manage their tronc information effectively. The cloud-based app provides users with a secure portal for the exchange of their tronc data via a simple and easy to use interface.
By the end of the morning, attendees left armed with ideas on how to implement digital technology into their business – not only to be compliant with current rules such as MTD, but to streamline their processes, implement systems to gain better business insight and retain a competitive advantage in a crowded and highly competitive market place.
If you didn’t manage to make it to the event but would like to hear more on the topics covered, please find contact details for speakers below. Equally, if there are any topics you would be interested in hearing about at future events, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Business System and Transformation Director – WMT Chartered Accountants
Hospitality Partner – WMT Hospitality Accountants
020 7253 0064
Partner and Managing Director of WMT Troncmaster Services
Founder – Erpingham House and Kalefornia Kitchen
Integrations and product specialist – Harri
Product and training manager – Harri