Investing in customers will pay dividends for businesses
There’s a well-worn phrase in the service industry about the customer is always right, or the customer is king.
For those working in the hospitality and leisure sectors, it is very apt as the industries deal with many challenges, not least posed by the lockdowns and a new coronavirus threat in the shape of the Omicron variant.
Despite this, it remains one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, but is having to adapt to technological change, changing habits and requirements of customers and ensuring their satisfaction and safety.
All of these lead to extra costs and so it’s vital restaurants, hotels and pubs get the right advice from their accountant.
Keeping the customers safe
On customer safety, drink spiking is an area of concern as businesses get back on their feet. We all know of people, staggering around looking drunk, who have in fact been drugged.
Now four leading trade bodies have joined forces to ensure customer safety amid growing concerns about spiking at hospitality venues across the UK.
UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), and Hospitality Ulster have teamed up to combat drink spiking and protect customers.
The associations have jointly produced a factsheet that complements the work they are already doing to ensure their venues remain safe places in which to enjoy a night out.
This is just part of customer safety, a major management issue in the hospitality industry where businesses also need to ensure proper surveillance systems are installed and maintained throughout so that guests can feel comfortable and safe.
To deal with security challenges, venues have to rely on the latest hi-tech equipment and software, which can be expensive to acquire and maintain.
Internet, apps and social media
It’s rare today not to see someone looking at a smartphone or tablet at a venue, certainly among younger generations. We have seen during the pandemic the growth of ordering food and drink via smartphone apps and customers now more than ever, expect to find free internet connectivity, high specification TVs and USB ports for charging devices.
These can be substantial costs for smaller venues and again, expert financial advice from your accountant will guide businesses over tax breaks that may be available to them.
Skilled labour shortage and employment law
According to research from trade magazine BigHospitality, salary is the most important factor to consider for retaining the best staff in the hospitality industry. With reports of back of house pay nearing £10 per hour, this is an important factor for job retention as well as investing in training.
But to make sure that everything is running smoothly at all times, owners and managers have to find new ways to manage their stress because they cannot afford to lose it or burnout with their staff and stay on the right side of employment laws.
Seasonal peaks and troughs
Peak seasons, like Christmas in a few weeks’ time, is a stressful time and staff, who usually end up working longer and more unsocial hours tend to bring a lot of business but it also brings undue stress to the management and its staff. The reverse is true off-peak, making it difficult to ensure profitability.
Your accountant can advise on innovation measures, diversification and effective management to cope with those periods.
For more information on related matters please contact our expert team.