There is little doubt that in the current challenging economic climate, every dollar counts in the pursuit of business success. This is particularly the case in the hospitality sector. The money that small businesses such as cafes, bakeries and local fast food venues spend on advertising, promotion, management and process improvement must be carefully weighed against the value these activities bring into the business.
Strategies to improve business profitability can broadly be divided into two main categories – (1) ways to increase sales/income or (2) ways to reduce expenditure. So, while it may seem that the most obvious way to make improvements to a business is by boosting sales figures, are there other possibly better methods for a hospitality venue to become more profitable?
One particularly important means of improving the ‘bottom-line’ of any business is that of enhancing efficiency. This doesn’t necessarily mean having an austere, penny-pinching approach to management. Rather, long-term success has a better chance of coming from a focus on analysing your operation and introducing mechanisms that improve productivity.
Here are 3 key ways that enhancing efficiency can help you improve your hospitality venue:
1. Save Time
It was American author, scientist, inventor and politician, Benjamin Franklin, who once famously wrote: “Time is money”. And any business owner who pays staff wages each week would attest to the truth of that adage. Even those who work for themselves understand the direct correlation between time and earning potential. So it should come as no surprise that the first port of call when analysing efficiency is looking at how to save time. Streamlining processes, utilising tools and equipment to automate tasks and removing unnecessary duplication of work all add up to saved time… and therefore save money!
2. Reduce Errors
Staff errors can be costly. Realistically speaking, sometimes they are unavoidable – after all, accidents do happen. But some mistakes can be prevented with improved procedures or better equipment. For instance, poor in-house communication can lead to customer orders being incorrectly taken or not communicated accurately to the kitchen or barista – so the order needs to be remade. Or a lack of automation at the point of sale could lead to staff undercharging customers or not including all of the ‘extras’ that were ordered. Were these errors to start happening regularly, the lost revenue begins to add up and can have a tangible impact on your ‘bottom line’. Conversely, assessing your operation to find ‘weak points’ can help reduce mistakes and, in turn, boost profits.
3. Improve Customer Service
The more time you save and the less mistakes you make also lead to another noticeable benefit to your venue – you can increase your focus on your customers. It is hard enough to get customers through your front door the first time, so making sure that their experience is relaxed and pleasant and that the food or drinks that they ordered were delivered correctly and in a timely fashion goes a long way to ensuring that they will consider returning. Each small interaction provides an opportunity to build a connection that can lead to ‘customer loyalty’ – so the more efficient your operation, the more chances you get to focus on this extremely important facet of your business.
So make the time to ‘take a step back’ and evaluate the efficiency of your business. You may be pleasantly surprised at how making small improvements to how you operate improves the success and longevity of your café!
This article was originally submitted as Uniwell4POS content for the Cafe Culture website.