Hospitality businesses are complex organisations, with multiple procedures and processes that can easily become inefficient if not addressed. As a business owner, you will be aware of how difficult it can be to keep all the plates spinning and still make a profit. Make things a little easier with these 5 tips for improving efficiency in your hospitality business:
1. Save on Utility Use
Making changes to how your business uses its utilities can introduce efficiency improvements, and multiple small changes can soon add up to bigger cost savings.
Research from the Carbon Trust suggests that heating can account for up to 60% of energy use in a hospitality environment, so it makes sense to target this area when looking to be more energy-efficient. Set any thermostats to the recommended temperature range of 18-21 °C for maximum comfort and efficiency. If you have zoning within your business, you can save further by turning off the heating in unused areas.
If you are also running air conditioning units make sure there is a few degrees difference between when the heating shuts down and aircon starts up. This ensures that you aren’t running both systems at the same time.
The next biggest use of electricity in a hospitality setting is lighting. The easiest change you can make is to switch from fluorescent bulbs to their LED counterparts. LED bulbs are more energy efficient and can provide a brighter light.
If you offer accommodation and have a bit more budget, occupancy linked controls – such as those that activate when a guest uses their key card – ensures that lights are switched off in unused areas.
After electricity, water is the largest utility cost for businesses in this sector, as it is used in so many areas from cleaning and food preparation to bathrooms and laundry.
Regular maintenance of white goods will help your machines be more energy efficient, lessen water leakages and mean a reduced chance of breakdowns – costing you less in the long run.
If you do laundry in-house, wash at full capacity as much as possible and take advantage of non-peak hours energy price reduction.
Landscaped areas, while making your premises look nice, do require a lot of water. Consider switching sprinklers to drip systems and rain sensors.
2. Reduce Waste
Food waste costs the hospitality sector £2.5 billion a year according to research from WRAP, so improvements to efficiency here can be invaluable. A menu that requires fewer items to be kept in stock will reduce the chance of spoilage and special dishes are a good way of using up soon-to-expire items. Reconsider buying in bulk as this may not be a cost saving if some of the stock goes unused. To reduce plate waste, keep portion sizes smaller – offering a top up for hungrier customers – and package up un-eaten food for the customer to take home. For more tips, WRAP offer a 4 step guide for reducing food waste.
Keep landfill waste to a minimum by recycling as much as possible and making clearly-labelled recycling points available around your premises. Consider switching individually packaged toiletries to on-the-wall dispensers.
If you are replacing equipment, consider offering it to charities who can sell it or use the parts.
3. Increase Staff Productivity
Another large cost in the hospitality industry is staffing costs, especially since the introduction of the National Living Wage. To increase productivity without impacting service, turn to time-saving changes that will allow your team to get the most out of their working hours.
Food and hygiene safety checks, although vital, can be time consuming. Have a documented process for staff to follow and consider the use of handheld devices to digitally record readings instead of writing up handwritten notes later. If the budget is available, employ digital sensors to take recordings such as fridge temperatures automatically.
Training should also be a focus, ensuring your team members know exactly what is expected of them, particularly in difficult or unfamiliar situations – with the right processes in place and the right training, your staff will be able to accurately and quickly react.
4. Act on Customer Feedback
Sometimes you can be too close to an issue to notice efficiency savings, so it makes sense to ask your customers for their thoughts. By collecting and reviewing customer feedback you can notice trends that will not only make your processes more efficient but will also improve the customer experience.
Make sure to look into the root cause of a customer’s feedback – not just the symptoms they may be describing. An issue that was noticed in one area of your business, may actually be caused by another area impacting on it.
5. Use a Management System
A Management System is a great way to improve efficiency within an organisation as it standardises operations allowing for smoother processes and ways of working. The importance placed on the continual improvement of the Management System means complex or inefficient processes are improved over time.
By implementing a Management System, you will be putting processes that ensure each customer receives the same quality of service in every interaction with your business. You will also have the tools you need to consistently meet customer needs, helping you to save money, drive up business and increase profits.
There are a wide range of ISO Standards available, but ISO 9001 – Quality Management is particularly useful when looking to improve efficiency, as it supports staff training and customer focus, as well as encouraging the documentation of existing processes and best-practice. The ISO 14001 – Environmental Management is also useful as it will allow you to put in place waste-reducing processes – simultaneously benefiting your business and the environment around it.