Operators “Struggling to Build Teams to Drive Growth”

Emerging from lockdowns, hospitality operators are still missing out on a critical opportunity to address the sector’s staffing crisis, a new study shows.

With the backdrop of global economic challenges, operators who underinvest in people and technology face an existential threat, according to the industry survey conducted by Hospitality Mavericks, in partnership with workforce management specialist Bizimply.

The report The Six Tenets of Agile Hospitality – 6 Tenets Every Leader Needs to Survive and Thrive in the New Era of Hospitality, builds on a study undertaken a year ago in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.

Twelve months on, the reality of a reduced hospitality workforce and high demand for the most skilled employees, combined with a global economic downturn, low consumer confidence, and raging inflation, starkly highlights the challenges operators face.

This white paper reports on a survey of senior operators and leaders representing hundreds of outlets employing thousands of staff in the UK, Europe, and the USA. Respondents came from across the hospitality sector, from fine dining and hotels to pubs and bars, coffee shops and fast-food outlets. The report is available from the Bizimply website. Click here to download.

Key findings include:
● 84.3% of operators are facing a recruitment and retention challenge, saying they are struggling to build a team with the right capabilities to drive growth now and in the near future.
● Just 33% of operators have implemented a clear people strategy in their organisation. While an improvement on the 28% in the 2021 survey, still leaves two-thirds of operators without a formal and documented people strategy.
● Only 40% of respondents feel they’ve invested enough in tech, compared to 55% last year. This indicates that, at least, more operators recognise the need to increase the pace of technological advances in the sector.
● Even more respondents, 83.4 %, recognise that improving operational complexity using digital tools is the area with the biggest potential to improve performance.

Michael Tingsager from Hospitality Mavericks said:
“In our report last year, we presented the concept of an Agile hospitality business – those who were successfully navigating the COVID storm, unlearning and relearning, quickly adapting their overall strategy to meet the challenges of the new business landscape. We found they are not only surviving. They are maintaining and enhancing their competitive edge through unwavering focus and counterintuitive investments in people and technology.

“This year, we’ve identified the Six Tenets of Agile Hospitality used by maverick leaders in the industry who are building resilient, agile companies that deliver profits, growth and lasting success – whilst making a positive difference to all stakeholders.”

The Six Tenets of Agile Hospitality
● Clarity of Purpose and Direction
● Graceful Growth
● The Pursuit of Mastery
● Radical Transparency
● A Stake in the Outcome
● Freedom to Operate

Bizimply CEO Conor Shaw said:
“Sadly, what’s clear is that too many hospitality operators are still working with a ‘top-down’ approach to people management. Even before the pandemic, that was looking unfit for purpose. With the economic headwinds the industry now faces, many of those businesses that are failing to invest may not be around much longer.

“Investment in the right technology empowers hospitality staff at the front line, making all the difference to customer service.”

Intuitive technology that frees up front-line staff to have the autonomy to deliver great customer service, rather than hampering their efforts, is the key to retaining the customer service edge in the new, ultra-competitive market, the report finds.

Shaw added: “Businesses we work with understand that the right technology, implemented correctly, helps organisations to become more human – and in hospitality, great customer experiences are delivered by humans.”