A café bar and restaurant situated in a prime location – adjacent to a top UK entertainment venue – was losing an estimated £50K per annum due to operational inefficiencies.
The café had recently launched a new Grab & Go concept following a renovation project of £400K. The subsequent revenue figures, however, were not returning the renovation costs nor covering the continued annual losses they were making. The Venners Consultancy team were called in to reduce operational costs, increase income, develop the customer base and drive footfall loyalty.
Without a holistic understanding of the operation, the complexity of the problems could have been wide-ranging. Analysis was therefore required across the entire café’s operation, investigating everything from menu to product range, service style, speed of service, day to day management, staffing levels and staff training. To do so they decided to begin with a covert surveillance procedure (Observational Audit) and the concluded the project by running a series of exercises to test service standards.
It quickly became clear that the newly introduced concept did not have the buy-in it required from customers. This was partly because of a lack of knowledge amongst staff on how to adjust to the new concept and run it smoothly. The operation was messy as a result of a poor service layout and unclear procedures. This in turn meant that customers were getting confused, hindering their experience and discouraging further purchases.
Basic processes to achieve higher margins were also entirely neglected. Meals were made from memory, recipe costings were not completed and portion control was poor. The lack of procedures also applied to compliance standards, including food safety and health & safety, which, if not addressed, could result in devastating consequences.
Our consultants set in place a set of practical next steps to address the wider issues. This encompassed menu planning (6-weekly rotational menu plans and profitable menu costing); advice to management to communicate more and build better rapport with valuable staff members; and new layouts and procedures to support the strategic food offering and service provided. The review report advised cafe management to focus on higher margin offerings and to cut staffing during off-peak and lower revenue times which all together would save the cafe thousands of pounds each year!