By Duncan Colvin, Venners Consultant
Hotels, bars and restaurants can use a discovery visit as a type of business health-check
Achieving a true picture of a business’ operation is typically a precursor to delving into the concerns our customers approach us about. Similar to a doctor seeing a patient, whose purpose is to find the cause of a problem, a doctor will always take into consideration a full medical history and ask a specific combination of questions regarding the patient’s symptoms, before drawing his/her conclusions.
A discovery visit by Venners Consulting does exactly that. It’s a business operations health-check, a starting point for our consultants to establish a true picture of the way a business runs when the boss isn’t in. A discovery visit is essentially about following the two major profit influencers, stock and money, right across a business’ operation. Using this approach our consultants can then identify weaknesses in control, potential opportunities for theft and customer experience issues that can significantly influence the profits of a business.
Why operators approach us for discovery visits
Often business owners are aware that the service quality or levels of control in their venues are below the expected standard. What they struggle with, however, is obtaining the real behind-the-scenes information, which investigates and exposes exactly what their staff get up to and what their customers experience on a daily basis. Formulating an appropriate plan of action therefore becomes quite an impossible task.
This problem is not exclusive to one type of operation either. Our consultants have undertaken discovery visits for a wide range of businesses, making assessments at numerous venues, both those with catering at the centre of their business, as well as others like museums, theatres and sports venues. What they all have in common though is that they are run by experts in their respective fields. Unfortunately, due to their myriad other responsibilities and subjective involvement in the operation, these experts are often unable to assess the true efficiency of the operation. That’s the point where they approach our consultants for help with improving their operation.
What does a discovery visit entail?
A discovery visit by way of covert investigation will assess the success of an entire operation. Our consultants will analyse everything from their welcome at a hotel’s reception, to the standard of rooms, to the meals served in a pub and even the ambience and layout of a site. A session at the bar is also often undertaken: observing staff till use and recording sales over a few hours before checking them against till records. All the findings are then reported in the discovery visit review, listing recommendations which become the building blocks used to effect change and introduce necessary controls.
The actual findings of these discovery visits have on many occasion been quite a shock to operators and recommendations can introduce huge loss savings and profit increases.
Our consultants understand the business controls that are required and more importantly, have the experience to help effect the changes and improvements needed in your business. Supported by a nationwide stocktaking team, compliance auditors and health and safety assessors, there aren’t many issues that they cannot address. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation with one of our consultants.