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 experts 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 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 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.”
- 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.
The Six Tenets of Agile Hospitality report shares the inside secrets to business growth of maverick hospitality leaders through interviews with operators highlighting good practice.
David Lockwood, managing partner and MD, Neals Yard Dairy, says: “We can only make the company and cheese better if people know what’s going on financially. When people know what is expected, then they understand what’s going on around them, and they can make good choices. And I believe, maybe naively, that most people can and do make good choices when presented with the right information. I’m not afraid to share the numbers.”
Tom Barton, a co-founder of Honest Burger, says:
“We went really deep into what we want Honest to stand for. And it was almost like a Ground Zero Moment for the business where you started again. We’ve decided that it’s better for us as a business if we give our guys more responsibility. But we need to give them the resource to be great. We have to give them a framework of resources to make the right decisions.”
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.”
Matt Scaife, a partner with Causeway Capital, owner of coffee and cake specialist Bakers + Baristas, a Bizimply customer, says: “For employers, it’s more important than ever not simply to tell employees you understand their needs but to demonstrate it.
“An effective workforce management system like the Bizimply system we use at Bakers + Baristas allows us to manage labour more flexibly. It has clear advantages for the business, as well as advantages for team members who are increasingly looking for more flexible working arrangements and a better work-life balance.”
The Six Tenets of Agile Hospitality report shares the inside secrets to business growth and survival of hospitality maverick leaders such as:
- Nisha Katona, Founder and CEO of Mowgli
- Tom Barton, co-founder of Honest Burger
- Ari Weinzeig Co-Founder and CEO of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
- Monika Linton Founder and CEO of Brindisa
Bizimply’s software is designed to help hospitality businesses reduce time spent on staff rosters and payroll and free up front-line staff, particularly GMs. They can then spend less time on admin and more time front of house, coaching staff members, interacting with customers and delivering a memorable experience that leads to happy, returning guests and motivated teams. Bizimply estimates GMs can spend up to six hours a week compared to creating a staff rota using Excel or similar. Equipping them with the right software to produce rotas and payroll quickly gives this time back. One operator using Bizimply software is now creating rotas for 60 team members, across five sites, in just one hour a week.