Pioneers UK Limited
(Costa Coffee Franchise)
PIONEERS GETS AN EDGE IN THE CROWDED COFFEE SHOP MARKET
Pioneers UK is a Costa Coffee franchisee with 21 stores in the West Midlands and Birmingham. Costa Coffee is the leading brand here in the UK and its sales are increasing, but the competitive environment is much tougher than when Pioneers opened its first store in 2005.
“In one small town where we have a store there are no fewer than 20 brands,” says Chris Edwards, Accounts Manager, Pioneers UK, who is in charge of Finance and Operations.
This level of competition inevitably means reduced footfall in most stores, added to which the mood of economic uncertainty means people are spending less freely than was once the case.
Quality of customer service can make a big difference in this environment.
Pioneers employs approximately 180 staff, with a team of between four and ten individuals working in each store, including a manager.
The baristas are a mix of full-time and part-time employees, predominantly young people, often in their first jobs who would be between school and college.
There are more mature baristas, too, but with so many young workers, there is significant staff turnover.
Consequently, workplace management was extremely time-consuming and challenging so long as store managers and Pioneers headquarters were reliant on paper-based rostering, recording of attendance and calculation of wages.
Then in spring 2018 Pioneers’ Managing Director attended a Costa Franchise meeting, where Bizimply gave a presentation. Bizimply were then invited to meet the Pioneers management team.
“We instantly recognised that this was the solution to a lot of our problems,” says Chris.
Pioneers piloted Bizimply with a trial at three stores from June 2018. “It was a perfect fit, save for one or two issues, the main one being the fact that the Bizimply standard working week runs from Monday to Sunday, whereas ours runs from Friday to Thursday.
But then we were very impressed at how responsive Bizimply were in sorting out such issues,” says Chris.
Satisfied with the trial, Pioneers rolled out Bizimply to all the other stores in two waves in September 2018.
After nearly a year of workforce management with the solution, Chris says the investment has more than paid for itself.
“The up-front investment is significant because you need to install an iPad in each store. But the time-savings for store managers and at head office soon offset that investment.”
With the old manual processes, store managers spent hours every Friday going through time sheets and calculating wages. Now, with Bizimply, it takes just five minutes.
“That means the store managers can spend more time in the front of house looking after customers, managing staff and helping out, for example filling the displays with cakes and sandwiches. That’s good for customer relations and staff morale,” he says. It makes a big difference in stores that only have a handful of staff on duty at any one time.
There is a big efficiency gain at head office, too. Pioneers does its own payroll processing. “The time taken to do this weekly task has been cut from two and a half person-days to half a person-day,” Chris reports. This will be reduced further in future as Bizimply is working on an API that will enable direct input of data from Bizimply into the payroll system.
Apart from employee management, Chris points to other Bizimply features that are greatly appreciated. “There are no longer any problems with clocking in and clocking out. We used to have a system in some stores that scanned fingerprints, but it was unreliable. With Bizimply staff time, including breaks, is recorded accurately to the second.“
Both managers and employees love the questionnaire feature on the Timestation, managers can customise questions to ask their teams so they can measure employee satisfaction levels; “When clocking out, employees can indicate their satisfaction with their shift. We can follow this up and identify any problems such as understaffing during peak hours.”
At its core, Bizimply is a workforce management system, but it offers many other useful features for a company of Pioneers’ size. “We use it to measure KPIs such as sales per labour hour, which helps with budgeting, and as a next step we will use this to set targets,” says Chris.
“What’s great is that Bizimply see this as a partnership. They listen to our suggestions and, where feasible, implement them in subsequent upgrades.”
“In the battle between coffee brands to win hearts and minds on the high street, Bizimply is a major asset,” Chris concludes.
Do your business challenges sounds similar to this Costa Coffee franchise?
Spending too much time creating schedules, getting inaccurate time and attendance data and error prone payroll?