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Slow January? 5 best practice tips for a healthy hospitality business

After the madness of Christmas and New Year subsides, the start of the year can often feel lacklustre for landlords, bar owners, restaurateurs and their staff. What January lacks in excitement, it makes up for in opportunity.

Make use of this period of slow footfall to focus on tasks that generally fall by the wayside during busier times of the year. Getting ahead will ensure you feel the benefits all year round.

Deep Clean, freshen up

Slow January? 5 best practice tips for a healthy hospitality business

If your premises is looking a bit tired and could benefit from some TLC now is the perfect time. You never get a second chance at a first impression and small changes can make a real difference to the feel and appeal of your business. It could be as simple as a lick of paint on the skirting boards or giving the bathrooms some real attention.

If the furnishings and decor are worn, why not refresh or replace? New pictures, cushions or lighting features can be an inexpensive way to add a splash of colour, giving a new lease of life to dull corners. Tatty menus and posters should be replaced. Don’t forget the exterior as this is the first thing your customers will see. Make sure your entry, garden and car park, if you have them, are free of litter and weeds.

Don’t neglect the places your customers can’t see. Food hygiene should always be a priority and that starts with a clean kitchen. Canopies and walk-in fridges harbour germs so get your kitchen staff to pay these close attention to these areas during slow periods.

Review suppliers, make savings

Slow January? 5 best practice tips for a healthy hospitality business

If you have the chance why not see if you can make some savings. Food costs keep rising so it’s likely many suppliers will be passing these costs on. Check their prices and review who are the most competitive. These costs add up over the year and can eat into your profit margin.

Consumer demand for fresh and local produce is increasing. Working with regional suppliers is a good way to support local businesses like yours, bolstering the local economy. It also reduces the miles food has to travel which is a great selling point for the environmentally conscious, whilst allowing you to add fresh seasonal ingredients to your menu.

Although price is important, you should never forfeit quality for cost. Customers like to feel they're getting value for money and if you don't meet their expectations, they simply won’t come back.

Train staff

Slow January? 5 best practice tips for a healthy hospitality business

Staff training can often take a back seat but it is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to reduce staff turnover and increase customer spend per head. Train your staff to identify upsell opportunities, such as spirits doubles, side dishes and hot drinks. When this becomes second nature it can dramatically increase spend per head. Increasing the stakes with an upsell competition is an effective way to boost employee engagement, simply check your EPOS reporting features at the end of the night.

How did your employees handle the pressure of Christmas? Have you spotted your next superstar supervisor or amazing manager? Upskilling staff is a fantastic way to build loyalty in your workforce and allows you to effectively delegate, meaning you to get on with other business-critical tasks.

Refocus your marketing

Slow January? 5 best practice tips for a healthy hospitality business

Marketing is a means of advertising your products and services to your prospective customers, but 49% of small businesses aren’t confident they’re efforts are having any effect. Social media marketing is a free way to access large audiences, but it can be time-consuming. Using free scheduling tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite allows you to diary posts across multiple platforms at any time of your choice.

Email marketing is also an effective way to encourage customers back in the new year. Try building your email lists in-house, on your website and on social media. MailChimp is an email marketing tool which allows you to create professional and branded campaigns with a view to boosting footfall. Special offers, discounts and newsletters are all ways to tempt customers back.

Invest in tech

Slow January? 5 best practice tips for a healthy hospitality business

Last month, Real Business reported 31% of businesses admit to being slow to adopt technological innovations with 15% of those businesses citing lack of time as the cause. This makes January a prime opportunity to research and invest in technology with a view to improving your business all year round.

Implementing an insightful EPOS system into your business is a perfect example of how technology can improve all aspects of your business from accounting to streamlining the customer experiences. Relying on pen and paper, spreadsheets and praying your competition is willing to do the same will not protect profitability in the long run.

A cloud-based EPOS is a versatile and scalable way to introduce tech which will grow with your business. Epos Now systems can be customised to meet your specific needs by simply downloading apps from AppStore. Integrated payments, accounting, staffing, inventory management, marketing, loyalty and mobile working are just some of the ways we can help your business be better.

If you’d like to learn more about how an Epos Now system could benefit your business get in touch. Our specialist EPOS consultant can help you identify your core requirements and work with you to build a system which will see you thrive and grow. Check out our award-winning AppStore to see some of our industry-leading partners.


Erin Heenan

Erin joined Epos Now in 2016 as an in-house content writer for the marketing department, making use of 10 years experience working in busy restaurants. An avid fan of shopping and eating out, she is committed to helping retail and hospitality SMEs get the most out of their businesses.

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