As hospitality businesses in England have emerged from months of restrictions and those in Scotland continue to adapt to existing regulations to ensure they can offer their guests the best experience, it might be a good time for businesses to take stock and see if their front of house systems still meet current and future needs.
Depending on the services your company offers within the hospitality industry there will be specific considerations to make, however, there are a few general considerations.
The first is around effective use. Is your current front of house system supporting your staff in a way that they can effectively do their job or can you identify constraints to the process? In addition to the existing internal processes, are there things you would like to change in the future, and could this be supported by changes in the processes or systems you operate?
Whilst recognising revenue in an effective way is important, the process of taking payment needs an efficient system that includes integrated card payments to streamline the payment process, reduce manual errors and ensure open tabs are closed timely.
HMRC has become more focussed on ensuring there is a “digital link” between various systems, this means your till system(s), Property Management System, and accounting system must all be connected in a way that the transfer between systems can be made electronically, without manual intervention. Copying and pasting is not a valid digital link and from a VAT audit perspective, it is important this process can be fully automated from point of sale to VAT return submission.
There might be more exciting reasons to have integrated and up to date systems, with the correct set up you can convert the wealth of data into useful metrics to assist decision making.
If you operate a bar or restaurant, in addition to covers and spend per guest, if your system has been set up to provide data around which meals or drinks are consumed this can help to calculate your stock levels, so you know what should be ordered, and where unwanted loss or waste has occurred. You can plan for double or triple occupancy if you have an insight into average table turnover and manage your staff in a way that you can schedule more flexible.
For hospitality revolving around memberships, like a gym or golf, an effective front of house system allows you to see who is and isn’t making use of their membership. This can assist you in a targeted approach to combat attrition. For an upmarket membership, you could consider the impact on your members' spending habits if they can seamlessly charge things to their account, just make sure you have a direct debit mandate in place.
In the case of hospitality that offers overnight accommodation like hotels or holiday parks, which can have several revenue-generating outlets, the benefits of integration can drive the overall process forward. In addition to the system integration, you can think about an integrated take-away, room service, or delivery functionality on your website, that sends the orders directly to the bar or kitchen, adds charges to the guest bill and prevents revenue leakage to local competitors.
Your business’s peak season might be right around the corner, but if you want to plan for improvement during the quiet season, now might be the time to consider what your requirements are. Systems, software, and technology should help your business in decision making, as well as simplify operational processing.
Accounting software such as Xero is a powerful tool when compared to the accounting software systems of yesteryear, but its add-ons and integrations provide a user-friendly (and often free-to-use) platform to help transform a business by freeing it from the shackles of endless paperwork and admin.