Mike Elliff, CEO at Tyl by NatWest, discusses how SMEs in the hospitality industry can benefit from the extended opening hours over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend
The UK hospitality industry had to face its fair share of challenges during the pandemic – empty high streets, forced closures and reduced income, to name just a few. Which is why the news of the extended opening hours for bars, clubs and restaurants for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend will be welcomed across the industry.
We recently surveyed a sample of pubs, clubs and bars, to see how spending changes over UK bank holidays. Our findings revealed a huge spike in spending, as tills were bursting with an additional 26% spent across the most recent four-day weekend compared to the previous four weekends.
As we approach another four-day weekend, it’s essential to prepare for, and manage, this rise in demand – allowing you to take full advantage of the spur in spending and increase your sales and revenue.
How can business owners take advantage of the surge in spending?
1. Adopt card and contactless payments
The pandemic spurred a radical shift in the way consumers pay for products and services. Contactless payments increased by 12 per cent in 2020, accounting for more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all payments, jumping from just 7 per cent in 2016 (UK Finance).
Our own research found that almost half (43 per cent) of consumers wouldn’t go back to a micro business if they didn’t accept card payments. Customers now expect businesses to accept card and contactless payments. Those businesses that don’t accept these forms of payment will be missing out on sales and repeat customers.
2. Manage stock and staff using data insight
Using a payment provider such as Tyl by NatWest puts you in the best possible position to analyse your business performance, using insight on inventory and sales to help drive growth and also forecast/manage the peaks and troughs of business.
Through this data, your business can track peak sale times – helping you to manage staffing and in turn reduce cost per employee. You can also use these insights and data to predict future sales, allowing you to match your inventory to customer demands depending on the day or the time of year.
By digitalising business operations, as opposed to manual data entry, you can improve your business operations and management, increasing efficiency and accuracy and reducing costs.
3. Reduce time-pressures
Faster transactions benefit both business and customer.
Not only does it allow your business to serve customers faster, it also enhances your customer experience through shorter queues and wait times.
Having fixed prices for entry fees or items on a menu can help cafés, bars and restaurants speed up transactions, removing the need to enter amounts manually for each transaction. For cafés, having order numbers for take away collections is also particularly important for better efficiency, ensuring all customers receive the correct order in a timely manner.
And delivering a high quality of customer service despite the increased demand is essential for capturing repeat customers and sales for future bank holidays.
4. Increase your visibility to potential customers
Communicating with your customers is vital. Ensure your customers know your opening hours, products, menus and any bank holiday deals so that your business is top of mind when consumers are thinking of places to go to.
By advertising online as well as in person, you can enhance your visibility to potential customers who might be travelling to you for the bank holiday, as well as your local community.
Doing this will allow you to build a community of loyal customers around you. And loyal customers drive sales over bank holidays, as customers trust your business to deliver high quality products or a high-quality service.
Ahead of this bank holiday, make sure you update your google listings and ensure the opening hours are updated to reflect your extended hours.
Seizing the golden opportunity
This bank holiday weekend should hopefully be a time for celebration. First and foremost, celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. But, for those SMEs willing to do the above and grab hold of the opportunity, a chance to celebrate a weekend filled with repeat customers and higher sales.
The key is preparation. By using the insights from previous data to predict future sales, peak times, and inventory requirements, business owners can take full advantage of the extended opening hours and ensure they are equipped to handle the increased demand whilst maintaining the standard of customer service they wish to deliver.