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Infographic: Dining Out Vs Eating In Across The UK


Thanks to Appetize for this great infographic.


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What does 2014 hold for the hospitality industry?

Hospitality Trends

In 2014 consumers will start to find themselves with more disposable income so what are going to be the big trends this year?

Fast casual and casual dining options are set to be popular as more consumers are opting for value for money as well as flexible dining options. With meals costing between £5 – £20 per head this option is proving very popular with the majority of consumers.  

Whilst 2013 saw a massive increase in the popularity of burgers, in 2014 we are increasingly going to see chicken on the menu. The drop in price of poultry will make it a particularly attractive option for restaurateurs, whilst prices for beef and cheddar will remain high.

Pubs may be finding it difficult at the beginning of 2014 with consumers cutting back in January. Despite this we will continue to see pubs benefitting from the craft beer trend – the sector grew by 79% in 2013 and there are high hopes for the sector this year.

We will also see a continued demand for high quality coffee and consumers will be looking to pair coffee with a meal instead of alcohol. See our article on why pubs should be placing greater emphasis on soft drinks as well as coffee.

In a world where consumers are constantly on the move, technology will also be playing an important role in the hospitality industry this year. Pre-ordering apps and mobile phone payments are set to be popular this year.

To see the full article on what we can expect in 2014 for the hospitality see:

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Paper Money – Do you use it?

paper moneyDo you tend to use your card or cash more when making payments? It seems that an increasing number of us are turning our backs on cash and preferring to pay with a card when we visit our local high street retailer. According to the British Retail Consortium, cash payments made up £28.93 in every £100 spent at retailers in 2012 which was down from the previous years spend of £32.

KPMG have also predicted that the majority of people will not be using cash by 2020 as cash payments fall away year on year. This is somewhat ironic as in today’s busy world; card payments actually take longer than cash payments (on average 9 seconds longer). However, cash payments are under threat due to the rise in contactless and mobile payments and over half of manned tills in retail stores will soon be able accept contactless payments.  According to research from PayPal, almost half of Londoners would prefer to leave their wallet at home rather than their smartphone.

What does this mean for high street retailers? How do you feel about this change in payment methods? Are you planning on adapting your POS systems to accommodate contactless payment? Let us know your thoughts.


The benefits of the Cloud to Retail Franchises

cloud benefits

The cloud is a delivery model in which software and the associated data are hosted centrally on the internet. An increasing number of retail franchises are making the move to the cloud but why? What are the benefits?

There are numerous benefits to retail franchises in using the cloud. These include:

  1. It’s accessible anytime, anywhere. As it’s an online system, retail franchises can access the system at anytime via a mobile phone, tablet or laptop.
  2. There is no need for hardware as the cloud is online.  This means that hardware costs will be zero.
  3. It’s scalable. New users can easily be added to the system and it can be scaled up or down according to the franchises needs.
  4. Updates. The franchisee and franchisor will always have access to the latest version of the system as all updated are carried out by the host server.

The cloud can be used in many ways including customer relationship management (CRM), Back of Office (BOS), inventory or stock management as well as accounting.

Doing accounting in the cloud can be very beneficial to retail franchises and here’s why:

  1. Gives access to real time data. Accounting in the cloud means that the franchisor or franchisee can access financial information immediately which is really helpful in the managing of both the network and the retail store.
  2. Manage risk. Having a full set of financial reports online means that franchisors can have an overview of the financial standing of stores within the network. This means that franchisors can easily identify if any franchisees are struggling and put measures in place to help them.
  3. Drive Performance. It allows for extensive reports to be available to head office including historical/budget/actual variance reports. This means that the franchisor can have a better view of the business and therefore drive it forward.
  4. Comparative. Using one system in the cloud means that comparative reporting can take place; this can then be used for benchmarking within the franchise.


Are you using the cloud for accounting? What would you say the benefits are?

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What’s to be Learned From the Case of Jamie Oliver and 30,000 Missing Napkins?

Jamie Oliver's napkins

Upon discovering that Jamie Oliver loses 30,000 napkins a month to petty-theft, I could not help but feel slightly disappointed. Did no one, for example, have the imagination to pinch all occurrences of the letter ‘S’ from his menus? Or perhaps his well-thumbed edition of ‘The Little Book of Right Pukka Mockney Vocabulary… Guvnor’? It was also dispiriting to learn that someone who strives to model himself on a cross between the Artful Dodger and Pete Beale should so willingly turn grass and start squealing.

Jamie, mistakenly, put this spate of kleptomania down to the recession, but it is nothing new. Back when business was booming and everyone had their pockets stuffed with enough £50 notes not to bother with the napkins, Quaglino’s found their ashtrays proved just as popular amongst London’s light-fingered diners. They estimated to have lost more than 25,000 of the Terence Conran-designed ashtrays which went on to acquire cult status among foodies and aesthetes alike. At the time Quaglino’s turned this misfortune into a PR opportunity, launching an ashtray amnesty in the Evening Standard offering a free glass of bubbly for every ashtray returned. Incidentally few made their way home.

It really isn’t that uncommon. Who can honestly say that, after one too many, they haven’t wandered home with a pint glass, slipped the salt shaker in the pocket of an unsuspecting friend, or disconnected a toilet and worn it home as a hat? Anyone? No, me neither.

It is just one of many behind the scenes costs restaurants incur to which the majority of customers are completely oblivious. We have all felt that pang of outrage when, perusing the wine list you notice a bottle you saw in the supermarket a week earlier at less than half the price. But it’s easy to forget that restaurateurs have to pay for a waiter to recommend and pour the wine, the table you’re sitting at to drink it and the glass you sip it from. In a fortnight’s time that very same glass will wander off in a handbag in the name of hen party high-jinx.

A successful restaurateur has to consider a vast number of differentials and somehow, turn it all into a profit. Factoring in the changing price of ingredients, kitchen equipment wear-and-tear, special offers, staff and the rent on a high-profile location requires careful consideration. If like, Jamie Oliver, you operate restaurants up and down the country and have a number of best-selling cookery books, then you can probably afford to lose the occasional napkin. What’s more the bigger boys normally have complex back-end systems in place that can take on board variables in price and react accordingly. Through the advent of cloud computing, these systems are becoming more widely available throughout the sector and it’s not before time.

Unless smaller restaurants can maintain control of these myriad costs, while simultaneously fending off grasping revellers, hell-bent on relieving them of anything they can fit in their pockets, bags or feasibly pass off as a hat, then they will struggle to stay in business. The demise of small independent restaurants would be a considerable loss and, I believe, the final nail in the High Street’s coffin.

Steven Hope, Co-founder and Director of etc hospitality