Retail Accounting

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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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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

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Retail is Detail

ProfitIt’s a phrase that is perceived to be obvious, however under used. Certainly within the hospitality industry, having and interpreting the performance numbers of your business could be the difference between success and failure.

There are many challenges faced in this difficult trading climate, however those demonstrating success are those making clear and timely actions based on the statistics their accounts and stock takes present.

Increased profitability comes from dissecting the results and understanding both how they were concluded, but more importantly what can be done to positively influence them on-going. In most cases, the answer lies with physical actions, conducted firstly by the business leadership, and as importantly by engaging and developing the skill and knowledge of their teams.

 Successful and Proactive business leaders engage and influence a multitude of behaviours that continuously refine sales and profitability. The primary business focusses have to be those that organically influence year on year performance and exceed customer or guest experiences.

I am currently doing a series of liquor stock seminars within a major pub group. My aim is to clearly demonstrate that by investing in good accountancy, stock taking and business consultancy; you will in most cases more than recover the cost of investment and impact cash profitability significantly.

An average profit increase scenario was compiled with the delegates in each of the 6 seminars conducted so far. The average cash profit increase calculated, ranged from +£14,000 to +£31,000 per business. More incredible was that it is established through influencing the leadership and team behaviours, and without increasing footfall. Imagine the impact of increasing footfall as well!!

It’s amazing to see the pace of change and team buy in, where you can clearly demonstrate profit enhancement in cash value. Reward and recognition as a tool to influence positive profit focussed behaviour is really powerful.  I wonder how much has been lost by businesses where they removed such incentives in a bid to save what is first perceived to be a labour cost?

It’s clear and obvious, that those businesses having quality information, understanding the detail and positively motivating and engaging their teams, are not only winning loyalty and business from their competitors, but have a stable foundation to year on year profitability.

The benefit of getting into the detail therefore is obvious – and if you don’t have enough detail, or understand how to influence it, then it’s time to contact us and invest!!

Nick Chadwick.


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Park Garage Group Implements CounterBooks


Press Release

CounterBooks, a leading retail accounting management suite for forecourt, convenience, hospitality retail businesses, today announced that it is implementing CounterBooks across Park Garage Group’s (PGG) petrol station commission-operator network.

The commission-operators within the network will use the CounterBooks’ online general ledger accounting system to control their businesses.  The easy to use accounting system is hosted securely online and with petrol retail specific reports it quickly helps the commission-operator understand how their station is performing against plan. The commission-operator will also benefit from lower costs, save time and improve the accuracy of the data by integrating with the other forecourt systems.

The management team at Park Garage Group will use the CounterBooks’ online management information system which provides total transparency and control across their network. Whether it is an individual station, region or network, there are real time reports which allow the user to drill down to the underlying data, standardised reports, consolidated reports and full data analysis functionality to allow total financial control.

CounterBooks will provide accurate, comparative and real time information which allows informed decisions to be made by the management of Park Garage Group. This will allow Park Garage Group to drive performance and manage risk whilst continuing to innovate as a leading independent fuel and convenience store retailer.

Park Garage Group joins other petrol convenience store retailers such as Shell, BP and Esso all of which are satisfied users of CounterBooks.

Sunil Tandon, Managing Director, Park Garage Group said ‘Through our commission operators using CounterBooks, we are already seeing the tangible benefits. We have full transparency of the network at anytime from anywhere. This allows us to support our  operators while having control over business critical issues.”

Miles Harvey, Operations Director, Park Garage Group said ‘Over the past 6 months we have worked closely with the CounterBooks team who have been very supportive and helpful in implementing the changes.’

John Roberts, Managing Director, CounterBooks commented, ‘We were delighted when an excellent independent operator like Park Garage Group selected CounterBooks last year and have enjoyed working with Miles and his team on the implementation’.

To learn more about retail accounting please visit

About CounterBooks

CounterBooks was developed in 2001 – 2 and launched on 1st January 2003 as the world’s first on-line full ledger accounting system designed specifically for retailers. CounterBooks was originally developed as a Pro-Retail MS DOS system by a frustrated computer-programmer-turned-retailer who struggled with traditional accounting systems which were not developed for retail businesses. His aim was to provide an easy to use system suitable for a retailer with no accountancy experience while still providing full easily understandable data reporting.

For further information about CounterBooks, including case studies, images or interviews, please contact, Laura Shafer – Marketing Assistant:-

Telephone: +44 207 099 1050



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CounterBooks Announces Richard Kingston as IT Director

CounterBooksCounterBooks expands its leadership team as it establishes itself within convenience, hospitality and general retail markets.

From an idea in 2000 that the internet would transform the way businesses accessed their accounting systems, CounterBooks has developed from an MS DOS system used by single site petrol stations into an online accounting and management information system used by retail operations with thousands of outlets.  CounterBooks was historically focussed on the petrol station forecourt industry and clients today include many major oil companies across Europe. However over the past 12 months, CounterBooks has been selected as the online retail accounting management system for a range of retail businesses, including a large hair salon franchise and a convenience retailer, off-licence and post office group, which clearly demonstrates the value of CounterBooks to other retail businesses in the convenience, hospitality, and general retail markets.

Richard Kingston

Richard Kingston, IT Director, CounterBooks

This exciting expansion requires further system developments, which fall under the responsibility of recently appointed IT Director, Richard Kingston. Richard joined the team in 2003 and has seen CounterBooks grow and develop in functionality including retail systems integrations, data import processes and working with partners which include Wincor Nixdorf, The Retail Data Partnership, EPOS Freedom, IBM, VMware, Northdoor and Hansecom Informations Technologie amongst others.

“From my first role of helping overcome the technical obstacles that we faced on a daily basis as CounterBooks was rolled out to its first customers, to my current role of overseeing the ongoing development and expansion of our systems, working for CounterBooks has often been a challenge, but has always been hugely rewarding.  It is a pleasure to work with such a great team of people and I am really looking forward to the exciting opportunities that we expect the future to bring.”

“Over his 10 years with us Richard has made an enormous contribution to the development of CounterBooks and surrounding infrastructure and I am delighted to welcome him onto the Board. The next few years are going to be equally exciting and I am sure Richard will rise to whatever challenges are presented to him. ” John Roberts  Managing Director, CounterBooks.

CounterBooks delivers real benefits including, reduced costs, improved performance, and greater risk management. Congratulations to Richard for becoming director and developing CounterBooks for the 21st Century.

About CounterBooks

CounterBooks was developed in 2001 – 2 and launched on 1st January 2003 as the world’s first on-line full ledger accounting system designed specifically for retailers. CounterBooks was originally developed as a Pro-Retail MS DOS system by a frustrated computer-programmer-turned-retailer who struggled with traditional accounting systems which were not developed for retail businesses. His aim was to provide an easy to use system suitable for a retailer with no accountancy experience while still providing full easily understandable data reporting.

CounterBooks is the trading name for CV Retail Ltd.

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MICROS Integrates Torex Brand

Micros aquires TorexMICROS Systems, a leading provider of information technology solutions for retail, has announced that it has integrated the Torex brand into its business. The Torex name has been retired immediately.
Torex, a European market leader for store systems in Retail, Hospitality, Convenience and Fuel markets, was acquired by MICROS on June 1 2012. The acquisition supports MICROS’ strategy of expanding its position in the retail market beyond North America into the UK and Europe. MICROS also plans to leverage Torex’s substantial presence in the European convenience and fuel retail market. Clients of both companies are set to benefit from an expanded product portfolio of technology and joint expertise.
“This is a very exciting time for MICROS. Together we have a truly global offering, coupled with our extensive managed service capability. We have enviable complementary solutions and client base that are testament to our joint capabilities,” remarked Senior Vice President for Business Development Frank Ward.