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Benchmarking for pubs and restaurants has finally arrived

Effective end-metric benchmarking is always a valuable tool, probably more so in times of economic downturn. There are some caveats with it, care needs to be taken that information does not mislead rather than enlighten; it is not a substitute for careful thinking.

You're a restaurant, bar or pub. You're a single site or small multiple operator. How do you measure success? Is it simply that you're breaking even or have had some good press? Do you send your manager around to do price checks with competitors? Do you appear busier than other venues in your area when you walk around once or twice a week?

In reality, that's all just guesswork. In these challenging times, it's dangerous guesswork. However, you're not alone. Most operators rely on the same kind of guessing game because that's all they have. There's no easy way to see if you're truly performing better or worse than your competitors are. Responsible operators want to know how much return they're getting on their lease costs and how well their staff are performing in comparison to other sites. Are you really getting as much gross profit yield as you should when balanced against comparable restaurants, pubs and bars?

The UK restaurant and pub industry is ten times bigger than the hotel trade. Yet hotels have dozens of ways with which they accurately benchmark themselves against each other and have done for decades. Hotel managers from budget bed and breakfasts to five-star deluxe hotels receive reports on their desktop every morning that show exactly how they've performed the previous day against their local market. They can even benchmark themselves against similar style hotels across the city or even the entire country. They are measured on things such as footfall, number of guests, achieved revenues, food and beverage sales, brand comparisons, takings per metre?, etc. The amount of almost real time data available to every level of the hotel trade is staggering. Yet restaurants and pubs, being a much bigger industry, have had nothing like this ... until now.

After almost two years of planning and development, totalbenchmarking.com has now created a daily benchmarking service that is available to the UK pub and restaurant industry.

The service allows restaurant and pub operators (whether an individual site or large group) to compare such things as:

  • Total revenue
  • Revenue per metre?
  • Revenue per cover and transaction
  • Labour cost
  • Purchase cost
  • Brand sales
  • Lease and rent cost
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Gross profit.

CEO of totalbenchmarking.com Michael Kirk says, 'It's an incredibly powerful yet very easy to use "real-time" online tool allowing users to benchmark their business against its market-place on a daily basis. It even interfaces to all of the leading world-wide EPOS and accounting systems. Our clients are some of the largest groups in the country as well as individual freehold sites, leasehold tenants and small multiples.

'As with other benchmarking products, clients can choose to compare themselves against their immediate area, the whole city or even similar sites that are miles away.

'Operators have been wishing for this kind of service for years, and now we're giving it to them. Operators can use it to focus on profit performance or they may use it for coaching their managers and staff on that performance. Some use it to support lease and supplier negotiations. Others simply use it for peace of mind that they are doing the right thing. It's so cost effective that it doesn't even cause a blip in a site's P&L. The one common denominator is that it helps in every business we serve. It's proven, simple and secure. We provide hard facts ... no more guesswork, and it's all in real time.'

Tourism and Hospitality Group News, July 2009