Measure your business performance in one easy step…


We are all curious about our business performance compared to the “Industry Norm” as it enables us to evaluate against a known benchmark.  However,  it is often difficult to find up-to-date and accurately researched figures or indeed, find a source for any figures published.


It was with a great whoop of delight therefore that I read an article reporting on a relatively recent survey from 2015, taken from some 3,000 Food & Beverage outlets in the UK.

Encouragingly, it seems that turnovers are increasing slightly with food-led bar and restaurant businesses reporting an average total of £18,000 in weekly sales in 2015, which represented a 2.7% rise on 2014, when it totalled £17,600.

The average food mix was up to 77.2% (vs drinks sales), from 76.2% from the previous year.

Overall, F&B businesses report that their Gross Margins are typically between 76% – 78%. Labour Costs for Food led Businesses average around 28.8% as a percentage of turnover (up 0.5% on 2014) although Pubs with higher wet sales and lower labour costs averaged a labour cost of around 26.7% as a percentage of turnover (up 0.5% on 2014).

Based on the same 3,000 F&B outlets, the average hourly pay in 2015 was shown to be £6.75, an increase of 2.2% on 2014. Figures for 2016 will likely rise as a result of the introduction in April 2016 of the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour for people aged 25 years and over.

Interestingly, the average length of service recorded was just 392 days (employee turnover of 93%), repeating a similar pattern of previous years. The retention records were 210 days’ average service (worst) against the best rate of only 631 days (best).

A direct correlation was noticed between companies proactively seeking to engage/retain their teams, and those which do not, which reinforces the argument for a strong staff development programme.

It seems that all companies suffer from a high staff absence/illness rate with the average work days lost for these businesses was 16.8 days per month – slightly less than in 2014.

Using the above figures, we can compare our own business’ performance and gauge where we need to make adjustments to our business practice.

SOURCE:  The Caterer 14/7/15 (article written by Neil Gerrard based on a presentation by Mike Shipley, analytics & insight solutions director at Fourth Analytics, during a bars and restaurants forum held in July 2015 by Fourth, BDO and Barclays bank.  Statistics compiled from research carried out by Fourth Analytics which studied data collected from 3,000 F&B outlets around the UK in 2015.)

The North Coast Road Trip & beyond…

They might come 500 miles
But will they come 500 more?
Give a great welcome they’ll not forget
And beat a track back to your door

Make the North Coast Road Trip work for you!

Four key tips to make them dream about the time they spent with you…
  1. Train your staff
  2. Retain your staff
  3. Wow your customers
  4. Engage with your customers

Repeat business is the key! Did you know that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one?

Ensuring that you deliver excellent service will make the difference between your business surviving and thriving.

Let’s go into a little more detail:-


  1. Train your Staff
    In order to provide the best customer service, your team must necessarily be educated in mandatory skills such as Food & Hygiene and Manual Handling but the winning combination comes from giving them the knowledge to properly represent your business and inspiring them to promote it.

Create a clear induction system and training programme. Get the basics right at the beginning of your employee’s journey and then use these building blocks to create the team you need. Give your team the skills to deal with every situation effectively and efficiently.

NorthStar Consultancy can help you deliver and administer affordable, time efficient training, including the inspirational WorldHost Principles of Customer Service programme.


  1. Retain your Staff!
    Quality training also helps with staff retention by allowing your team members feel empowered and valued.  However, the key to keeping your staff is to engage them!  They need to experience what your customers experience! Share the detail behind your menus, your business aims, vision and give them regular news updates.

Share your enthusiasm for your business by coaching your team with new skills, passing on knowledge and encouraging them to share feedback and ideas!

Experience the Customer Experience
Nurture knowledge with news updates
Generate passion by sampling and tasting
Aims and vision are shared
Give generously by passing on knowledge & skills
Encourage team members to have a voice

Ensure your Contracts and Job Descriptions are up-to-date, clear and representative of the job your team members are carrying out. A simple appraisal system works really well and needn’t be time consuming or onerous.

Want a helping hand?
NorthStar Consultancy can help you keep it simple and effective


  1. Wow your customers
    How do we WOW? Its simple really – just think of an occasion when another business impressed you and made you feel deliriously happy and take it from there! Always go above and beyond the call of duty!

Here’s how to WOW in 10 easy steps:-

  1. The “First Date” counts
    To win over new customers, it’s essential to “click” immediately- get it right first time!
  1. Be genuine – be present – pay attention – above all, LISTEN
  1. Lose the “NO” word
    If you can’t fulfill your customer’s need, suggest an alternative or another business who can
  1. Respond quickly
    Answer phones within 3 rings & return calls, reply to emails within 2 hours
  1. Deal with situations as they arise & make them triumphs!
    Turn the situation around and really pull out all the stops. Offer more than the customer may expect. Just go that extra mile!
  1. Acknowledge every customer as they enter
    A friendly “hello” is best, but if you’re serving a customer, then a smile or eye contact is the next best!
  1. Treat non-paying customers the same as paying customers
    This could be someone asking for directions, a public servant, a tradesman, a salesperson or family of a team member.  They are all potential customers after all!
  1. Be proactive
    Double guess what your customer may want/need and suggest it before they ask. This is especially important with elderly or disabled customers, nursing mothers and families.
  1. Add personality
    Be yourself! Be friendly and charming! Ask the customer about themselves.
  1. Do something unexpected
    It doesn’t have to be a big gesture – just a little thing to make someone feel special. It could be birthday card, a little note, some flowers, a cupcake!  You can guarantee they’ll tell their friends and what’s more, you’ll feel great too!

NorthStar Consultancy can coach your team to deliver WoW Customer service and is licensed to deliver the WorldHost “Principles of Customer Service” programme.


  1. Engage your customers
    After that “First Date” it’s essential to keep reminding your customers what a wonderful time they had at your business, and give them reasons to come again!In these tech-y times, reaching out to your customers is easy and effective.Create engaging content on your social media streams, post daily but mix it up by sharing interesting posts, using powerful pictures, asking questions, making statements  –  lots of little snippets to whet their appetite!Encourage your customers to complete an exit survey,  either a paper handout or a card with an on-line link. Don’t be above bribery – offer free entry into a prize draw for an appealing but inexpensive prize such as coffee and cakes for two – creating a list of recipients for your monthly newsletters!Create an event and advertise it through your business – customers love a special occasion and will share with friends. The photos shared through Social Media will be enough to keep your customers engaged for weeks to come!

Need help designing an exit survey or planning an event?
Need basic training in Social Media?

Get in touch with NorthStar Consultancy  today

– make them dream about being back with you…