Lack of technology keeping margins low for UK cafes, Casio report shows

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Not enough hospitality business owners are embracing technology in order to expand and run their business more efficiently, according to a new report from Casio.

Only 15% of managers are currently monitoring the progress of their business digitally and are in turn missing opportunities to review sales data and drive up an average spend of just £5, Casio claims.

Although respondents reported feeling confident about their business’s future in the hospitality sector the methods used for business management appeared to be lacking. Nearly two thirds (63%) declared that they still view their sales via print out, a tangible yet manual and time-consuming technique that is at risk of human error.

‘The feedback we received was that of positive growth, however there are certain draws backs that will hinder the rate of expansion for many business owners’ Guy Boxall, senior product marketing manager at Casio.

The new study, which questioned 200 business owners in the hospitality sector, helped illustrate a confident view of the near future. 70% feel they will expand their business locally in the next three years whilst 67% plan to employ more staff.

But the question remains of how owners will maintain sufficient management of their businesses and achieve this growth if technology is not deployed.

The first port of call, says the report, is to address and update basic management techniques.

Wake up and smell the coffee

“Keeping accurate accounts in the first few years has become even more critical, and our accountant is thrilled with the lack of anomalies and seamless transaction records since we started managing this data from our till point.” Alese Butter, owner of ButterBean coffee shop.

Key report findings

The average reported spend in cafes was a mere £5 suggesting that transaction rate is high yet product offering is low. Stock management is basic yet vital to profitability and is something that needs to be tracked and monitored on a monthly basis.

Till receipts are a thing of the past – 63% of owners still monitor and forecast business from till receipts which is proven time consuming and less insightful leaving more chance to miss business opportunities moving forward.

Social media is free, use it – 41% of owners are not using Facebook with 48% also not using Twitter. Social media has shown time and again to be a simple tool to directly interact with a customer base albeit small or large.

Nearly half (44%) of respondents think a more informative EPoS system, incorporating marketing, stock and staff rota information, would help grow their business, while the use of online payment tools would give the ability to cut-down customer waiting times. In addition, 64% stated that an increase in marketing activity and ‘knowing the customer better’ would help increase sales.

Boxall explained how new product offerings can provide these opportunities: “A modern EPoS system allows small business owners to forecast the future of their business by understanding in detail what is selling, and how their customers are behaving. By incorporating the cloud, managers can even monitor these trends remotely and set up promotions or customer communications in real time.”