Mark Holden FBII - Director of Inn Cornwall, highlights good practice and the small steps that can add up to big wins when it comes to executing sustainability in his pub businesses.
TRANSPARENCY ON FINANCES
“We run our payroll weekly. It’s labour intensive and comes with a cost but by doing it we create a profit and loss account every single week for all our managers and team members. They can see how their site is operating. It means if changes need to be made we’re not waiting a month for it to happen. We have a very clear view of what needs to happen. Off the back of that we have incentive schemes for our leadership teams. They are all rewarded against the net profitability and performance of each business each week. If someone has been doing particularly well and smashed it out of the park on a Sunday, the reward is processed on Monday and not forgotten about. It adds another level of motivation.”
REAL TIME AWARENESS
“We try to make sure our financial records are up to the trading speed of the business. We provide our kitchens with a sales purchase margin tracker. We input all of the food invoices, as they come in during the week, and it gives our chefs a cumulative figure to compare against sales during that period. If they’re heading into a busy weekend and they have received a report that shows -£2,000 of stock, it gives them a kick up the backside to check stock levels. When levels are looking high, it gives them a prod to think about slowing down purchasing and using up some stock. We’re not reliant on our external stocktaker coming in every six week or two months. We have that as an additional check, but we’ll know pretty much what that’s going to look like by tracking on a weekly basis.”
“I’m in a mentor programme, through Be The Business, getting help from a senior leader in BAE Systems. It’s a fantastic programme that’s free to subscribe to. He has no experience in hospitality or the pub trade but it’s all about communication, leadership and management of people, and having the headspace to deep-dive into problem solving in our business. We meet up once a fortnight over Zoom and talk about the business progress and it helps to ensure that you’re actioning things and tackling issues inside the business. We’ve done a lot around structuring of meetings, being more direct with our managers, and making sure communication drip-feeds all the way down – small improvements that overall have a really big impact. It keeps you on your toes.”
CLOUD AND CLEAR
“We’ve gone a lot more cloud-based with our technology. It means we’re able to work more on the go and can share information from our till systems between our sites. It’s created an added level of competitiveness between our pubs and managers, but has also added a level of celebration. If one site does particularly well, they’ll be messaging each other to say ‘well done’. It motivates people and leads to much more collaborative learning and problem solving. A little bit of competition is healthy, if it’s managed well.”
"All our cellars now have the Carlsberg Quality Dispense Systems. That has cut energy use and wastage, provided a more consistent product and the yield is a lot more stable. Our pouring yield on draught is 103%. We’ve also used the iDraught app alongside that to input our sales data and monitor yields. That has made us a lot leaner.”
"We pivoted last year and created a delivery brand called Pub Grub and we were lucky to be lent some electric vehicles by two local companies who had less use for them. We built on that and now have our own electric car fleet and we’ve installed charging points at venues for our vehicles and those of guests. We’ve just finished a 44-panel solar installation at one of our sites with the help of St Austell Brewery as part of a long-term investment project – and we renewed our electricity contract in July to switch to power from green sources. We are paying more for that but it was a moral decision and is assisting us to move closer to net zero. We don’t use brokers for energy contracts. We go direct to the big six and play them off against each other to try to bring down the unit price as much as possible. Monitoring energy use is key, having access to data and sharing that with team members.”
"We’re doing a lot around career paths in hospitality. We’ve maxed out on our apprenticeship funding, with 12 apprentices signed up across Levels 2-4 in management. Hopefully, by 2023, we’ll be working with our education providers to have a Level 5, which will be a foundation degree in hospitality. The idea is to have lots of really good talent and for people to have careers inside the business. We’ve got kickstarters, traineeships, work experience projects and apprenticeships.”
This article originally appeared in the print version of BII News Winter 2022, published in January. BII Members can access this online here.
Steve Alton, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping commented “Today’s announcement by the Chancellor does not address the vulnerability of our members’ pubs in every community. The energy price guarantee, whilst welcome, will see most pubs at least doubling their energy costs from last year in addition to the inflationary pressures on their costs of doing business.
“We are hopeful that a number of his measures will support consumer confidence and maintain demand at this now critical period of trading. His recognition of too many barriers to enterprise must now also translate into radically reduced regulation allowing our members to trade fully and freely alongside delivering a significant reduction in the ongoing disproportionately high business rates that our members pay.
“We will continue to engage and make the case to Government for our members as they conduct their review into vulnerable sectors with the Prime Minister having previously referenced our local pubs. Simply without further support many pubs will fail.”