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Is hospitality in for a roaring summer success or will the sector feel the heat?

Is hospitality in for a roaring summer success or will the sector feel the heat?
Written by

Abbie Dawson

Published

August 19, 2022

Category

Latest research

Workin’ 9 to 5 - Heatwaves, staffing struggles, and fans watching the Lionesses in their local.

As the Lionesses famous Euros win fades from memory (although I’m not sure Chloe Kelly’s title winner ever will) and as the August heatwave swelters on, we’ve got a heap of hot-off-the-press hospitality news to share.

England’s Lionesses registered a historic win over Germany in the UEFA Women’s Euros, in a final where pubs were predicted to sell 10 million pints1 and fans were set to spend more than £138 million on food and drink2. At a time where costs continue to rise and consumer cash gets pinched, the win offered a flash of hope for pubs and bars across the country.

According to the latest CGA by Nielsen IQ Drinks Recovery Tracker, average drinks sales in pubs, bars and restaurants were up 4% on Sunday (24 July) and 20% on Tuesday (26 July), compared with the same week in 20193.

Clearly, for football fans, there’s still no better place to celebrate than the local boozer. And with the FIFA World Cup kicking off in November, let’s hope England and Wales fans have something to pour pints about (in celebration or commiseration) to boost trade for pubs once again.

If you’re in the UK, you might have noticed that it’s been a tad toasty lately. Recent hot weather has brought boosts and difficulties for drinks sales in pubs and bars. Average drinks sales were 1% either side of pre-Covid levels on both Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July as temperatures crept up across Britain. By Monday 18 July they shot 9% ahead of the same day in 2019, as punters made the most of the sun and headed in droves to beer gardens and terraces. However, sales fell back 12% on Tuesday 19 July as temperatures hit record levels and many opted to stay home. Interestingly, cider sales rocketed 55% on Monday 18 July, with more consumers opting for a more refreshing tipple4.

It’s not just record-high temperatures hospitality is having to cope with, job vacancies in the sector remain at record-high too. There were 173,000 vacancies recorded between May and July 2022, dipping slightly below the figure of 174,000 recorded from April to June. Despite a perhaps promising trend, vacancies have risen 34% compared with last year5.

Front of house and cleaning staff positions have proven particularly difficult to fill, with some restaurateurs taking to social media to ask for tips to attract job applications, with word of mouth cropping up as a more effective method than traditional job application platforms. A nationwide workforce strategy has been put in place by UK Hospitality to try and incentivise choosing a career in hospitality, emphasising that it isn’t only a part-time occupation for young people6.

McDonalds has, in fact, kicked off a recruitment drive targeted at over 50s amid their ongoing staffing struggles7.

But there is some positive action coming from more creative approaches being taken to tackle recruitment issues. St Austell Brewery, which owns over 170 pubs, hotels and inns, is offering super flexible shifts with no minimum weekly hours. It’s a ‘work when you want’ shift pattern which they hope will broaden the pool of applicants8.

Meanwhile, BrewDog has actually seen a 75% increase in job applications as it delivers the first ‘blueprint’ profit share bonuses to staff. Co-founder, James Watt, has given 3.7 million shares in the company to be distributed evenly to their 750 salaried staff. In addition, each bar will share 50% of its profits with staff9. Talk about setting the bar higher for hospitality staff!

Not all pubs, bars and restaurants will be ready to take an approach like Brewdog, but our friends at KAM Media may have uncovered a simpler way to keep staff happy and attract new staff. In a recent report on “Non-Cash Tipping in Hospitality”10, they found that 84% of staff worry they are not getting their fair share of ‘non-cash’ tips. 2 in 3 consumers don’t understand where their non-cash tips go, yet 92% feel sharing them amongst the staff working that day is the ‘fair’ way to share non-cash tips.

In fact, 1 in 2 customers would be more likely to visit a venue if they knew ‘non-cash’ tips were being shared fairly. 

The report states:

“If a venue could demonstrate that they operated a ‘fair’ tip-sharing policy amongst its staff that it can be a key driver of incremental footfall and subsequent revenue to that business as well as putting more money in the pay packets of the hard-working staff at the forefront.”

With 92% of staff believing there needs to be more transparency in their business as to how these non-cash tips are shared amongst employees and 86% saying the tips they receive are important to their overall work satisfaction, considering how your business handles non-cash tips could be key to staff retention and getting more punters through the door.

MUSIC FOR SHOTS, FOR SHORTS, FOR SHAKEN AND STIRRED, FOR LINGERING LONGER AND ORDERING SOMETHING STRONGER.

You can’t control the weather (or English football results) but you can control creating a great pub and bar experience.

Yes, music is important, but it takes more than just music. We call it Music+.

For us at Startle, it is something customers tell friends about. Like a pub quiz played entirely through your phone and based on identifying songs you hear as you drink and chat with friends. It elevates a brand to distinction, with the atmosphere of all sites harmonising in unison. Ultimately it improves your bottom line.

Tell me more, tell me more - What does a great pub experience look like?

Imagine an atmosphere that’s built to run itself, optimising the music and lighting to make sure the experience is always at it’s best and keeps the tills ringing. Couple that with incredible music mixes that are integrated seamlessly with your atmosphere and we’re suddenly talking about the bar of the future which we’re already building.

Walk this way, talk this way…

You have to walk the walk if you talk the talk, so here’s Will Barratt of Wine Inns on how we helped transform their brand’s customer experience:

“Startle's music+ service is exceptional. Their playlists are fantastic and I can control all of our venues from my smartphone. The service is backed up by Startle's Relentless Support™ team who are always on hand to answer any question or fix any issue immediately.”

Why not download for free (and with very little effort) our hospitality brochure? There is one for pubs and restaurants, as well as hotels and cafes.

And if you think we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on +44 (0)203 397 7676 or drop us an email at hello@startlemusic.com.

Is hospitality in for a roaring summer success or will the sector feel the heat?

Abbie Dawson

Marketing Executive at Startle. It's my job to manage marketing, making sure to spread the word of Startle to as many brands as possible. When I'm not working, you'll find me vinyl shopping to add to my collection or working out at the gym (usually making enemies with a punching bag).

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Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe?

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