Developing your business in the midst of a cost of living crisis

Cost of living crisis

The current cost of living crisis, which has been fuelled by inflation, higher tax rates, and increased fuel & energy costs is putting a lot of pressure on the industry and individuals alike. Our sector will need to be at its most resilient and, whilst there will be casualties, it’s hoped that most businesses will come through the other side . 

The crisis is affecting everyone differently, and although the general feeling in the industry is that customers are fearing the crisis more than they are feeling it for now, this is still leading to a shift in their behaviour. There is strong evidence that consumers are  planning more by checking reviews, visiting websites, and following social media pages.  

Among the main concerns in the industry are those stemming from supply chain increases, the cost of borrowing,  labour shortages, and energy bills. It may be possible to ease these pressures by taking advantage of support available, for example, from LSG Purchasing.

Cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis will have an effect on staff members

It’s evident that the increase in living expenses will have an effect, in one way or another, on everyone. As business owners, we are impacted in at least three ways: our own personal lives, the lives of our customers, and the lives of our team. 

Operating a business which is service based means that it is vital to start by looking after  the team. Employees are the backbone of the whole operation, and without them there would be no business at all.  

Here are a few ways to assist staff members, ensure staff retention, and create a happier and more efficient working environment:

  • Reviewing the reward strategy

If possible, offer a cost-of-living bonus to help offset the rising cost of living. If guidance and advice are needed for this aspect, consider PS4payroll  from S4 Labour which offers an accurate and time saving payroll and reward service.

  • Reviewing financial wellbeing policies

Whether it’s in the form of financial or mental wellbeing, employers have a responsibility to offer advice on where and how to get the necessary assistance. Croner, an LSG Partner, offers an Employee Assistance Programme, and guidance on how to receive this much needed support. 

  • Reviewing a benefits package

Does the benefits package offered work hard enough for those most affected? Is the team even aware of any benefits and ways to access this support?

  • Manager training 

Managers should understand the need for cost-of-living crisis support, and should be able to assist and guide employees through these tough times. Training is always an integral part of any business. Flow Learning, an LSG Partner, offers a range of innovative, engaging modules designed to inspire learning in the hospitality industry. 

Presenting your business online

Since the pandemic, and now with the pressure of higher costs of living, consumer behaviour continues apace to shift online. This makes it vital for businesses to be well presented, with an up to date social media presence, an engaging website, and an easy-to-use and functional ordering and booking process.

Think of websites and social media platforms as places to present brands and businesses  to audiences that are already showing interest in the products and services being offered. When customers visit these online channels they are looking for something specific, and are very possibly keen to visit the restaurant, pub or venue.

Having a website that offers a good user experience, and gives the audience what they are looking for, is an opportunity to ‘close the deal’. Provide easy access to menus and the range of drinks on offer. Ensure that booking a table is easy to do, and placing a takeaway order is as simple as ordering at the bar. 

Social media platforms are a great way to communicate with customers, and showcase an establishment with imagery and videos, specials, specific events, and updated menus.

Cost of living crisis

Come up with a plan

Unless something drastic happens, the effects of the cost of living crisis won’t be going away any time soon. It’s clear that customer behaviour is changing, and that the crisis will impact different people in different ways. This means that hospitality businesses need to adapt and improvise where possible. 

Businesses will need to come up with a plan to keep moving forward. Analysing the functionalities of the business and looking at how changes can be made to improve the service offering, the products provided, and the working environment, should lead to better staff retention, increased footfall, and a better customer experience. 

LSG Purchasing can help

LSG Purchasing has relationships with a range of top quality suppliers in the hospitality sector, covering food and beverage, cleaning, labour, consumables, tech, equipment and more. LSG Members have access to 100’s of deals that could help ease the pinch of the labour shortage, and mitigate some of the impact of the increases in the  cost of goods and services.

As part of the plan it may be necessary to review food and drink suppliers for costs, quality and service. LSG Purchasing works with: Brakes, Bidfood, Mathew Clark, Philip Dennis Food Service, Sysco Specialty Group, all of which offer LSG Members exclusive deals.

Reviewing operational processes may save on labour costs, and  speed up food delivery. RH Hall, an LSG Supplier, is a well-respected and highly regarded foodservice equipment solutions supplier in the UK. 

Ordering and payment solutions have come a long way, and with a payment solution like Mr Yum, customers can now take control of how ordering and payments are completed. Businesses will also benefit from a more streamlined and easier to manage payment and ordering process. 

The economic landscape is ever changing, as are the trends in the hospitality industry. This means that a plan created last year may not be as relevant today. The key is to review these ideas regularly and take advantage of special offers, promotions and deals. 

Now is  exactly the right time to make some changes, and that’s where LSG Purchasing can help