Mr Yum’s Table Talk events bring the best of the hospitality industry together to discuss current issues and arm business owners with plans for the future. Keep on reading to discover the insights that could help your business grow.
Daniel Davies - Having founded CPL in 1994 and sat on boards such as Institute of Licensing and UKHospitality, Dan is a heavyweight in the hospitality industry and brings with him a wealth of knowledge.
Louise Kemp - Having launched some of the UK’s biggest restaurant and bar brands, Louise knows what it takes to make a splash and build brands that customers love. She shares why storytelling matters, how to make the most of a marketing budget and why creating content is king.
Daniel Gillbanks - Since opening Liverpool’s much-loved PINS Social Club in 2020, Daniel has been at the forefront of the “competitive socialising” wave taking the UK by storm. He shares his insights into crafting experiences that bring customers back and why creating own-brand events is essential for today’s venues.
The state of hospitality
Louise works with a lot of hospitality brands, so has seen the challenges they face first-hand. Here is what she is seeing in the current landscape.
“We found with the 2008 crash, people were less likely to dine out casually and more likely to dine out for that feel-good factor.”
“At causal venues, we’re having to work a lot harder to get customers in. And the more premiere venues it’s a weekend treat. We’ve also noticed a trend in small to medium operators closing early week. So closed during quiet hours on Monday, Tuesday just to not heat the venue as often or not staff it as much,” she said.
“We’re having to work harder for that customer.”
Take time to regroup
Daniel Davies has been in the business for a long time and recalls learnings from the 2008 economic downturn. Here’s what he had to say.
“In a downturn or in a time where you have got more time to think, rather than laying people off, retrain them, refocus. So, we will come out the other side of this, there will be more failures. But if you can use the opportunity to retrain your staff, and refocus your team, you’re going to be out the blocks a lot faster than anyone else.”
“Use the opportunity to actually think about your business. Often when you're busy and right in the middle of it, you don't get thinking time to take a step back and say, ‘Actually what is our offer? Is it good enough? Who are our customers?’ You know, try and get that sort of insight and things like that. So when we do start to see things picking up, you’re ready to act on it and maximise potential,” he said.
Focus on experience
Daniel Gillbanks spoke about refocusing efforts and how to balance incentives with experience.
“Focusing on discounting sometimes creates that element of devaluing a proposition,” he said.
“It's a treat, it’s an experience, and they actually value the level of quality of the food. So improvement in that side of things, what the décor of the venues looks like and focusing on that rather than constantly getting an extra number of visits. The data suggests that you can actually make more money with less visits compared to guests coming in because they're treating it as a treat and having a much better experience as a result.”
The value of data
Louise spoke about the value of data and how it can help venues grow through smarter marketing initiatives.
“We come across quite a few operators who don’t understand the value of data. We spend a lot of time educating them to show operators how to monetise that database and not just lasing out on any flyer because they need to once a month. But actually thinking about what people want to hear about,” she said.
“One of our clients has done a whole campaign based on the cost of living crisis. They know their customer base is mostly students and young adults… they package it up to speak to that database. For us, the focus has always been and always will be data and monetising that database.”
Invest in marketing
Daniel Gillbanks spoke about how his company is investing in marketing during the downturn to better understand its customers.
“We never had that infrastructure in place previously to go ‘We've got that marketing promotion out there and an idea on social or a campaign – is it tapping into what guests actually want?’ Demand for things is constantly changing.”
“We've just hired somebody to come in and effectively be head of marketing and sales and get those things in order because knowing what customers want and foreseeing what customers are going to want in the future is really important,” he said
Remember the hospitality
Daniel Davies spoke about times when it’s beneficial to step back from tech and data and use intuition as an operator.
“I think technology is dead important, and data – knowing who your customers are. But on the other hand, you also have a set of eyes and ears. I think we are in the hospitality trade. You can’t, I don’t believe, manage a business remotely. You need to be in front of house and talking to people. There has to be a combination,” he said.
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Table Talk Auckland.
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Table Talk Brisbane.
Table Talk Melbourne.
Table Talk Sydney.
Table Talk Adelaide.