Our Head of Operations/industry reporter, Neil Shayle, made an interesting observation when he went for a mid-week dinner in Romford a few weeks ago.
Whilst going out for dinner on a Thursday evening, he noted that of the several typically mainstream branded restaurants to choose from, not one of them had any availability for walk-ins past 7pm. In fact, they all had queues of people going around the block with waits of 30 minutes and up, with plenty of diners being turned away. Bearing in mind that this was mid-month, and nowhere near the conventional end-of-month payday, on a cold night in a typical town on the outskirts of the M25. Not to mention on a ‘school night’ and the restaurants were absolutely chockfull.
In the meantime, the newspapers are printing tomorrow’s headlines, which involves the CEO of a well-known restaurant chain (Jamie’s Italian) announcing the closure of multiple sites (which seems to have become a bit of a recurrence over the previous few months!). The general theme to the article was clear – complacency has crept into the organisation. Complacency has a causal effect on preventing brands from reinventing (and innovating) themselves to keep up with the ferocious levels of competition and the ongoing changes to customer’s demands. In doing so, this leads to lacklustre demand (although it seems not on Romford high street on a Thursday) and a loss of many high skilled tradespeople to competitors. This has caused companies to have mass closures, to mitigate having more severe repercussions further down the line.
A couple of weeks later, this is followed up with another announcement from Prezzo, who are to close 100 of their sites including all ChimiChanga sites, reducing their offering by a third as they look to restructure their finances. Neil says, “This is a common and worrying theme which is very reminiscent of the times we saw, and still see today, with high street retailers.” He refers to the likes of the closure of Woolworths in January 2009, which resulted in the loss of 27,000 jobs, sending shock waves through that industry. Then to more current examples, like Toys r Us filing for administration. Neil notes that there “is fear the restaurant groups are treading the same path and will be facing their own ‘Storm Emma’ in the coming months without implementing radical changes.”
The importance of live data feeds
Neil goes on to mention, “From my own experience, there is clearly an insatiable demand, but the competition is so fierce you have to keep ahead of the game and innovate. Saving on costs and therefore increasing your margins is one key element to look at with any strategy and the use of slick, accurate and live data that feeds seamlessly to other technologies enables businesses to make clear educated decisions that make a real difference to a company’s growth.” If you would like to discuss this further with Neil or any of the team, please get in touch.