How Can I Forward Plan Marketing For My Business?

Well, I think it is safe to say we are all looking forward to the end of 2020! What a year it has been! It has been a tough year for a lot of people and businesses but this year has also brought us together; we clapped for the NHS, decorated our windows with rainbows and cheered for Captain Tom.

It’s time to get ready and forward plan for 2021!

Where do I start?

Look back on your marketing campaigns from the last 12 months. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t so you can learn from it. Ask questions, if something didn’t work, ask ‘why didn’t it work?’.

Next, it’s time to look forward and make a plan. I personally use an A4 day per page diary, this way I can make plenty of notes. Look at a calendar and see what events are happening throughout the year that you can use in marketing campaigns. This could be Valentine’s Day or St Patrick’s day for example. There are also so many weird and wonderful days that you can take advantage of, like Star Wars Day – May the 4th be with you and International Gin Day 😀

We have come up with a handy events calendar for you to help plan your year. You can find it here – Events Calendar

Go Digital

Due to the current pandemic, more and more people are staying in. If you haven’t already created social media accounts, now is the time to set one or two up. There are so many social media platforms to choose from; if you are unsure which one(s) to go for, have a look at your competition and see what they use.

If you are selling products, do not fill your page with products. People do not respond to buy buy buy, you will lose followers quickly. Limit selling posts to once a week. Get creative and encourage your followers to interact with you. Post a variety of media, have a mix of images, videos and animations to keep engagement up.

Video Calls

Video calling has become extremely popular with Zoom meetings, Microsoft Teams and Facebook Rooms. Many of us used these platforms to keep connected with friends and family over lockdown, but they have also opened the doors to working from home. The lack of flights and limit on travelling has meant that more businesses are using video calls to communicate between clients, customers and other colleagues around the world. You can market your brand by simply having a backdrop. Backdrops with your name and/or logo can help increase brand awareness plus it will give your business a more corporate and professional image. Using Pull-up banners printed with your logo is a great way of getting your brand known…plus they can hide what you don’t want people to see.

Your Shop or Stall

Whether you have a shop or stall, the future on when you are allowed to open is uncertain. We have just come out of lockdown number 2 and the country has been split into tiers. Shops are allowed to open in all tiers for the lead up to Christmas but this can all change. Create displays that can be left in situ, like a window display or something that can be put away quickly, such as a banner. If you sell fresh produce, it is best not to use it in your displays as it can spoil. Come up with creative ways of marketing your product. If you sell fruit and veg, why not use artificial food that can be left and will look just as fresh in a month or two or three. You could take photographs of your products and showcase them in eye-catching banners and posters. These can be used time and time again.

I hope this helps you plan for next year…what ever it brings 🙂

I will be back in the new year with a new blog, in the meantime, I hope you have a great Christmas and a happy new year!

How Can I Make My Displays Last?

This month I want to discuss the advantages of using artificial products in your displays and give you some ideas. Artificial products can create stunning, eye-catching displays that will attract and entice your customers.

Due to the pandemic, we do not know what will happen from this week to the next and with the new three tier system, businesses are at risk of being forced to close with only a few days notice. Your display needs to make your business stand out when you are open and remain looking fresh even when you are closed.

Why artificial and not fresh?

The range of artificial products is vast, from fruit and veg to fish and dairy products. They are so realistic it is hard to tell they are not the real thing!

Although you can create the same great-looking displays with fresh produce, over time they spoil. To replace the spoiled products costs time and money and now more than ever, businesses just like yours are trying to save money and decrease outgoings. Artificial displays can help you do just that! No spoiling, no waste, just long-lasting items which can be used time and time again.

But what about the smells?

As consumers, we are not just drawn in by what we see, what we smell can be just as important.

Have you ever noticed as you enter a supermarket, the scent of freshly baked bread or doughnuts, even when there is no bakery in the store? This is designed to make you feel hungry as you shop which will then get you to buy more. Smells given off by fresh produce can do the same thing but as they start to turn, the smells can have the opposite effect.

Artificial items are unscented, so why not hide scent sticks in your displays? Some scent sticks can last for over a month and with so many scents to choose from you are sure to find a smell to match your display.

What displays can I create?

The only limit is your imagination!

Think about what your selling and where your display is going to be. Is it going to be in a window, on a bar or on a table as a focal point? What time of year is it?

Let’s create displays that will attract customers which will in turn increase footfall and sales.

Here are some ideas I have come up with…

Autumnal Display

You will need:

Turn the wooden crates on their side, you can place one crate on top of the other to give height or have them side by side. Place some of the wood wool in the crates and then scatter so it looks as though some of the wool is emptying out. Place your mini pumpkins in the crates and on your base which may be a table, countertop or floor if a window display.

Add some optional extras. Add a free-standing chalkboard and add a message with Chalkpens in autumnal colours to advertise a product, promotion or event. Why not add some lights? You can drape a string of warm white fairy lights over the crates and weave in the wood wool. Or you can add battery operated tea lights and scatter them randomly throughout your display. If customers are going to be passing the display you can add a scent, find a warming spiced pumpkin scent stick.

Make it BIG! Instead of crates, why not use a 4 tier ladder display stand and create an amazing window display? Add the wood wool in each shelf and drape over the edges so it looks like the wool is cascading down the display unit. Scatter more pumpkins, you could also add other artificial fruit and veg such as red apples, figs and cherries or potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Add clothed manikins to the displays or homewares for the finishing touch.

Tropical Themed Bar Display

You will need:

A tropical theme makes me think of fruit cocktails! Cocktails are usually mixed with lots of fruit and served on ice. Let’s make a display to reflect this.

Take your display cubes, the 200mm size or 250mm if you have space. You will need one cube for the lemons, another for mangos and a third for oranges. Fill the base with the ice cubes and then fill the rest with the fruit You can scatter more ice to help fill any gaps in the cube. Space out the cubes on the back of your bar or on a shelf and then in between each cube place a pineapple and scatter some more ice.

Add some optional extras, weave a string LED lights in the cubes and around the pineapples. The light will shine through the ice cubes and create an eye-catching feature. Tell your customers your cocktail menu, or let them know you have an offer on with an acrylic cocktail chalkboard and write your message using coloured chalk pens that glow under UV lighting!

Make it BIG! Stacking is bang on-trend right now so why not stack the acrylic display cubes. Starting with the biggest cube at the bottom and the smaller sizes stacked on top.

Organic Produce Display

You will need:

First, lay the hessian across your display area. Make sure the material is not completely flat, gather the material in areas to create a rustic look. Take your display crate and place it at an angle. You can cut some of the hessian to line the crate, if you do this, let some of the material fall over the edges. Full your crate with the cabbages, the spring onions, some of the carrots and potatoes. Make your crate look like it’s abundant with produce. Scatter some of the potatoes, as if they have fallen out of the crate…because it is so full. Place about 3 carrots in a bunch and lay them in front of the crate. Take your chalkboard easel and place it next to your crate. You can write your message with your pens and your done 🙂

Add some extras! If you have a large display area you can add more crates, you could even add some baskets to fill with veg. If you use brown paper bags, you can fill them with artificial mushrooms and place them in or in front of your crate. Add more vegetables, add artificial cauliflowers, loose garlic bulbs, red and green bell peppers.

Make it BIG! Do you have a large window or floor space for your display? If you do, create your display on top of a Flat Top Display cart! Add hessian sacks to your display, full them with a lightweight material to make them look full and display your veg at the mouth of the bag to give the illusion of a full veg sack.

These displays will last throughout the pandemic and beyond. You can mix and match each design to suit your vision, and use them time and time again. These displays will not only attract customers and increase sales, they will save you money in the long run!

I do hope these ideas have inspired you to create displays using artificial products, your imagination truly is the limit 🙂

Which Pavement Sign is Right for my Business?

Pavement signs are one of the most popular and possibly even one of the oldest forms of outside advertising. The purpose of a Pavement Sign is to attract customers and boost sales. They can help increase brand awareness, promote special offers and events, advise of upcoming changes and warn of any dangers.

Pavement signs can also be known as A-boards, A-frames, sandwich boards and kerb signs, all available in a wide range of materials, styles and sizes, with most being foldable so they can easily be stored when not in use and usually double-sided, enabling your message to have full visibility from all angles.

There are many forms of pavement signs, how can you decide which one is right for you? Hopefully, the answers and advice below will help 🙂

How much is your budget? Prices can differ greatly depending on your requirements. For example, a very basic snap frame a-board that can display a poster in a sheltered location is only around £40, compared to a solid wooden a-board that is branded, has the dual functionality of a poster holder and a chalkboard and can be positioned in a relatively windy location will be around £400.

Will you need it to be branded with your business name or logo? If you are choosing to use your pavement sign as a temporary sign you may be displaying posters that are changed regularly and as such may have your business name on the poster, on the other hand, you may want an opulent look for your business signage and prefer for your a-board to be professionally written and to be in keeping with your brand.

Is it going to be a temporary sign and display a poster, have a hand-written message on it or will it be used as a permanent sign? The use of your pavement sign is very important. How do you intend to portray your message to your customers? What is your message? Is it a permanent message e.g. Car Park 200m Right or is it a temporary message e.g. Quiz Night this Friday? The changeability of your message should determine whether you need a chalkboard surface like our chunky wooden a-board, a poster holder or a printed permanent message.

What material would you like your pavement sign to be made from? The first thing to think about is what will suit your business image? Do you have a modern or contemporary business? Do you run a fish and chip shop or a ladies boutique? Maybe a swinger sign is appropriate for The Golden Fry but for Amelia’s Accessories, our painted wooden a-board would be more suited. There is a vast range to choose from including wood, steel and aluminium.

What size do you need? This may sound like a simple question however it is a very important one. If you are positioning your pavement sign by the side of a road to catch the eye of a motorist then you will need a generously sized sign, like our Defender Forecourt Sign to ensure your message can be read, on the other hand, if your business is positioned in a high street you may be governed by the size of the pavement width and council restrictions, it is always best to double-check with your local council before purchasing.

Hopefully, the above guidance will help you choose the right pavement sign for your business, however, if you would like a little more help please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01353 665141, we are always happy to pass on our expertise and knowledge.

How Do I Make My Signs Stand Out?

Due to the pandemic, we are displaying more signs than ever before!

Your signs could be displaying social distancing regulations to reassure your customers they are safe visiting your business. They could also be special offers you may have or Menus to draw consumers out and back to your establishment. Whatever you are displaying, it needs to stand out…but for the right reasons!

What is your message and who is your audience?

Before we make your sign stand out, we need to know what message would you like to put across. Is it a menu? Are you advertising an event? Or do you have important information that needs to be displayed?

You then need to decide who your message is aimed at. For example, this could be an age range or it could be an industry. This will affect how you create our artwork.

If your message is aimed at children, make it colourful. Use images as well as text. If you are a school, some of your younger children may not be able to read yet so images will help get your message across.

Are your customers whizzing past? I don’t know about you; but when I am in the supermarket, my aim is to get in and out as quickly as possible, so a notice with a huge essay would not catch my eye at all. A short and to the point message would have more impact, such as ‘Please use Hand Sanitiser Before Entering’ with a symbol.

How are you going to display your sign?

So we know the message, who it is for and have the artwork, next we need to think about how we are going to display the sign and what environment the sign will be used and displayed in. If you are mounting your sign outside, it will need to be printed on a material which is suitable for external use, whereas you can use paper or card inside for a more economical and temporary sign. Some of the more popular materials are:

Flexible PVC – This is a versatile material that can be used for banners and posters. It is perfect for internal and external displays and the thickness determines the type of sign it is used for. I would recommend 440gsm PVC for outdoor printed banners and posters, and at least a 1mm thickness for a standard wall mounted sign.

Aluminium and Dibond – These are perfect for a sign that needs to last a little longer and the message is going to be current for a while. Aluminium can be flexible whereas Dibond is more rigid and preferred in the sign industry for durability. It looks like aluminium on the surface but has a solid polythene centre that is sandwiched between two sheets of aluminium.

Paper & Card – This is really handy when you need to get a message out quickly and it will only be displayed for a short term. Please don’t write your sign by hand as it will give the impression that your business is not professional, why not try our downloadable signs to give a more polished appearance. Remember paper and card will go soggy in the rain so it’s best for internal displays.

How to make your signs stand out

Once you have your sign prominently displayed how can you make it get noticed?

Think about the seasons! We are heading into Autumn and Winter, so it will start to get dark earlier, straightaway this makes me think of illumination! There are a number of ways you can illuminate your sign and catch your customers attention, the more popular options are:

Lightboxes – these illuminate your posters from behind, making your poster much brighter and more visible. For internal use, a Snap Frame Lightbox is a great solution and enables you to change your displays quickly if needed by simply snapping open the frame. For external use, Coloured Outdoor LED Light Boxes can be used and they are available in a range of colours to suit any business. Great for shops, leisure centres, bowling alleys and more.

Menu Cases – these illuminate from their sides, highlighting the contents. You will have seen illuminated menu cases outside many restaurants however these cases are not just for menus. There are many designs, colours and sizes for a multitude of uses. Maybe you are looking for something a little trendy and upmarket? Then the Copper Menu Case is the ideal candidate! Copper is bang on trend at the moment and will definitely catch the attention of most bystanders. If you are a little narrow on space then one of our sleek free-standing cases is just the job, with their small footprint they don’t take up very much space and have very little impact on a walkway or entrance.

White Flashing LED’s – these are a completely different way of adding illumination to your designs. Placing single LED bulbs through carefully placed holes in your artwork can create stunning features. Great for seasonal artwork for Christmas, New Years or Bonfire Night. Give them a try, you will not be disappointed!

In the current climate, you are probably displaying important information regarding government regulations; so it is vital your customers notice your signage. Some will be more important than others, some inside, some outside! I hope this guide helps to get your messages noticed and if you would like any further advice please give our sales team a call on 01353 665141, they are always happy to help.

How to keep pupils and staff safe from Viruses?

The Summer Holidays are now underway, this is a great time to assess your school’s readiness for September.

With all children returning to school in the new school year, I have highlighted some areas which will help you keep our children and your staff safe.

Welcoming Staff and Children into the School Environment.

Prepare your entrance. Parents, staff and your pupils need to be aware of procedures in place. Do you have a new one-way system, are parents required to wear masks for dropping off and collection?

The Importance of Signage.

Parents, staff and your pupils need to be aware of procedures in place. Signage is one of the most effective ways to get the message across. This may be a banner displayed on your school fence, signs mounted on walls or graphics on the floor.

Make sure your signs are suitable for your audience.

For your pupils, make your signs colourful and engaging. Some of your younger pupils will not be able to read so include simple images or even create characters that they can follow.

For staff and parents, keep your messages clear and to the point. Use no more than two main colours in your design.

Messages to think about. Do you have staggered drop-off and collection times? Are visitors allowed in the School building? Encouraging children not to touch their mouths, eyes and noses.

You may have introduced new collection points for different year groups. Point people in the right direction with Way Finding Signs, these can be colourful Finger Post Signs or Wall Mounted Signs.

Keeping Hands Clean

Children love getting their hands dirty, this can bring in viruses and bacteria.

Minimise the risk of viruses spreading by installing Hand Washing Stations at each entrance and exit point.

Having Hand Sanitiser is a quick and easy way of getting rid of any viruses or bacteria, with no need for water or paper towels. Wall Mounted and floor standing dispensers make it easy for pupils to use will little waste or mess.

Keeping ‘Bubbles’ apart

Support Bubbles are now going to be a part of the school day. This could be an entire year group or a maximum number of pupils and staff.

Line Marking Tape is a great way for marking areas, available in a range of colours, you can have a colour for each ‘bubble’. You can separate areas for play or this could also help at lunch times, marking out table areas.

Placing simple ticks and crosses in seating areas clearly show which chairs are not in use. Having just a symbol is easy to understand.

As a parent myself, I am looking forward to my child returning to school. Schools have done an amazing job throughout the pandemic and I hope these suggestions will help you get ready to welcome all of our children in September and continue the amazing work you do.

How will the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme work?

Get ready for the increase custom throughout August.  The Chancellor is determined to help Restaurants, Cafes, Pubs and Hotels with a whopping 50% discount.

How will the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme work?

Here’s what we know about how the scheme will work so far, from the customers point of view.  The Chancellor will update us all.

  1. You’ll be able to get a 50% discount on sit-down meals and non-alcoholic drinks if you’re eating in. The total amount you get off the bill will be capped at £10 per person, per meal (Takeaways won’t be discounted).
  2. You’ll only be able to get the discount at participating restaurants, cafes and pubs. Firms can apply online Monday 13th July, and; the Government says a full list of those participating business’ will be published on it’s website shortly. Major eateries are likely to join the scheme, but; at the moment it is not yet known.
  3. The discount will apply on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays only. It will run throughout August 2020.
  4. You’ll be able to use the discount as many times as you want. There’s no limit, as long as it is on the three days.
  5. Your discount will be applied automatically when you pay. So; you won’t need to do anything to get it – the restaurant, cafe or pub will simply apply the reduction, then claim the cost back from the Government via their online gateway..
  6. Crucially, you WILL be able to use the discount in conjunction with other vouchers. This is important, particularly because many restaurants already offer discounts early in the week. The Government discount will be applied after the other vouchers – so if you use a restaurant voucher, you’ll get a 50% discount on the already-discounted price.

From a business point of view, you need to think it through, will your current vouchers stay in place for use throughout August?  Do you have social distancing requirements in place to enjoy the additional trade that will come your way?  BHMA can help you with all the social distancing products to allow you to follow the law and keep both your customers and staff safe.  Take some time to consider your needs and then log on to www.bhma.co.uk and look at the headers.  To the far right, hover over social distancing and choose the section that you need.  Do it now, as there are lots of businesses that will be trying to get ready for the rush.

Why are Local Pubs on the Increase?

Good news, the decline of the local pub may be at an end! For the first time since 2010 the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has reported a net gain of 320 pubs in 2019 to 39,145*.

The rise has significantly shown a dramatic result compared with the previous years, where the UK pub network declined by an average of 732 pubs each year.

It appears more pubs are utilising technology and using data to understand their customers better, they can then change business hours based on behaviour patterns and try and generate more sales during quieter periods.

Another reason is the increase on beer sales. Craft beers grew by 194,000 pints in 2019 and has created a popular cult following in real ale. Many smaller pubs are now showcasing guest and world beers and are creating tasting events along with food promotions and accommodation. The local pub can no longer rely on the same old regulars and have upped their game! 

The potential revival could gather momentum after Tim Martin, the founder of the Wetherspoon chain announced plans to spend £200m over the next four years on expansion, an investment that will create 10,000 jobs.

The local pub is as much a part of the British culture as the Queen, in fact they are referenced to in the 11th century. They improve community engagement and are the third most popular tourist activity, and we can finally say the numbers are heading in the right direction.

* There are now a total of 39,145 pubs in the UK – based on businesses classified by the Standard Industrial Classification code 56302 : Public houses and bars. Figures are rounded to the nearest five by ONS to prevent identification, meaning these are not exact numbers

What is Recycled Polycolour?

Recycled Polycolour is the latest material to be used in the construction of our notice boards.

It is manufactured from 100% PET plastic, which depending on the colour of the finished material, contains up to 90% post-consumer material, plastic bottles in the main!

The Polycolour FR sheets need to be stored horizontally and kept as clean as possible during storage and manufacture and must be stored indoors in a dry cool, well ventilated area and avoid exposure to heat 65°C or greater. 

Before cutting we inspect the whole sheet for any defects, damage or soiling, we always wear clean gloves when handling the sheets to offer the best finish possible for our customers. The surface texture is very similar to felt and measures 9mm in thickness, messages may be attached using pins. It is flame retardant and has a 0.8 noise reduction rating making it perfect for schools, hospitals and offices.

This material is the best choice for those wanting to be environmentally conscious whilst still needing a notice board!

Our Polycolour notice boards can be mounted on walls and hung from ceilings using standard fixings, adhesive tapes or hook and loop. The acoustic rating also allows the boards to be used as noise reduction screens and at the end of their life they can be recycled in your PET waste stream.

The class B fire rating makes them suitable for schools, offices and public buildings, as explained below.

European Standards Class B (Highest Rating)
Class B fire resistant notice boards have been designed and tested to meet the latest European fire regulations EN13501-1:2007+A1:2009 Class B. These notice boards are suitable to be mounted in corridors, stairways, lobbies, escape routes and dead end corridors. Please note the European Class B replaces the British Standard Class O

British Standards Class 1
Class 1 fire resistant notice boards have been designed and tested to meet British Standard BS476 Part 7, Class 1. The boards have a fire resistant material covering/surface and are suitable for offices and classrooms where the risk of fire is minimal. If there is any risk of fire whatsoever then Class B is advised.

Please visit our website to see our full range of Recycled Polycolour Notice Boards.

Top 10 Food Costing Tips

Getting your prices right is the most important aspect of catering, especially at this time of year! Follow our top 10 tips below to save your business money and add healthy profits to the bottom line.

1. STANDARDISE AND COST YOUR RECIPES
Every recipe for every menu item, both à la carte and catered, must be standardised and costed correctly. This basic discipline ensures consistency of product and ongoing profitability. While the initial set up requires some effort on the part of the chef or management team, it allows each item to be priced based upon its raw ingredient cost. Some ingredients will change price quickly, so its important to revisit recipe costing on a regular basis. Set up each recipe on a separate worksheet in Microsoft Excel. This way you can amend the ingredient prices and re-cost dishes quickly. Train someone else in your team to re-cost also, this will lighten the burden for you.

2. PRICING BASED ON KNOWN COST STRUCTURE
The standard method of pricing is to take the cost of each menu item and multiply it by an appropriate multiplier to cover the cost of labour, fixed and variable costs. For instance if you multiply the cost of the ingredients by 2.5, you will yield a 40% food cost, with a 60% profit; 3 times, will yield a 33% food cost and 66% profit. This simple formula is all well and good, but if your revenues are below projections and/or your payroll cost or overhead are higher than expected, you may still lose money. Given the interplay of revenues, pricing, volume of business, and cost structure, these numbers must be tracked closely and reviewed frequently.

3. PORTION CONTROL IS ESSENTIAL
Standardised recipes are costed based upon specific portion sizes. If untrained or poorly supervised employees routinely serve larger than costed portions, you can kiss your profitability goodbye. Costly meat and fish products should be weighed to ensure correct portion size. Ladles of specific sizes should be used to plate menu items. Pies, cakes, and other baked desserts should be cut and served using templates to ensure the correct number of portions are realised from a multi-portion. All kitchen staff must be trained to serve the portion size that has been costed.

4. LABOUR CONTROL
Labour, both front-of-house and in the kitchen, is the single largest expense in a food service operation; it is also a continuing challenge to control. Electronic timekeeping systems make it easier for supervisors to verify employee hours, but regardless of system used, supervisors must monitor payroll hours daily. In my experience a ceiling of 20% of VAT exclusive income should be adhered to, to ensure profitability if a 66% profit is achieved.

5. BENCHMARKING REVENUES AND EXPENSES
Benchmarking is the act of measuring and analysing operating performance. In a food service operation there are many things to benchmark, such as meals served and average spend per meal period by day of week; payroll hours by position by meal period or day; and beer, wine, liquor sold per meal period and day of week. When tracked over time, these statistics become the baseline to project and monitor future performance. Benchmarks also allow measurement of customer reaction to foodservice initiatives such as new menus or pricing. Most importantly, benchmarking makes supervisors more knowledgeable about their operations. Such knowledge translates to improved operations and bottom lines.

6. ROUTINE AND CONSISTENT INVENTORIES
Inventories are critical to monitor stock levels, avoid shortages, control pilferage, and determine cost of goods sold. Inventories can also be time consuming and inconvenient for hard working chefs. Inventories sometimes get delegated to poorly trained subordinates who miss or miscount key items. Sloppy inventories contribute to erratic cost of goods sold. Poorly organised storerooms contribute to sloppy inventories. Keys to accurate inventories include well-organized storage areas, knowledgeable individuals conducting inventories, routine and timely inventories, and organised receiving documents, invoices, and credits slips. Delegating counts is acceptable if employees are trained. However, having the same employee conduct all inventories without spot-checking and oversight will invite problems.

7. SUGGESTIVE SELLING TRAINING FOR EMPLOYEES
Service employees who are trained in the techniques of suggestive selling can improve your average sale value and bottom line. Whenever a new menu is put in place, all servers should be provided a “selling sheet” that gives key information about each entree. Such information should include cooking method, ingredients, time of preparation, and enticing descriptors to help sell each item. Just as standardised recipes are important in the kitchen for consistency of product, selling sheets provide the service staff with the knowledge and information they need to sell the product. In addition to entrees, special training should be given for the suggestive selling of appetisers, desserts, wines, and speciality alcoholic beverages. The time spent providing servers with the information and confidence to sell your food and beverages will yield consistently higher average sales values.

8. CONTINUAL FEEDBACK TO EMPLOYEES
Every month’s budgeted food sales is made up of how many meals are sold and how much each guest spends on average for a meal. By breaking your projections down into meals and average spend per head and posting your daily targets prominently in the kitchen, you provide your servers with goals that connect their daily efforts to your profitability. By comparing month-to-date actual meal counts and average spend per head to projected, you give your employees a day by day record of their progress. Most people are competitive by nature and this simple technique will become a powerful incentive to servers. The same technique can be applied to appetisers, desserts, and bottles of wine sold.

9. FORECASTING AND SCHEDULING
By tracking key benchmark statistics and keeping a daily log of business levels and staffing, foodservice supervisors can develop a routine system of forecasting business levels. While some level of volatility can always be expected in guest patronage, the act of forecasting, when formally done and evaluated after the fact, will assist in maintaining service levels while controlling labour cost.

10. GUEST FEEDBACK
While some guests are vocal with their opinions, many are not. Food service supervisors should make it easy for guests to provide feedback. Comment cards must be readily available, periodic surveys should be conducted, revenue benchmarks should be analysed to measure guest responses to offerings and initiatives, and employees should be trained to routinely report comments made or overheard to supervisors.

Every professional food and beverage manager is aware of these necessary elements to success. Unfortunately, in the ongoing rush of business they are often overlooked. At its root the problem is one of organisation. By taking the time to establish systems to address each guideline, by training and delegating tasks, by making each guideline part of the daily routine, each of these steps can be easily integrated into your operation. While the initial exertion may be great, so also is the ongoing payback.

Useful formula – To determine profit percentage = Gross Profit cash multiply by 100, and then divide by VAT exclusive sales price.To achieve a particular profit percentage = Take your desired % figure from 100. Then take the cost price of your portion/product and divide it by the number you have left. Then multiply that by 100.

How big should the lettering on my sign be?

This is a common question and there are essentially a number of answers, in order to work out which answer is correct for your situation we need to consider various factors such as…

Fire Assembly Point Signage

What type of sign is it?

The type of sign will determine if there are any specific requirements you will need to follow in the design/creation of the sign. If the sign is a Health & Safety sign then there are guidelines you should follow with regards to the text size, font colour combination and even the position of the sign. For an in-depth look at Health & Safety Signage please read this article, Health & Safety Signage. If the sign is for a business, such as a sign above a shop window or on the outside of an office block you are probably not restricted in terms of font or colours. However, you may be limited by local planning laws, the local council or even your landlord if your premises are rented, be sure to check before you spend hard earned money on a sign that you are ultimately not able to erect.

How far away will people be when they see the sign?

This is probably the reason you are reading this article as this will ultimately determine the lettering size. We need to assume that we are talking about a person with 20:20 vision (or they are wearing glass/contacts to achieve 20:20 vision), we can then use the table below to work out the optimum lettering size based on the distance from the sign that we expect people to read it. Let’s take a sign that we want people be able to easily read from a distance of 25m, this could be a sign on building in an industrial estate and we want it readable as they come through the gate. You would need to make the letters 8” or 203mm tall for this to be easily read at the gate (25m away), however the sign would still be visible and potentially readable up to 106m away, ensuring that your business is also visible to passing traffic on the main road. If the sign is for a shop on the high street you may be looking at distances slightly less, maybe around 20m so you would look at a letter height of 6” or 150mm.

Table of reading distances

How big is the area available for the sign?

Another consideration factor is the area you have to mount the sign and what content you need to add to it. You now need to take into account the distance from which the sign will be read, what the important content is and ensure you do not make the sign bigger than the area you have. This can sometimes cause a trade off between the company name and the strap line, it is recommended that you ensure the company name is easily readable at the distance you need, this will bring the customers to your door, as they get closer they will be able to read the strap line.

Will it be illuminated or reflective?

Halo Illuminated Sign

Think about illumination of your sign, will you need it illuminated, probably in the winter months, but not so much in the summer. Think about how your sign could be viewed by the passing business, if it was illuminated would that turn peoples heads more than an unlit sign? If you have traffic that comes down the road towards you and their headlights shine towards your sign, you could be clever and add some reflective vinyl to your letters causing them to reflect back towards the traffic effectively popping off the front of the building and grabbing potential customers attention.

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