How Southwell ACT have saved money for retail and catering companies across the UK.
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Southwell ACT have been providing auditing services to Expotrak for three years. Helping them to manage their stock and improve cash-flow. Over the last couple of years the business has struggled and in 2014 we were engaged to provide consultancy support.
We identified where the business could make savings that would not have an adverse impact on guests. The menus were reviewed and fully costed dishes to ensure a better margin was achievable.
Dry goods and frozen food purchases were tendered to help reduce costs. Then working with suppliers we helped them reduce their costs and improve their operation. This enabled them to pass savings to Expotrak at no cost to their businesses.
Improved profit performance of the company by 36%, saving £50,000.
Our client operates a “dog friendly” business on the border of North & East Yorkshire. The business was struggling to attract customers leading to financial losses and pressure from the bank.
Southwell ACT identified a number of different markets that the business wasn’t targeting. We contacted photographers running courses, painting groups and a photographer specialising in pet photography.
The business introduced weekend breaks for photographers and artists, exploiting the proximity to the “Hockney trail” and beautiful Yorkshire Wolds. We also recommended that they engage the photographer to provide dog owners with a unique short break including photographs of their pets.
Occupancy rates over shoulder seasons increased from 59% to 78% and in low season from 45% to 62%. Restaurant sales also benefitted as the breaks were sold as packages.
Our client was concerned at the profit being achieved by the catering and bar services. We were engaged to carryout stocktakes and report the results to the club. During our work we identified that wastage was exceptionally high. Following our report the client got the brewery to reorganise the beer lines resulting in a 50% reduction of line cleaning costs. This small change saves the business £1,800 per annum. This client has subsequently recommended us to a sister club in the area.
The rugby club has limited finances so achieving a profit on all retail services is essential. We have worked with the club to help them improve their margin, improve cash-flow and develop their offer.
“As Treasurer of the Boston Rugby Football Club I have worked with Southwell ACT over the past few years. They have not only undertaken valuable stocktakes but have admirably assisted with ideas involving development, security and forward planning for the business. All of this has been undertaken very professionally and without fuss.
I would thoroughly recommend their services to both existing and developing business.”
The client contacted us in April 2015 concerned by the poor uptake of the catering services. The business had been trading successfully since December 2014 but the catering service was continuingly receiving poor reviews on Trip Advisor, Facebook and Twitter.
The menu was extremely poor using frozen second rate products. We worked with the client, introducing a “New York” themed diner menu. With a large majority of menu items being produced from “scratch” the business threw off the poor quality food mantle that it had been carrying.
Turnover increased by 14% delivering an additional £1,600 to the net profit per month.
Southwell ACT provides auditing services to the university. Initially the catering services expenditure was well over budget and with the prospect of losing guaranteed income from fee paying students the business needed to improve margins.
Working with the catering manager and Managing Director BG (Lincoln) Ltd we helped improve stock management, reduce wastage and improve gross profit. Following a business restructuring and the opening of new facilities we continue stocktaking support enabling the business to minimise variances to budgeted gross profit and maximise profit performance.
Rob Jones, (previously Profit Partnership Director, Batemans Brewery) MD BG (Lincoln) Ltd:
“Southwell ACT have been a real find. They have an excellent, personable style when dealing with SME's and put them at ease quickly. They know their subject and I have always found them to produce accurate reports and offer solid business advice. I would have no hesitation in recommending Southwell ACT to other companies in the licensed/retail sector.”
After a number of traumatic years with external contractors managing the catering operation and costing the business rather than contributing to the profits Eureka! Asked SouthwellACT to look at the viability of them operating the services in-house.
We reviewed the contractors operation and costs then put forward alternative budgets based on the museum running similar services themselves. The business transferred in-house team and we worked with Eureka! providing training and operational support. We introduced financial management controls to help them monitor performance.
Rebecca Caswell, Strategic Lead Play and Early Years at Eureka! The National Children's Museum
“When we took our catering in-house I had no prior experience of the industry. Southwell ACT gently guided us through the necessary procedures and were a real pleasure to work with. They shared their extensive knowledge of the catering industry; creating data bases for our financial controls, working with our head chef on the development of the offer and making recommendations for future development. Moreover, Southwell ACT are truly professional and able to communicate effectively with and gain respect from all staff in the organisation.”
Our original link with Cubitt House was when they operated their first two restaurants, The Thomas Cubitt and The Alfred Tennyson (formally The Pantechnicon Rooms). They were having difficulties with their stock management and asked Southwell ACT to review their systems and identify where improvements could be made. The business has expanded with them now operating four exceptional restaurants in Belgravia.
Adrian Loader, Partner at Rust Group LP
Our organisation has used Southwell ACT frequently to assist us in reviewing internal stock control mechanisms and to participate in on-site stock checks. Their experience and in-depth knowledge of both the hospitality industry generally and its financial pitfalls has helped us to achieve a very high level of efficiency and profitability. They can be highly recommended.