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Adding up the right team - Ed’s letter

We hear a lot about data in this sector. Big data, little data, targeted data, data which generates and analyses itself. It can trigger sweaty palms in those who feared maths pop quizzes. It can also provoke resentment from those who feel that hospitality is not a number, it’s a way of life. There is no equation which can deliver the perfect guest experience.

But what we are increasingly learning, mental maths gift or no, is that data is a very important part of the guest equation, particularly when it comes to teams, an area where the numbers are very frightening indeed.

Honest Burgers’ co-founder Philip Eeles told a recent Propel event that data was the answer. He said: “Wouldn’t not be a great thing if some of these private equity companies starting valuing companies based on their people data?”

This data was that gathered around areas such as retention, numbers which, in the hospitality sector, can be of the type which look the same as our current inflation figures and are just as frightening. For senior teams in particular, having decision makers who stick around can help create the kind of cohesive business which can build something which lasts longer than the next trend.

Eeles has launched This Is Pineapple, which is encouraging companies in the sector to sign up and share data to help build knowledge in areas such as retention and stability. We watch with great interest, as it falls into the area of ‘blimey wasn’t anyone doing that before, what were we thinking?’

It has become largely accepted that, for customer-facing team members, turnover numbers are going to stay high and that what was needed instead was to focus on numbers such as cutting days per week down to four and working on how to ensure that teams were able to go and do the things they liked to do with their time rather than be forced to spend double shifts watching other people having a good time.

Much as many of us would like to see it mandated that we have our dinner at 5pm and are tucked up in bed by 9pm, there are those who do like to be out and about at 2am, throwing axes and escaping from rooms and all those other experiential things which are replacing drinking a little of tequila in half an hour.

To make it more palatable for those who to sharpen those axes and lock those doors, the data tells us that team happiness should also be measured and facilitated, a data set which the sector has largely left unplundered. Could numbers make us all smile? If we want to retain the heart of hospitality, we must welcome data.


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