Final Week of August Sees Like-for-Likes Rise by 5%

Following a recent decline in like-for-likes, August’s concluding week saw sales increase by 5% when compared to the same week in 2019. 

This 5% increase was mainly a result of food like-for-likes rising by 12% — a similar trend in regards to recent like-for-likes. Drink like-for-likes, on the other hand, dropped by 1% in comparison to the same week in 2019. 

Week-on-week sales were up by 6.5%, with London’s sales increasing by 4% based on the previous week — a rise that has been a rarity in recent weeks. As for non-London, week-on-weeks were up 7%.

S4labour’s Chief Innovation Officer, Richard Hartley, commented: “the final week of August caps off a month that’s appeared to be mostly quite difficult for London’s week-on-weeks. This last week, however, spells some positivity for the Capital. The longer weekend may have resulted in London sites experiencing higher sales compared to usual.”

Hospitality Like-for-Likes Down 5.5%

Hospitality like-for-likes were down 5.5% last week when compared to the same week in 2019. 

The majority of the decline was driven by a 17% decrease in drink like-for-likes. However, food sales were up by 11%. 

As for week-on-week sales, S4labour’s research shows a small 1% overall increase on the previous week. However, London and non-London revealed differences; something that has often been the case. London’s week-on-weeks were level, whilst non-London sites saw a week-on-week increase of 1.4%. 

Richard Hartley, S4labour’s Chief Innovation Officer, stated: “These figures continue to reinforce the picture we’ve been seeing: food operators, mainly outside of London, are continuing to do well — whilst many drink focused operators are struggling. Tourist trade may help food focused sites in London; whereas wet-led sites are continuing to experience reduced footfall in the Capital. 

Mid-August Sees High Like-for-Likes at 7.7%

As we start to enter mid-August, S4labour’s research shows there to be high like-for-like figures at 7.7% as well as a gradual increase in week-on-week sales figures.

Last week’s food sales were up 16% compared to the same week in 2019 — meaning like-for-like food sales are continuing to increase as we head further out of restrictions. As for like-for-like drink sales, they did increase too  although by a much smaller 1%. 

London sales have risen by 2.3% based on the previous week  a first for the Capital which has been in recent decline. Non-London, however, had week-on-week sales growth of 1%. Notably, the difference in week-on-week food sales is of interest: Non-London saw an increase of 1.4%, while London’s food sales grew by 3.4%. 

Speaking to S4labour’s Chief Innovation Officer, Richard Hartley, he stated: “The increase in like-for-like sales is very positive for the hospitality industry. With an increase in staycations, and generally there being more consumer confidence at the moment, hopefully these increases will continue and not be short-lived. We are now seeing sustained week-on-week growth in addition to positive like-for-likes.”

Hospitality sales up on last week but still down on 2019 by 4.9%


Following the lifting of restrictions, S4labour (the people, productivity and payroll software provider for hospitality) analysed last week’s hospitality sales figures. Comparing the same week in 2019, they found evidence of an overall drop in sales of 4.9% with food sales down 3.3% and drink sales lagging by 12.6%.
In London, total sales were down by 18.6%, with drink sales down 23.4% and a drop in food sales by 10.2%.
Non-London sales figures showed a decrease in drink sales by 9.6%, but an increase in food sales by 5.4%.
However, week on week sales saw an increase in overall sales by 6.9%.
Commenting on the analysis, S4labour’s Chief Innovation Officer Richard Hartley, stated “Given the current conditions of people having to self-isolate within short notice, we have seen a noticeable number of sites not being able to operate a full trading week. It’s also worth noting the effect this is having on the customers’ ability to show up for bookings as hundreds of thousands are in self-isolation. This clearly is hampering the industry’s ability to successfully trade”.


Training in 2021

Training in 2021

It’s been a strange year for everyone, particularly a lot of us in hospitality and every area of our businesses have been turned upside down by Covid. As we start to see some light at the end of the tunnel I thought it would be useful to share some thoughts on how training is changing and what we are doing in S4labour to adapt. 


With pure classroom training interventions becoming a thing of the past prior to the pandemic, more organisations were using a blended learning approach, not only because of the cost saving but also the time saved on traveling. The beauty of online learning is that it can be applied straight away, putting it into action as soon as you wave goodbye and find the exit button to the online room. We have always offered online launches at S4labour but it’s been almost a year since I stood at the front of a group of people and delivered our launch workshops or refresher sessions. Since the pandemic however, our online workshops for bigger teams have been a great success and our users have responded really well to implementing their systems into their business. Emily Grenville, Head of H.R. at Tossed said “it’s the most support we have been given by a supplier”.Jacques from the Big Smoke & Morgan Groups is also impressed, commenting “[our] launch was a great success and given the choice of face to face and remote I would choose remote again” 


The Rise Of Capabilities Over Skills

Back when I was in operations we always hired for attitude and trained for skill, it didn’t matter to me if they hadn’t done the job before, what mattered  was that they wanted to learn, wanted to push themselves and had the right attitude. I knew I could teach our service cycle, our menu, our cocktails and systems to anyone that wanted to learn. One of the shifts in focus L&D teams have had over the last couple of years is towards    capabilities rather than skills, with short sharp training interventions,providing learners with the ability to search for content and learn something in real time. This style of learning ensures individuals can learn in the flow of work tying in learning directly with the workers abilities to perform their jobs and to produce business outcomes. At S4labour we have strengthened our resource library so users can access content on any device when they are faced with a knowledge gap at any time. We have also made our training bitesize and loads to choose from: 15-minute online modules, 30 minute webinars and 1 hour one-to-one remote training and group workshops. We also engage with our customers to find their pain points and ensure we discuss the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ to use our software, taking our training further and deeper into the habits and behaviors that are needed by users to get success.


Learning in the flow of work 

One of the biggest frustrations learners tend to have in the workplace is the amount of time that is wasted, employees just want to get the work done and do it right. Just-in-time learning enables employees to improve efficiencies and gain new capabilities with hands on, just-in-time and just-for-me learning. Following our launches, each General Manager gets the ability to spend two one-to-one sessions with a system expert ensuring just that – it’s at the time they need it, it’s just for them and improves efficiencies and reduces the frustration that comes along with change. You’ve heard about HIIT workouts but what about relating that to workplace training, high intensity interval training, short sharp impactful interventions.  


Project based learning 

Posing a problem, or changing and allowing a team or individual to research and collaborate through  researching and discussion leads to a lot of learning. This reinforces capabilities and allows individuals to gain new skills. Motivation at work can be low at this time of year but add business closures into the mix along with furlough and teams could be left feeling very demotivated and uninspired. As a manager, having a few projects in mind to dish out is great for your team’s wellbeing too,allowing them to focus and get re-engaged. A phrase one of my Portuguse friends shared with me translates to “when we are not in war, we polish our guns”. This is what we have been doing at S4labour over the last few months, to ensure we give our customers and users the best onboarding experience possible when the industry opens up again. Suggested project topics could be related to service style, maintaining ‘hospitality’ in the masked environment, fun team bonding online sessions, inclusion and diversity or something as simple as create your own cocktail ideas. A lot of our customers are also taking this time to retrain/refresh their teams on S4labour and our free webinars were a great success to support this after the first lockdown. 


Emphasis on Communication and Collaboration Skills

More and more teams are now meeting in virtual and digital environments. Even after the pandemic this will remain the case. Something we have implemented in S4labour for our teams is a ‘Friday Huddle’ where we catch up socially, chat about our week over a cuppa and take it in turns to organise a quiz. We also share regular feedback and thank colleagues with praise and pass it on email. I recently took to the kitchen and posted out brownies to our team. We have been more deliberate with our communication because we are all working remotely. We are actually stronger as a team for it, something I’m sure will continue. department managers have been utilizing our Shift Success feature to share updates with us and the shift review function has been even more important to measure our teams happiness and wellbeing.


We have seen some amazing things our customers have been doing and are inspired by how passionate the sector is at supporting and training their people for success. It is such a win win, for the employee and the business. If you want to have a chat about training in your business, or think your teams would be more impactful with a bit of a refresher, then get in touch.

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