— case study
THE COLUMBO GROUP
— back story
Ant spoke to Riz Shaikh, who, along with Steve Ball, started the Columbo Group in 2007 to create best in class venues that people are drawn back to time and time again. Today, Columbo employs a range of Ruckus services, including fortnightly stocktakes (powered by Barmetrix technology) to give millilitre-accurate reports. The insights initially gained from the stocktake reports helped Columbo improve its business and working culture, which in turn gave the business confidence to take on more services. Ruckus now manages the Columbo mystery shopping programme, helps out with front and back of house training and licenses the Barmetrix Protrainer bartending software to each venue in the group.
In 2008, Riz knew they had a stock control problem they didn’t have the means to get a handle on, Ruckus started out by stocktaking three of their bars. The improvements in stock control were immediate, within a couple of months the unexplained variance (overall loss) improved from 14% to 2% which added tens of thousands of pounds to the bottom line over the year – all while helping managers understand how stock control can be used to improve profitability.
GOOD STOCK CONTROL
Riz says good stock control is about creating an awareness of what was going on in the venue. Ruckus helped create an internal culture that highlighted the importance of controlling stock and increased the teams’ awareness of which products were selling and how to use this information to drive profitability. As Riz says, “the meaning behind the numbers is what really counts” and because the reporting provided by Barmetrix is independent and impartial, it helps Columbo decide management and team bonuses.
SPEED & EFFICIENCY
The mystery shopping programme, which was designed in consultation with Columbo, gives valuable feedback on how Columbo’s customers feel, and importantly, what to do to improve the service customers receive. Ruckus run regular speed and efficiency sessions with the front of house staff using Protrainer.
So effective has the Protrainer software proven, Columbo have licenced it for each of their venues so that they can conduct pour tests before every shift. They also use it to train staff on cocktail recipes and improve their speed and efficiency through the Columbo Academy training programme.
In the end, Riz says, it is all about culture. Improve the working culture and it all adds to the benefits of working for Columbo, managing stock control takes them away from delivering remarkable customer experiences and let’s face it, there aren’t many managers that look forward to doing stock counts on a Monday! Ruckus have better tools and it is their singular focus – they provide information that can be relied to help management teams make crucial business decisions with confidence.
Now more than ever, hospitality teams need to do more with less and Riz recommends them to anyone who wants to improve their business.
— what really counts
From the very beginning, Columbo has always understood the importance of stock control and Barmetrix was brought in because the company’s existing stock takers did not offer the information and transparency needed to push the business forward.
Riz has always known that good stock control is about creating an awareness of what was going on in the venue. Ruckus helped create an internal culture that highlighted the importance of controlling stock and increased the teams’ awareness of which products were selling and how to use this information to drive profitability.
In short, the detailed and well-presented Barmetrix reports, when backed up with by the experienced Ruckus team, combine to create a very accurate audit on venue performance, and crucially, how to improve it.
As Riz says, “the meaning behind the numbers is what really counts”