Without great Facilities Management, hospitality brands can’t grow their footprint; but growth can often stretch FM teams to breaking point. How can these companies scale fast while maintaining standards and controlling costs?
Over the last year, we’ve interviewed many growing hospitality brands about their reasons for adopting a CAFM and their experiences of operating FM software. These include Red Engine, who own the exciting international Flight Club and Electric Shuffle brands, and Queensway a European Starbucks and KFC franchisee, who both have ambitious expansion plans.
Here’s what they told us about how their CAFMs are helping them grow.
7 ways CAFMs are helping hospitality brands grow
1. They’re automating to liberate
In all our interviews, one message came through loud and clear. FM software is essential to automate everyday processes, so teams can liberate themselves to focus on fast and sustainable growth. Mobilising a CAFM is about enabling rapid expansion while never losing control:
As Heike Thalhofer, Queensway’s Head of Operations for KFC said:
We were at the limit of what we could handle manually. We needed a digital solution to give us full transparency of our FM operations. We needed to automate our processes to meet all our brand standards while controlling our costs."
2. They’re centralising helpdesks - to streamline workflows
Where you have many outlets and a lot of ground to cover, a centralised helpdesk is essential to keep work orders flowing through the system. When orders come into a single digital helpdesk through a dedicated portal rather than by phone and email they’re easier to handle and organise. Work requests can be automatically prioritised for action and triaged more effectively in a single place. Engineers' schedules can be organised within a CAFM to optimise time management.
As Louis Atkins, Facility Manager at Red Engine told the Comparesoft podcast this month:
With our new software we can watch jobs come in and we can manage that workload. We can decide who’s got to do what. It makes tracking that job a lot simpler than the old-school way of spreadsheets and word documents“
3. They’re making it mobile - and improving communications
In hospitality, turnover is high. You need to train all kinds of different people to log on to your CAFM - to raise work requests, add notes, upload photos/videos and log their time. If your chosen platform comes with a great mobile interface, uptake and usage will be higher and communication between team members and data collection will become effortless. When you are looking for a CAFM solution, think about whether your staff will be able use the solution effectively on-site, and what you’ll need to train them.
Mobile access is one of the most important things for us. To be able to log in to the system via your mobile and report a problem or chase a contractor is key. Staff in our restaurants are always busy, they’ve often got over 200 guests to look after. They can’t just walk off a busy floor to log onto their desktop and make a work request. That’s not good enough. We need to be able to report a problem and track progress in real-time from our tablets and mobiles” Louis Atkins, Facility Manager at Red Engine
4. They’re enabling strategic asset management
In food and drink service, asset downtime can have a huge impact on profits. If coffee machines, fryers or sandwich toasters are down then you can’t serve customers quickly enough and you lose business. Getting an engineer out to fix a problem is one thing. But how do you keep track of downtime data and use it strategically? Too many companies juggle this data in spreadsheets and email, never unleashing its potential to drive better and more strategic decision-making.
The right asset management software can help you analyse groups of assets to see if bulk purchasing will present opportunities to negotiate with suppliers over costs e.g. 10 fridges at a better price than buying them individually when required.” Josh Greibach, CEO and Co-Founder of Expansive Solutions
Centralising asset management in a CAFM can help you see what equipment is persistently breaking down and what needs replacing rather than ‘just fixing’. In a growing company this can drive better Capex decisions, through levering economies of scale.
As Shakeel Jivraj, Head of Operations for Queensway Coffee Houses told us:
We were running FM in our business using spreadsheets and email. A lot of data and knowledge was stored in the heads of our teams, and being lost to the business. We needed to change it into usable data. A CAFM is doing that for us”
5. They’re sharing data across the business
FM data obviously needs to be accessible to the operations and senior management team. Configurable dashboards need to show trends and KPIs across the business and by outlet. But the outlets themselves also need to see and understand their own performance data so they can optimise the way the company works.
The CAFM shows people on the ground what they are spending and where they could potentially drive new efficiencies. This is important because FM is a massive part of P&L in our business. We believe giving our workers the digital tools to work smarter contributes to cost savings, profitability and drives growth." Shakeel Jivraj, Head of Operations for Queensway Coffee Houses
6. They’re centralising compliance
Controlling compliance becomes more of a challenge the more you grow. There’s lots to think about and increasing levels of risk as you try to juggle multiple routines:
- Fire inspections
- Equipment Servicing
- Staff training & keeping up certifications
- Chasing remedial action
- Completing paperwork
Setting up automated compliance workflows within a CAFM ensures your processes are uniform across your business, as well as captured and evidenced as you work in a single place. A CAFM should be a central document management system, giving the business complete oversight of compliance activity and documentation. The schedules for a pre-existing site should also act as a template for each new site you bring on board, so you can maintain consistency and scale efficiently using your CAFM.
With our CAFM we are automating and digitising all our legal and regulatory processes, keeping required records up to date in real-time. We want peace of mind that we’re capturing everything we need to and storing it in one place. In a CAFM we can have a complete overview of our compliance status across our properties, it’s giving us the data we need to manage and maintain standards in a cost-efficient way.” Heike Thalhofer, Queensway’s Head of Operations for KFC
7. They’re based on great partnerships
The hospitality industry is fast-moving and competitive, brands have to be laser-focused on customer service, cost control and innovation to survive. Some of the companies we work with, like Red Engine, are bringing unique experiential offerings to the industry. A one size fits all CAFM solution would be no good for them:
Our CAFM partner worked with us. We told them what we needed, what we felt was right and they created a system around our needs. It really was like a collaborative piece, which is not something that you would usually get with a software company. With other companies, you just get it off the shelf and that’s what you have to deal with. We needed a solution that could be built around us, particularly as we moved our operations into the US.” Louis Atkins, Facility Manager at Red Engine
Hospitality companies live or die by the quality of their facilities and their compliance capabilities. Poor customer experiences and H&S breaches can damage reputation and revenue, quickly ruining footfall and sales.
But if they’re going to be successful and profitable as they expand FM, teams need to be confident that facilities and standards can be maintained without costs spiralling. A centralised CAFM system can help manage existing resources more effectively to support growth. Just make sure you choose a CAFM partner that can tailor their solution to flex and scale with your needs.