Being popular and drawing a crowd is wonderful, but long queues can spell disaster for hospitality businesses.

A build-up of hungry or thirsty customers at a bar, café or fast-food restaurant is likely to make them bail before they’ve even spent a penny. You’ll also have stressed employees triggering high levels of staff churn. And if queues become regular, you’ll lose significant revenue and ruin your brand reputation. 

It doesn’t take long to annoy customers by failing to serve them swiftly. According to the How Long Does It Take To Lose Your Customer report, most people (73%) will abandon a queue after only five minutes, while a quarter will only wait a maximum of two minutes before going elsewhere. In a nutshell, queues upset customers and cost you a lot of money. 

The Brexit and Covid hospitality double-whammy

Queues normally form because a hospitality business is short-staffed. This is going to be a growing problem in the coming months and years unless post-Covid and post-Brexit issues are addressed today. Nine-in-10 UK hospitality business leaders expect to face staff shortages this year, according to the Business Confidence Survey from CGA and Fourth, with half (51%) anticipating shortages in all roles. These figures reinforce widespread concerns about a crisis in hospitality recruitment as trading restrictions ease.

The challenge is that thousands of restaurant, pub and bar staff have left their jobs during lockdowns, making customer queues almost inevitable. The UK’s largest listed pub group, Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), for example, has lost 9,000 of its 39,000 staff since last year. Meanwhile Brexit has caused a steep drop in Europeans coming to work in the UK. Pre-Brexit, more than 30% of hospitality workers across the UK were thought to have come from the EU.

Wave goodbye to hospitality venue queues

If venues have long queues outside it’s likely customers will find somewhere else to go and therefore the number of potential customers a business has is reduced. So if a business can find a way to keep the queue down by seating or serving customers faster they can attract more customers and make more sales. With Stint, businesses are able to increase both the number of customers in their venues and the amount they spend – dramatically boosting revenue. 

The solution is to identify the peaks in demand when, without extra support, businesses struggle to serve customers. If left without appropriate staff cover, this can trigger a rapid downward spiral in customer experience; slow service leads to queues forming, increased waiting times lead to missed customers and lost revenue, customers leave unhappy with their visit and venues lose both repeat business and customer advocacy as disgruntled consumers share negative reviews.

With Stint, quick service restaurants, pubs and bars in particular, can resolve a lot of these issues. For instance, when Stint students take care of clearing tables, table turnover increases. And when Stint students polish glasses, the core team is freed up to focus on serving customers.

“Through Stint’s hour-by-hour model, we’ve managed to tackle the problem of how to handle our busy periods in trade…it’s been the best decision of my life in the business,” says Sujith d’Almeida, Owner of Urban Tandoor restaurant. 

What better way to build both customer and employee satisfaction, than to staff your business perfectly for every hour of the day? To find out more about how Stint works, please click here.