Venners invites venues to gain a competitive advantage with its 10-step compliance checklist

By Venners

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Venners 10-step compliance checklist for restaurants

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The UK’s leading stocktakers and auditors believes that operators that understand the role of compliance as a business tool will come out on top.

Being brandished as an exceptional venue in the current hospitality climate has become a monumental task. In a saturated market, many in the industry aim to gain competitive advantage and offer genuine authenticity in their experiences to entice an increasingly cautious audience. With consumers battling the cost of living, they have become outrightly selective. Money and time are precious.

Achieving the optimal position in the market is no longer just about being ahead of, or cheaper than competitors. Rather, it is about fostering a positive cycle of growth and prosperity that is founded on being a business that attracts the most customers, the best talent, the best business partners and the highest investments. Venues that understand the role of compliance as a business tool and its part in achieving all this, will come out on top.

A common misconception of compliance within hospitality businesses is the blinkered focus on legal, health and safety, and customer service-related standards. Albeit useful to rely on professional support in all these areas, as well as getting the qualitative and subjective evidence of site performance, compliance can be far more useful from a holistic and quantitative approach. Truly successful operators will embed a compliance checklist into all areas of the daily operations of the business.

1. Check brand fundamentals

A business’ USPs are rooted in its brand. Any compliance checklist should cover visual brand elements such as uniform adherence, décor, layouts and design standards, on-site marketing and promotions, as well as signage in the right places. Less tangible brand elements should not be forgotten as they are inextricably linked to customer experiences. Simple inspections should include service provision, cleanliness and comfort, cultural atmosphere and even brand personality traits.

2. Assess ESG trails

Businesses are now expected to evidence their commitment to and governance of ethical practices. From an environmental perspective, this requires checks of paper and plastic usage, recycling volumes, water usage, energy readings, food waste records and visual inspections of lighting, radiators, cooking and other kitchen appliances. Likewise, verifications of sustainability-related certificates, accreditations and partnerships will demonstrate a business’ priorities and commitments in this area. Other matters not to forget, include a business’ promotion of health, inclusivity and accessibility.

3. Test quality assurance

Ensuring that company quality standards are being met, by testing whether policies are being followed across an estate, is vital. Quality checklists are all about consistency across sites in terms of performance, speed, customer service, ingredients and products. As part of that, internal procedures related to stock and ordering quality protocols are of equal importance. For example, ordering in cheaper food items from a different supplier, to temporarily reduce costs, will result in delivering an inferior food experience.

4. Spot check operations

Blending perfectly with efforts to maintain quality standards, operational standards lay the foundation for profitability and success. In accordance with industry benchmarks for best practice it is crucial to follow proven methods of control and security. A comprehensive operational compliance checklist covers everything concerning stock; from ordering, to invoicing, to deliveries, to storage, to wastage, to service, to EPoS and other equipment usage.

5. Validate finance procedures

Financial compliance tends to be delegated to the professionals, but businesses that keep accurate records for themselves are set up to be transparent and accountable. Any compliance checklist should cover cash, banking, till, PDQ and reporting controls. It is beneficial to validate finance procedures with frequent cash float, safe and financial paperwork checks, by looking at till receipts, banking slips and ledger documentation. Checking till sales data, including discount use and timing, voids and refunds, and reverse payments, is essential for keeping track of margin, revenue and royalty control.


6. Cross reference supply chain SLAs

Businesses should confirm the accurate delivery of services and products by suppliers and check for correct pricing, packaging and processes. This can help to ensure that the quantities, accuracy and quality of products delivered match order invoices and delivery notes. Internal acceptance processes need to be watertight. Doing regular checks on paperwork associated with supplier items keeps supplier chain relationships mutually beneficial.

7. Safeguard HR attributes

Prioritising staff welfare is key to promoting a business as both a desirable establishment to visit and an employer of choice. Individual site HR checks should cover staffing numbers, license holders, personnel IDs, CCTV system checks and staff communications. Alongside this, payroll spot checks should be made to investigate the accuracy of payslips compared to attendance, time and holiday records.

8. Affirm safety precautions

Staff should be effectively and regularly safety trained. This can include food safety and handling, crowd control, fire safety, general health & safety and much more. It is an employer’s duty to perform checks on training records and certifications, as well as the implementation of these learnings on the ground, as part of a compliance checklist. Furthermore, internal safety systems and procedures should be assessed frequently.

9. Inspect legal requirements

Due diligence checks should include everything from Property compliance, to Health & safety compliance, Food & Hospitality compliance, Workplace compliance and GDPR. Primarily legal industry standards should be reflected in internal policies, procedures, documentation records and notices. Staff should not only be following these to a satisfactory degree but should also be reporting any issues they find as required. Additionally, all the required licenses, certificates and insurances should be in place and up to date. No establishment wants to face costly legal ramifications because they are not meeting government regulations and industry standards.

10. Perform opening inspections

With every new site that opens, a host of new parameters will need to be contended with. As the business expands, new staff, new locations and new cultures challenge the pre-existing standards. A compliance checklist needs to be extensive enough to bring any new site to the same standard as existing ones. Beyond that, setup standards need to be checked, and policies and procedures that are in place for the first few weeks of operating need to be closely monitored to establish a new brand within the brand.

Following this compliance checklist meticulously is a sure way to verify that a business is operating ethically and above board in all aspects of its operation, thereby gaining the trust and confidence it deserves from consumers to investors, and everyone in between. Not only that, it also makes a business bullet proof against unnecessary fines and losses, whilst simultaneously optimising profits. By proactively managing compliance, businesses not only avoid potential pitfalls but also unlock additional competitive advantage through reaching a state of operational excellence. For more information on Venners visit the website here.

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