Malcolm Muir, consultancy services director at food and beverage stocktaker Venners: “You may have processes in place for every area of your business but, sometimes, when you’re busy or if you employ temporary staff, these can slip. An audit or consultancy review carried out by an external specialist provides an impartial evaluation that can keep your business profitable and compliant.”
Muir warns: “Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. It’s a good discipline to analyse how your business – and team – is performing, and using an external consultant can help deal with sensitive issues that may come to light.”
He adds that when regulations do change, “get advice from a specialist rather than dealing with implementation alone. You may have introduced a system for allergen management, for example, but are you confident that it’s adequate and being applied correctly?”.
Max Carruthers, property maintenance consultant, HR specialist Access Hospitality: “External contractors often complete property compliance checks on rolling annual contracts, but proactive facilities management can help ensure their visits don’t spring any nasty – and expensive – surprises.”
Carruthers insists keeping up to date on matters is essential. “Use the technology available to reduce your risk by streamlining and simplifying the compliance, operational and control aspects of your facilities management,” he says. “Access ProNett gives you effective oversight and control of your property.”
Then, “ensure all emergency and general contractor support is approved with a clear service level agreement specified and documented in a cloud-based property software solution. This ensures excellent service, simple monitoring but avoiding premium costs”.
Catherine Gannon, founder of Gannons Solicitors: “It is impossible to monitor every legal aspect that may impact on their business, but it’s important to get the best advice. Don’t bother asking about hourly charge out rates – it’s far better to concentrate on whether the solicitor has the recent experience you need.
Knowledge of the subject is often better value than low charge out rates offered by the wrong person.”
Gannon suggests following commentary and blogs from experienced commentators. She says: “We recognise the impact that legal changes could have on hospitality businesses, and share our opinions through trade commentary or on our own website insights page.”
Secondly, she says to register for events or briefings. “Gannons offers business operators the chance to meet a business specialist solicitor to discuss any commercial issue, in private, at our London office and there is no charge, so make sure you’re aware of these and similar briefing opportunities for an initial consultation.”