Mitchells & Butlers expects to drive greater efficiencies from its kitchens in future by introducing digitalised ‘prep and par’ systems to the business.
Internally the company runs a focused programme of work that supports its longer-term growth strategy under the name ‘Ignite’. The second phase of this project is currently being implemented and includes initiatives that assist the thousands of chefs employed across its 1,750-strong estate.
Prep and par is a tool which will aid kitchen staff with identifying what to prepare for each session of the day based on site specific trading patterns and forecasts.
Mitchells & Butlers believes the system, particularly when used in combination with auto-ordering, will help to reduce waste and instances of menu items being unavailable, improving the guest experience in the process.
With the company facing “industry-wide cost headwinds”, it is exploring ways to incorporate more efficiency and cost-saving workstreams aimed at improving profitability into its business.
Other examples of initiatives that underpin the Ignite 2 programme include the formation of a central expert labour deployment team that visits sites which are performing below the required labour scheduling accuracy.
This team provides practical support and system expertise and the result has been a material improvement in performance of the 210 sites visited in the past year, according to management at the firm.
It has also introduced an interrogative software tool which analyses all transactional till data and identifies patterns of behaviour which require further investigation. A team of people trained in the software support managers in then taking action if required.
Last year Mitchells & Butlers updated its stock system in what was a “complicated” project that impacted each of its businesses, a number of central teams and also required the cooperation of suppliers.
However, the company says it is now seeing the benefits of the system upgrade. It can automate tasks within the business which currently take up a large amount of management time, such as stock-taking, where remote barcode scanning significantly quickens the process.
As digital developments gather pace, Mitchells & Butlers is also undertaking a significant piece of work to consolidate its data onto one platform which allows integration into third party technologies.
This work will provide the foundation for fast adoption of future digital development opportunities, according to the company.
Meanwhile, following a successful trial, it has recently removed cash expenditure for sundry expenses such as flowers, taxis and emergency food purchases from its businesses.
The aim of this is to increase visibility and therefore control over expenses of that nature and also to identify opportunities to leverage its scale to achieve a better price for such items.