Wages are Up, Traffic is Down, and Guest Satisfaction is in Flux: How You Can Beat the Crisis

Wages are Up, Traffic is Down, and Guest Satisfaction is in Flux: How You Can Beat the Crisis

Running a hospitality business – restaurant, hotel, or another guest-focused venue – is harder than ever before. Minimum wage increases are usually great for your workers, but they put pressure on employers to make changes throughout their business to accommodate these adjustments.

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Only a Pavement Away's Fill A Flask Campaign

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We’ve been out on the road this month, helping the charity Only A Pavement Away (OAPA), with its ‘Fill A Flask’ campaign. The charity helps the homeless, but also veterans and ex-offenders to find a job within hospitality. Dozens of operators have come forward to support the initiative, committing not only pledges to provide more funds but also much needed help on the ground to distribute thermal flasks and cold drinks.

The primary objective of the ‘Fill A Flask’ campaign which costs £40,000, is to distribute 6,000 thermal flasks to every rough sleeper on the streets of the UK. The use of flasks is environmentally friendly and, based on a minimum average usage of each flask being filled three times per week, per rough sleeper, saves 18,000 plastic water bottles in just one week. Over the 12-week period of the campaign, OAPA will have facilitated 216,000 cold drinks bought by the public for rough sleepers. 


‘Fill A Flask’ is just one of OAPA’s projects to help those in need, who can often become lost in the system once their routine is removed and they find themselves back at the start, without work or accommodation. OAPA founder Greg Mangham and his wife Gill recognised this on a walk along The Strand in London one day, seeing the evidence before their eyes as they observed the rough sleepers and those in dire need.


Between now and 2024, the hospitality industry will need to recruit around 1.3 million employees and around 300,000 of these roles will be new positions. Knowing this and with decades of experience in hospitality, Gill and Greg’s response was to found Only A Pavement Away, to highlight the plight of the people they saw that day and the thousands of others like them to an industry that is desperate 

for new recruits. The charity has since grown to such an extent that Greg now works on the initiative full time, with Gill’s invaluable help behind the scenes.

“We’re on the move again,” Greg told us this week. “Fill A Flask is going to Brighton and then on to Manchester. We need to keep going. In our first year, we’ve already helped 35 people find roles in hospitality and get their lives back on track. Our next target is to get another 250 people back into work within the next 12 months. 

“The help, encouragement and support we’ve received from operators and suppliers has been overwhelming. We’re really grateful. Fill A Flask and events such as The Cateys, where OAPA was represented recently, have produced yet more offers of funding and support. To make it work for the long term, our aim is to raise at least £250,000 a year. We will use those funds to provide support workers for the vulnerable and relationship management for all of the fantastic operators and suppliers who help us so we can do more. Society has keen and able job-seekers; hospitality has jobs. Only A Pavement Away is the conduit that will help them find each other.”


Harri provides OAPA with something of a charity recruitment exclusive – a dedicated jobs board. “No other industry has a charity recruitment set-up like this,” Greg explains. “Harri enables OAPA to offer a free jobs board and applicant tracking system for employers to advertise their vacancies. Through a personalised profile, job brokers can make applications on behalf of their members, removing the need for applicants to trawl through the process, which may seem daunting. Operators only receive applications via the job brokers on behalf of members who

, OAPA will be encouraging are ‘job-ready’, with the desire, behaviour and attitude to seek new opportunities. OAPA would certainly not be as sophisticated as it is without Harri. This is one of the ways in which the industry and its suppliers are helping us to make meaningful employment a reality for the vulnerable.”

 ‘Fill A Flask’ will continue across the UK throughout July. At Christmas operators to get involved once more and participate in its Winter Warmth campaign. The charity would like donations of warm coats and sleeping bags to give those in need some help through the cold months and, with luck, encourage them into OAPA’s support system and on to successful careers in hospitality. As OAPA puts it, it’s about stability through employment – and we’re all for that.

To learn more about OAPA, please visit www.onlyapavementaway.co.uk. To find out more about Harri’s Applicant Tracking System, please click here.

Harri’s unique integration with top hospitality job boards puts you ahead of the competition in the war on talent.


Hospitality is the UK’s 3rd largest employer, creating 1 in 8 new jobs with 3.2 million people employed directly and forecast to grow by a further 10% by 2020. With a perpetual war being waged on talent, these numbers are becoming harder and harder to sustain and operators are finding it increasingly challenging to attract and retain their most valuable asset; their people. 


In these market conditions, operators need to give themselves the best chance of being found by potential employees and then make it as easy as possible for them to complete applications. This is where technology is playing its part, ensuring a wide net is cast to bring in as many employees as possible and create a seamless application flow. 


Historically, job application processes have been clunky and inefficient - forcing the applicant to go through several tedious steps, often filling out the same information more than once in order to complete an application. Aware of this problem, Caterer.com & Indeed.com have modernised and developed ATSi Apply technology; a product designed to improve application performance by transferring candidate data seamlessly between job board and applicant tracking system. According to TotalJobs Group, this increases job board conversion by 90%. Understanding how valuable this technology is when it comes to increasing applications for operators, Harri has uniquely integrated with this technology that sits within both Caterer.com & Indeed.com meaning only with Harri do you optimise candidate liquidity and kill the dread of the drop off!


Restaurant operator Côte Brasserie use Harri to manage their recruitment process along with Caterer.com & Indeed.com as major sources of candidates across its 90-strong estate. They say the drop-off rate among applicants increases by 10% for every extra click a candidate has to make during the application process.

Kelly Davis, Senior Recruitment Manager for Côte, explains:

“Harri’s integration with Caterer and Indeed is extremely important for us. It’s about the person’s experience with our brand and making applications easier for them. Increasingly in hospitality we’re seeing a candidate-led jobs market, so when the brand speaks for itself, suitable candidates who are seeking the top places to work, will naturally come forward. We actively look for job boards that have integrated Harri’s one-click apply technology because it increases our chance of securing quality applications. In addition, many job searches now take place on mobile devices, so applying for vacancies can no longer be a tedious form-filling exercise. For us, it has to be a one-click process that ensures applying for a job at Côte is quick and easy”.

James Edwards, Digital Attraction Manager at Mitchells and Butlers has seen a huge boost to the number of applications. 


After 6 months of implementing Harri to our 1,650 sites, we have seen ROI including 89% more applications of which a 24% increase in chef applications.

To find out more about how Harri, click here

2019 Minimum Wage Increases Guide

On July 1st, minimum wage increases will go into effect in several jurisdictions across the country. The ever-changing landscape of the hospitality industry can be confusing and overwhelming - that’s why we’ve created a guide to help you navigate your state’s changes.



  • Alameda: $12.50 per hour

  • Berkeley: $15.59 per hour

  • Emeryville: $16.30 per hour

  • Fremont: $13.50 per hour

  • LA, City: $14.25 per hour

  • LA, County: $14.25 per hour

  • Malibu: $14.25 per hour

  • Milpitas: $15.00 per hour

  • Pasadena: $13.25 per hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees; $14.25 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees

  • San Francisco: $15.59 per hour

  • San Leandro: $14.00 per hour

  • Santa Monica: $14.25 per hour for large businesses; $13.25 per hour for small businesses; $16.63 per hour for hotel workers


  • Washington: $14.00 per hour


  • Chicago: $13.00 per hour

  • Cook County: $12.00 per hour


  • Portland: $11.11 per hour


  • Montgomery County: $13.00 per hour for large employers; $12.50 per hour for mid-sized and small employers

New Jersey:

  • $10.00 per hour


  • Minneapolis: $10.00 per hour


  • Portland metro area: $12.50 per hour

  • Non-urban counties: $11.00 per hour

What Employers Can Do Now: 

Get Your Scheduling Down to a Science: Analyze your most crucial shifts and recognize the strongest members of your staff in order to strategically schedule your team (tools like Harri's TeamLive can help managers and operators with schedule alignment, labor costs, and budget).

Consider Adjusting Your Hours:  By tracking your stores’ sales patterns, you may gain valuable insights to determine the working hours that are most productive for your business. For example, if you frequently experience a spike in customers/sales around lunch Monday through Friday, but find there's a slump during evenings on the same days, you may want to consider closing earlier during the week and focusing your marketing efforts towards weekday lunch. (Pro Tip: Your POS weekly and monthly reports should be a great indicator of these trends.)

Take a Close Look at Menu Item Prices: This is a last-ditch but sometimes necessary effort to combat minimum wage increases. Analyze each menu item and break it down by cost (with the help of your culinary team), and consider comparing vendors. Know that you may lose some customers at the expense of your menu changes. If you decide to increase your menu prices, communicate to your guests that your business has done so in order to stay open, pay your employees fair wages, and continue to serve them!