Alistair Jarvis, Founder and Coach of Profitability Partners, Found the Simple Formula to a Profitable Venue

Jul 4, 2024

Alistair, who has worked with clients from the hospitality industry for more than ten years, is intimately familiar with all the different types of reporting preferences of different venues.

Alistair saw how everything fit together to become one system that could help anyone who wanted a profitable venue. He also shared his observation about the scarcity of coaching services tailored specifically to pubs, bars, and restaurants. And that there remains a need for more advice regarding profitability, rather than solely focusing on bookkeeping.

When asked how he became a profitable coach, he shared how the pandemic catapulted the idea.

“Venues were struggling. I have a business of my own, so I understood what that felt like. I decided to be selfless at that time and said to myself that I’m going to help them survive the pandemic as best I could. To me, coaching is a selfless act. It’s about helping people make better decisions. And when a key person in a big ecosystem like a pub or a bar, for example, makes the right decisions, it impacts the success of that venue. And that impacts the people in the venue, and so on. It’s a domino effect.”

The Profitability Coaching Program was designed to provide venues with the right tools, knowledge and attitude that will help them make profits. Alistair swears by a three-reporting system that is composed of the following: Budgeting, Forecasting and Profitability Reporting.

Budgeting & Forecasting

Alistair revealed that one of the most underrated but probably the most helpful things that most venue owners don’t do is Budgeting. Alistair sees to it to perform this crucial report together with his clients before the start of the financial year, highlighting how it allows venue owners to set clear goals for everyone involved.

“I find that one of the most important ingredients to what truly makes up a profitable venue is budgeting. Otherwise, we’re just flying blind. We want to plan to make a profit, not hope we make a profit.”

He also encourages his clients to couple this with a simple weekly forecasting tool to help them achieve these set targets and generate profitable results for the venue. “This is where our tagline ‘Looking Forward’ came from,” Alistair adds.

This approach to reporting, according to Alistair, is an empowering tool that allows people in the venue to take the right steps towards making more profits. The budget serves as the big picture to keep everyone’s focus, while the forecasting trains them to look ahead of what’s to come so they can take advantage of good weeks, while a seemingly quite week is prepared for.

Profitability Reporting and Coaching

Alistair explained that profitability boils down to effective “tracking,” such as monitoring against your budget, competitors, costs, purchases, and more.

“That’s really the answer to all this: you want to know if what you’re doing is going to result in profit or not. And if not, you want to stop doing that and start to try different ways that could. But you can’t do that if you’re not tracking your numbers accurately.”

When questioned about the best approach to tracking, he goes back to the three-reporting system his team uses, along with a profitability coach who can help you understand the results you’re getting.

Alistair admitted that unfortunately, it’s a common frustration among venue owners. They get all types of reports from their bookkeepers and yet the question remains: “Did I make money or not?” But through his simple and straightforward approach to profitability, he has made it easier for everyone involved to understand whether their venue is making profit or not

Alistair highlighted the important roles that the chefs and venue managers play in improving a venue’s profitability, which is why his program focuses on coaching them and not the venue owners per se. He underscores that his coaching sessions are interlaced with cultivating the most nuanced element in all this: a profitable mindset.

“Training these guys to understand how to use the reports and what other tools they can use in their day-to-day is the easiest to provide. But it’s the attitude and mindset that can’t be missed but harder to change overnight.”

In his coaching program, Alistair likes to use positive reinforcement. He also believes that asking questions and making suggestions are more effective approaches to getting chefs and managers on board, instead of just dictating what they do. He does this through regular online meetings where they look at how the venue performed the previous week and talk about strategies for the upcoming weeks. Alistair shared how this process fosters accountability and pro-activeness among chefs and venue managers because they are reminded where their focus should be. Wins are celebrated, while bad weeks are re-framed to be learning opportunities.

“They need to be accountable if they make the wrong decisions so they can improve their next decisions. It’s a constant feedback loop.”

Alistair and his team at Profitability Partners work with hundreds of hospitality venues across Australia, helping each one become a more successful business. Parallel to a venue with its own unique experience and story that leaves a mark on all its customers, we anticipate that Alistair’s distinctive contribution to the Hospitality industry will prove to be a catalyst for its much-needed revival, inspiring newfound hope and excitement within the community.

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