The scenario of this report is based on a catering company known as “Service On A Plate” that provide catering services for conferences, events, local contractors and so on. This report is based on an analysis of the conference and banqueting sector in order to analyzing its effectiveness and working practices:
- Determine the size and scope of the conference and banqueting industry as well as explain factors that can influence the development of the industry.
- Evaluate strategical and operational issues related to the management of conference and banqueting as well as explain performance and quality review techniques related to this within “Service On a Plate”.
- Describe factors related to menu planning, food production system and so on related to the conference and banqueting events in “Service On a Plate”.
This report conducts an in-depth research on the Conference and Banquet industry of UK. From the employee perspective of the catering company "service on a plate" the report addresses the general manager of the company. The catering company provides various related services like event-based catering services, conferences, banqueting as well as local contracts with large-scale organizations. Therefore, the market research information is highly significant for the long-term profitability of this company. The report covers three specific tasks in this context. The first task discusses the size and scope of this industry in the UK while analyzing the major factors of industry development. So, the major terms included here are the environment, socio-cultural points, policies, venue diversity, laws, food security, budget targets, protocols etc. Moreover, event organization is a critical term for this industry. So, the second task discusses strategic and operational issues in the management as well as performance and quality review techniques of Conference & Banquet industry. Finally, the third task evaluates the suitability of food production systems in C&B sector.
1.1 Size and scope of Conference and Banquet Industry in UK
As an industrial sector the C&B industry of UK was flourished in the middle of 19th century. In case of hospitality industry the major components are hotel, restaurant, bar, pub, bed and breakfast, cafe, fast food etc. Moreover, it involves other services like school, hospital, business organization based food and drink preparation etc. In this context, the banqueting is highly related with the hotel and hospitality industry as it provides space with food and drink services for certain events (Walker and Walker, 2016). That means different types of halls, food service companies, restaurant spaces are integrated components here. Traditionally, the banqueting business is defined as the food and beverage service to a group of people simultaneously. That means the scope of banqueting is covered by different type of local and social celebrations which collect large number of people for food and beverage services for several hours. Again, the term conference is more formal than banquet and is highly related to the business and industry. As the UK is one of the major business transaction and globalization center, therefore, it has to held various conferences per year to combine like-minded people for brainstorming, seminar, business meeting etc. Moreover, the industrial growth is highly related to the size and scope of C&B industry as industrial growth has direct impact on the economic growth terms like GDP, revenue generation, healthy market conditions which increases the cost of living and number of wealthy population. In terms of economics the UK is developed and market-oriented economy which means the production and service industry shows good growth rate consistently. In case of hospitality industry the gross industrial value is worth 36000 million pound considering the contribution of intercontinental hotel, plaza and inns. Apart from this, the tourism sector states that every year a large number of foreign population (French, Hispanic, German, Asian)comes to visit the country for business and leisure purpose. Therefore, the C&B sector has high scope in terms of domestic and foreign population. This industry is called the 17th topmost industry in UK as it combines the tourism and leisure sectors with financial growth and high employment opportunities. First of all this sector is growing faster than other industries as technical advances has helped the industrialization and its outcomes (more business meetings, coordination, collaboration) to grow rapidly (Kandampully et al, 2015). There are three different sizes of conferences and they are small, medium and large ranged in terms of duration, number of participants and economic involvement. Usually, the small conferences refer duration of one day and less than 500 participants while the medium range conferences are hold for 2-3 days with 600-1000 people. In case of large range conferences the duration is 5 days while number of people is more than 3000. According to the UK service industry the small conferences are common and covered in the corporate houses, medium and small sized restaurant as well as cost-effective halls of large restaurants. The medium and large range conferences are generally annual, shareholder or other corporate meetings of domestic and international standard and covered by global restaurant chains, plaza and major hospitality companies. From the historical data it is identified that the average events per venue is more than 350 and trend is increasing rapidly while C&B sector accounts for 61% of the business meetings today. Again, the banquet food packages of large convention hotels covers 70% of the services including hotel, pub and bars. The major UK hotels like Hilton, Marriott and Best Western have more than 10,000 C&B venues and more than thousands meeting rooms all over the UK. The major events are:
- Business meetings, exhibitions, tourism
- Festival, cultural meetings, fairs, carnivals
- Community events and outdoor events
- Live concerts, movies, shows
- Charity programs, sports events, birthday, marriage, wedding parties
The economic contribution data states that the conference and meetings generate 19.9 billion pounds annually. Moreover, the venue diversity is another attraction point for the customers. As an example, the M&IT award was held in the Villa Park which has an unusual venue. So, the major scopes of C&B sector includes:
- High economic contribution
- Large amount of diverse job generation
- Combining the other potential service sectors like tourism, leisure
- Encouraging more foreign population to visit UK
- High contribution to the service industry in terms of revenue, resource and expansion
1.2 Analysis of the developing factors for this industry
First of all the PESTLE analysis can identify the most important factors of the industry. The PESTLE analysis is given below.
: The service sector is highly dependent on the brand reputation and goodwill which means the political links must be good to make the business transaction consistent and long-term. In this context, the political stability, tax policy, foreign exchange rates, trade restrictions, environmental laws are important. Moreover, the rate of immigration has the huge impact on the C&B sector. The C&B sector is a subset of hospitality industry which means the pre-Brexit issues like high food and drink price, skill shortage is effecting the industry. The national living wage has increased the economic pressure on the UK (Jones et al, 2016). The pseudo hotel risk is emerging and that is reflected in the legal battle between Airbnb and BHA. With changing customer trends the spiraling capital rates are risky for the independent operators and indicating the inflationary environment. The cost of operation is high due to rising VAT and business rate which means the political conditions are not favorable presently.
: The terms of commercialization are related to the economic conditions of UK. In this context, the major drivers are economic growth, interest rates, inflation, disposable income, market conditions etc. After the financial crisis of 2008, the BHA predicts that economic risks are going to decrease the workforce in the C&B sector potentially. That means the economic pressure will increase the wages and business rate while contracting the labor market. In this context, the EU leaving situation is significant. Moreover, the labor productivity and tour operations are increasing which have the direct effect on industry promotion and economic value creation.
: The recent customer trend indicates that veg-friendly dishes and meat-free features are rising in the hospitality sector which means the C&B sector needs to pay attention to this plant power issue. Apart from this the sector directly employs 20% of the overall employed population and the rich history of cultural events influences more corporate and social gatherings in the country. The health consciousness, public freedom, and career attitudes construct the drivers of this sector where globalization has included diverse workforce from different cultural backgrounds. To present the standard business structure cross-cultural training are important to cultural awareness.
: With rapid technological advances the industry now is more dependent on technology which means the growth trend must be consistent with industry survival. As C&B sector is still considered as emerging, therefore, data privacy and security are highly important terms here. The customers are demanding unique presentation and events which is increasing the competitive pressure. As an example, the 3D printer based food and drink creation, fusion food festivals are attracting customers while conventional C&B servers are not ready to serve them. The food-led license has increased by 14.9% while the eating out trend has reduced by 47%. Again, the internet has increased the knowledge base of customers which is reflected in the low alcohol consumption and 45% of the Pub and Bar revenue is generated from the food services (Kim et al, 2015). Moreover, digital services and social media tools are directly influencing the brand reputations.
: The legal environment is highly complex for this emerging industry as the major components are health and safety manuals, customer rights, product and packaging rules, event management, traffic control protocols etc. In this context, the business names act, trade description act, data protection act, furniture and furnishing regulation act, gas safety regulation as well as health and safety work act are important.
: The product presentation, recycling, and waste management strategy are targeting more green technology and equipment to the present day. In this context, use of plastic alternatives, safe areas, and signs near congested areas are significant.
2.1 The key strategic and operational issues of Conference and Banquet management
As the corporate activities are increasing, therefore, identifying the strategic and operational issues are highly important. The issues are discussed below:
Price and packaging
: Considering the competitive market the C&B sector needs to use flexible pricing and value-added packaging while dealing with domestic and international customers. Moreover, the range and scope of customization must be dynamic to deal with sudden changes in the strategy according to the customer demand. Again, the cultural aspects are the critical point as C&B sector deals with culturally diverse customers and workforce.
Discounts and offers
: This is the most fundamental strategy to attract customers. Most of the unique and creative events spaces are located away from residential areas and the uptown event spaces are costly (Wang et al, 2014). Considering the seasonal increase in population the discount and various offers (free service, low-cost decoration) can be the example of value based proposals for UK customers (C&B)
Licensing and protocols
: In case of business the local council provides relevant licenses where different terms of disruption must be considered. Moreover, the event management should cover traffic, food workplace security protocols to provide error-free services.
Health & safety regulations
: The workforce must have relevant experience and standard certificates to work in preparation (food and drinks), serving and protection. In this context, the C&B employers must follow recruitment and fair work act terms to introduce hazard free environment. Moreover, the gas, furniture, traffic rules and food security regulations must be followed via regular training sessions as well as seminar and webinars to provide global standard service.
Cultural and religious guidelines
: The international standard reflects certain limitations for religion and culture acceptance. As the workforce and consumers are diverse therefore the advertisement and other promotional events must follow the relevant guidelines without harming any religious or cultural viewpoints (Radojevic et al, 2015).
Food production styles
: The principles cover the starting and ending points of the food production which means the ingredient selection, processing, cooking, quality maintenance, transportation are included here. Moreover, the kitchen environment must be satisfactory in terms of the cook, chef, helper, and servers.
2.2 Performance and quality review techniques used in Conference & Banquet industry
The review techniques cover the present and future events using widely accepted practices and procedures. The major review techniques are given below:
: This majorly refers the function sheet which lists all the bookings of events, conferences with style, type and scalability factors. According to the document the price and service details will be recorded with major contact details as well as deposit amount, inquiry points etc. This document is a real-time proof can help to identify the quality of the service provided by the industry (Calhoun, 2017). Another similar document is the booking diary which can help as a reminder of upcoming events with related activities and actors therefore after the event checking the diary can help to review the performance considering the outcome. The other helps are contract terms and overall quality report from different actors.
: Usually, the planning stage allocates a particular sum of money which changes with the inclusion of different phases at the end. Considering the series of events the total budget sum is identified in the process breakdown schedule and reviewing the same can be helpful as a performance indicator.
Service and dress code review
: Apart from event activities the food and drink service review can be done using the food and health guidelines as well as fair work principles. In case of dress code, the specific features per event should be maintained and the worksheet of the organization can prove the actual conditions.
: According to the contract, the organizational fact sheet will cover the table plan, decoration, mode of transportation and at the completion point the issues are checked comparing the given conditions and maintained conditions (Jones et al, 2016).
Contingency plan review
: Even the most accurate event can face uncertain issues, therefore, this review will check the major risks like natural calamities, shortage of supply, low workforce, poor quality, traffic risks etc. Moreover, delay and outsourcing issues can be hazardous too which determines the requirement of alternate plans here.
3.1 Food production system and styles
According to the size of conference and banquet, there will be different food supply system and beverage specifications. Moreover, the culturally diverse customers can demand different types of food according to their domestic environment. Usually, big conferences are completed by large dinner parties while low and medium range conferences use a short cocktail or mocktail parties considering the themes (Walker and Walker, 2016). In this context, the banquet service support is important with unlimited tea and coffee services. Again, the seasons are major components of different themes. As an example, the summer conferences use soft drink support while autumn and winter conferences use gala dinner parties with hard drink supports. The food items must be fresh, hygienic according to the menu plans and supportive to the hazard control measures. In this context, the salad, meat-free food services are significant. Finally, the service must be adequate according to the venue area and environment considering the legal terms and conditions.
In conclusion, it can be said that C&B as an emerging sector must consider the economic and political issues of hospitality and tourism industry to survive for the long term.