Toby Smith, the chief executive of Novus Leisure, has told MCA he thinks the introduction of the night tube could lead to a shift in the dining patterns of customers in the capital as well as boosting late night venues.
Smith said one of the key focuses for the 42-strong business was creating a food offer for consumers who want to eat post-midnight. He stressed that while a predominantly wet-led business, Novus still generated significant food sales. During a record week at its Tiger Tiger London site food sales contributed £90,000 to the over-all £371,000.
He said that the introduction of the night tube from 19 August was likely to fundamentally change to capital’s late-night scene. He said while it was difficult to gauge whether the effect on Novus would be a sales uplift of “2% or 10%” it would undoubtedly be beneficial.
He said: “What is really interesting is to how restaurants change the way they operate and how they offer a dining experience at 11pm and how that differs from the experience at 8pm. I think there will be a demand for that late-night dining experience before moving on somewhere for drinks.”
On Novus’ own late-night food ambitions, Smith said: “In percentage terms food does not represent a huge part of our business but actually there are still some relatively big numbers in there.
“One of the things we are constantly striving for is to deliver well an offer that people want to eat at 1am. In the past that might not have extended much further than a bowl of chip. People are demanding a food offer that is appropriate for the time and environment.”
Smith said Novus was also looking at how it can use its venues throughout the day with a focus on events, aiming to capitalise on the prominent locations of its outlets.
Speaking at MCA’s Pub Conference earlier this year, Smith also discussed the company’s innovations in its customer experience technology.
He said the group’s customer experience dashboard utilised 600,000 pieces of data held by Novus and drew from 11 different data feeds going to one source, which staff members can access from their mobile phones.
He said: “We must be able to listen to what people are saying so that pre-booked sales are an output of the customer and not necessarily the other way round.
“It means that we can look at things in absolutely forensic detail. If, for example, we have a period where sales dipped, we can break that down into 15-minute slots. Look at how many people were working and what the impact was on the customer experience.”
He said the tool had also allowed the company to cut its response time to customers from 16 hours to 42 minutes.