Beck Hall is a 21-room hotel and restaurant located in the idyllic Yorkshire Dales. The business prides itself on providing a friendly, welcoming customer experience, but also for taking great care of its staff.
We spoke to Andrew Macbeth, Co-Owner of Beck Hall and RotaCloud user since 2015, about how our software has streamlined his team’s rota planning and annual leave management processes — as well as helping to elevate Beck Hall’s status as an employer.
With 40 staff working a variety of different roles, Andrew and his management team certainly have their hands full, week to week.
“We've got the kitchen staff, front-of-house staff for the restaurant, housekeeping staff, and then we've got the management team as well,” Andrew told us via video call.
As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, then there’s the local weather — which can easily throw a spanner in the works for Andrew’s rotas.
“We're very weather dependent here,” Andrew explains, “The weather can have a big effect on the number of customers we get.”
“With the hotel, people generally book their rooms around two months in advance on average, so we know how full the hotel is going to be and can build the rota around it. But the lunchtime [restaurant] trade is mainly driven by the day visitors to the village,” he adds.
Beck Hall’s management team are able to make changes to their staff rotas on the fly, however, notifying their team of any shift changes with the push of a button.
“With RotaCloud, you can be a lot more agile in the way that you do rotas,” Andrew tells us.
“Rather than having to publish a week's rota and that's that, you can tweak the hours when you need to — if it starts raining later in the week and you know it's gonna be quiet, you can shorten people’s shifts, move them onto a different role, or switch things around.
“If anything changes, everyone gets a notification. Staff can just pull up their phone, and it tells them when the next shift is.”
RotaCloud’s custom role rates also help Andrew out in this regard.
“RotaCloud allows you to do much more complicated things,” Andrew told us. “You might have someone who's a housekeeper, for example, but they also cook breakfast, and the chefs get paid a higher wage than the housekeeper.
“So they can have two shifts on the same day, and they get paid different rates for different shifts — you can be a lot more flexible than you ever could with a paper rota or Excel.”
With RotaCloud, you can be a lot more agile in the way that you do rotas.
As well as being Yorkshire’s first Living Wage employer, Beck Hall’s management team also take great pains to create a superior employee experience — with RotaCloud playing a major role.
When there’s a gap in the rota, for instance, Beck Hall’s staff are invited to use the RotaCloud mobile app to claim an ‘open shift’ that they like the look of.
“Rather than force people to work more hours, we just put open shifts on,” Andrew explains.
“So if people want to make a bit more money, or they don't mind being a pot-washer or clearing table for a shift, they can claim that open shift for some extra hours.”
“We give people their regular hours, but if they want a bit more they can pick them up.”
“We don't do split shifts, and we always try to give people two days off in succession,” he adds.
And this approach has paid off. While hospitality businesses up and down the country were losing staff in the months post-lockdown, Beck Hall managed to not only retain its entire team, but actually take a few more people on.
“You only get what you give,” Andrew says. “If you look at our reviews, again and again they mention the customer service and the staff, and you know how friendly they are.
“It really reflects in the customer experience — I think it's definitely worthwhile.”
Beck Hall’s chefs, too, have stuck with the business for years, with RotaCloud’s accurate clocking in data ensuring that they always receive the correct pay.
“The culture around chefing seems to be that people are so often overworked, doing 78 hours a week,” Andrew says. “At Beck Hall, our chefs are paid hourly, so they always get paid for what they work.”
“We're also trying to get people down to four-day weeks as well. They'll do maybe 10-11 hour days, but they’re getting three days off to completely relax.
“We find that it really works,” he adds. “Our staff retention is really high — a lot of our staff have been with us for five, six years or more.”
Finally, we asked Andrew what he’d say to a hotel or restaurant owner who still swore by using Excel or paper rotas to run their business.
“I’d say, let’s go head to head and see if you can do it quicker than me,” he laughed. “Let’s see how your staff react to it, because there's no comparison really.”