Paper vs Digital: The real cost of inefficient operations

Switching from paper to digital is a small step for your business, but transformative for your teams.
Gemma Thomas
Feb 2022
4 min read

The best brands are embracing digital tools, using tech instead of resources to save time and focus their teams on customer experience.

And if you have a reduced head office count right now, digital tools can help you do more with less. Communicate clearly to sites and manage teams remotely with less site visits.

Hospitality operations have moved forward. Don’t get left behind.

Why companies choose paper

“Why pay for a digital system when my teams already know what to do and everything's working fine on paper?”

We hear this a lot. You already have your operations laid out on paper. Your teams are experienced and know what to do each day. The paperwork is purely there to keep the EHO happy.

Plus, the time and cost it takes to implement a new tech system prevents managers from switching to digital. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

But paper isn’t as cheap or easy as it seems.

Paperwork is time-consuming and resource-heavy. If you’re spending time on repetitive admin, you’re not being efficient, and you’re losing time with your customers. This opportunity-cost impacts the bottom line.

How much does it really cost to run your operations on paper?

There are three big areas where paper could be draining your time, money and resources:

1. Team productivity
2. Site Overheads
3. Head Office

Here we'll look at the true cost of paper operations and where you can cut costs and save time.

1. Team Productivity:

Training Employees

A typical day of training for a new team member is 8 hours. With high staff turnover in hospitality businesses, training can become a drain on managers time. Trail tells teams exactly what to do and when to do it. New starters and casual staff get up to speed from day one, no training needed.
Gails saved 15 hrs saved each month on site training

Average Customer Saving: 20 hours per site/year

Equipment Monitoring Checks

It may seem like monitoring equipment on paper is quick and easy, but all those repetitive checks soon add up. Let's say you have 6 fridges per site; with quicker data entry, automated checks and hardware integrations, Trail could save you 24 minutes per day on those fridge checks alone. That's 2 extra hours per site per week to spend with customers and boost your bottom line.
"Trail has cut site admin, so now we have more time to coach teams and focus on our unique customer experience." GAIL'S

Average Customer Saving: 81 hours per site/year

Email & Head Office Communication

Good communication between head office and teams is key to running a tight ship. But email chains and WhatsApp groups can cause a lot of noise at site level. Teams on site receive an average of 25 emails per day, each one taking 30 seconds to 2 minutes in reading time. With better communication, Trail reduces this to 6 emails per day, giving teams valuable time back to focus on creating better customer experience and staying ahead of the competition.
"It’s the app I can’t live without in my working day." Beth, GM at New World Trading Company

Average Customer Saving: 76 hours per site/year

Printing & Managing Paper

Let's say printing takes around 10 seconds per page, with the average site using a ream of paper each month. Again, these seemingly small jobs really start to add up. With Trail, all the daily tasks are instantly at your fingertips – nothing to print, nothing to download. Trail’s digital checklists are designed for speed and simplicity, so your team have more time front of house boosting sales instead of back of house waiting by the printer.
wagamama eliminated a 90-page paper log book in each site

Average Saving: 24 hours per site/year

Customer savings on staff training

"Trail has cut site admin, so now we have more time to coach teams and focus on our unique customer experience." GAIL'S

2. Site Overheads:

Printing manuals, paper and stationery

Aside from the time spent printing, there is the cost of printing too. To print a ream of paper each month costs around £30 and £2.50 for the paper — and there’s the environmental cost too. Going digital means cutting printing, paper and stationery costs, and it's more sustainable.
Bills saved £85 per site/month on paper printing & storage costs.

Average Customer Saving: £390 per site/year

Insurance premium reductions

Typical insurance premiums are £100 a month. With more accurate accident and incident reporting, Trail customers have negotiated 10% reduction on their premiums.
Bills reduced insurance claims with 100% compliance on Accident and Incident reporting.

Average Customer Saving: £120 per site/year

Maintenance callouts

Maintenance callouts are typically £150 each and the average site tends to have one call out per month. By giving you better visibility, Trail helps you catch maintenance issues, so you can action them early, and reduce the need for call outs.
Tossed saved £150 per site/month on call outs.

Average Customer Saving: £1800 per site/year

Unaccounted cash

With better processes, Trail reduces unaccounted cash by 25%.
Average Customer Saving: £450 per site/year

Use our calculator to discover where you could cut site overheads and make cost savings.

Customer savings on maintenance callouts

"Trail has given us realtime insight into every facility across our estate, so we can react to maintenance issues before they become large." Gymbox

3. Head Office Savings:

Quarterly site audits

An average site has 4 health & safety audits per year which can take up to 6 hours each and two financial audits which can take 2 hours. With Trail, dashboards and daily reports highlight issues in real-time so you don't need to wait for an audit to find out what's happening in your sites. This reduces audit times by 50%.
Ei Group saved 3000 hours each year on audits across their sites.

Average Customer Saving: 22 hours per site/year.  

Maintaining brand standards

Reduce time spent on maintaining brand standards, from new menu launches to stock displays. Videos and guides can be added to tasks on Trail to make sure all your teams know exactly what to do. Teams can add photos to tasks to ensure consistency, reducing site visits and calls.
"We reached 25 restaurants and took Honest out of London for the first time." Honest Burgers

Average Customer Saving: 32 hours site/year

Discover how Trail can help you hit consistently high standards.

Wasted site visits

When you operate on paper, area managers need to travel from site to site, trawling through binders to find out where the problems are. Trail gives you real-time visibility of site performance from wherever you are. Managers can focus their attention where it's needed most, reducing site visits and ultimately allowing them to manage more sites.
Ei Group saw 10% reduction in Head Office overheads associated with scale.

Average Customer Saving: 36 hours per site/year.

Email & Site communication

With clearer communication from head office to sites, Trail cuts 25% of managers emails—that's 13 less emails out of 50 per day (Hurrah!). Managers spend less time chasing and more time supporting and coaching their teams.

Average Customer Saving: 39 hours per site/year

Customer savings on audits

"Trail reduced the amount of time we need to spend on internal audits, which has been a great cost-saving for us." New World Trading Company

Average savings with Trail: £6437 per site/year

The choice is yours

We’re a little biased, but as a productivity app, we know how much time, effort and money it takes to run great sites. That’s why we created Trail: to make it easier for companies to run sites, so they can deliver excellent customer experiences.

Teams know what they need to do, managers know it’s done. And head office can spend less time chasing and more time supporting their teams.

Everyone is happier and more productive. And customers notice it.

Trail app banner advert

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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