Online ordering Apps for pubs and restaurants

Online ordering Apps for pubs and restaurants

The UK’ s four biggest pub chains, representing a quarter of the market – Wetherspoons, Greene King, Mitchells and Butlers and Stonegate  –  all now have their own in house apps. The developers behind apps for independent venues say they have seen huge growth during the pandemic.

They all say they follow the guidelines informing customers of their rights and how their data will be dealt with. But those terms and conditions are unlikely to be closely read by a lot of people.

Over the last year, lots of businesses have suddenly got a mountain of information about their customers that they didn’t have before. Your local pub knows your name, an email address, maybe your date of birth, maybe your home address.

For the bar or pub, that is incredibly valuable information, worth much more than the round you just bought. It tells them what you like drinking, what time you are likely to visit, who you were sitting with and how frequently you reorder.

The ICO said sharing personal data was far from obligatory. Advising, customers need to understand they do have a choice. We are now coming out of the pandemic and the is the ability to order on the app or in the more traditional way. It is very easy for people to just see the end product, and because they want that, they really don’t question the amount of data that they are being asked for.

Ultimately this is your data. It is your personal information, and you need to be confident when you are handing it over and the reasons why.

Online ordering is popular with many customers, sparing them the crush at the bar and helping to reduce the risk from Covid.

But they are popular with businesses too because they speed up the ordering process and provide an additional way to interact with customers. Apps now handle millions of pounds worth of transactions every day.

And it looks as though they are here to stay. Apart from in Northern Ireland, where you still have to be served at the table, restaurants and bars across the UK can now return to pre-pandemic style service at the bar or from waiting staff. But most are keeping their online ordering too.

This way of ordering becomes a faceless experience for the customer and does not encourage what the whole pub experience is about, community! that what our local pub is for, to connect with people. These modern dat app’s make out they are making life easier but in reality they are doing more harm. just look at what Facebook and the other social networking sites are doing to our young children!

Thank goodness at present you still can walk up to a fruit machine in your local pub and play that in person. The way things are changing this will probably be done on their phone very soon.

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MOST GOOGLED REVIEWED MACHINE COMPANY

MOST GOOGLED REVIEWED MACHINE COMPANY

We are pleased to say that Comrie Automatics are the most Google reviewed fruit machine supplier in the UK.

Also, to add to this we have a 5 Star rating on Google which we are very proud of.

This is testament to our great service team who do such a fantastic job in keeping our customers happy.

The most important part of this industry is providing a First Class back up service, because if your  fruit machines, pool tables or Jukeboxes are not working they are not earning you money.

We take a lot of pride in making sure we respond as soon as possible to any call outs. This has then filtered back with some great reviews.

At the time of posting this blog, we have had 44 happy customer reviews, with hopefully many more to come.

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Cash is disappearing

CASH PAYMENTS DECLINE 35% DURING 2020

The 2020 annual report from UK Finance has revealed a 35 percent drop in cash payments in 2019, as debit card usage increased to represent 44 percent of all transactions.

Despite a fall in overall payments, restrictions on movement and social engagement saw cashless continue the upward trajectory established pre-pandemic.

The report has added interesting context to a year in which prevailing trends in the UK payments market were accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ongoing public health situation unsurprisingly saw overall payment volumes decrease by 11 percent as lockdowns slowed the economy and contributed to a 35 percent drop in cash payments from 2019.

Just over a quarter of all payments made during the period were through contactless methods, including mobile payment which increased 75 percent during 2020 as payments technology continued to evolve.

It will not be long until fruit machines in pubs take card payments. As of writing this gambling machines cannot legally accept card payments to play, but the technology is there and just waiting for changes to the law.

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New £50 note enters circulation – will it be the last one?

New £50 note enters circulation – will it be the last one?

The Bank of England’s new polymer £50 note has entered circulation, marking the 109th anniversary of the birth of it subject – pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing.

Despite there currently being 357 million £50 notes in circulation, the new launch comes as the use of high-denomination notes, and cash itself, suffer a significant decline.

The Guardian reported – with consumers increasingly going cashless, for million of people it may be months or even years before they see or touch one. Even before the pandemic, many people only rarely encountered a £50 note, and the coronavirus crisis has triggered a slump in the use of cash which could end up being permanent.

The release of the new £50 note marks the completion of the UK’s switch to polymer notes, as well as the first open depiction of a LGBTQ+ figure on a banknote.

During his lifetime, Turing created the breakthrough machine that helped win the Second World War, but was persecuted by the government for his homosexuality, and chemically castrated, before taking his own life in 1954.

But, with a £50 note the going rate for two testicles and winning WW2, what price then the future of cash in the UK?

At Comrie we are regularly seeing a shortage of £1 coins in machines and landlords telling us that lots of their customers are not carrying cash to play the machines. The only way to play a fruit machine in a pub or social club in the UK is by inserting cash, which needs to change to keep up with modern society.

 

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Outrageous Taxes on Pubs and Clubs

Weatherspoon, its customers, and employees have paid £6.1 billion of tax to the government in the last 10 years!

In Wetherspoon’s 2019 financial year, before COVID 19, it generates £764.4 million in tax – about £1 in every £1000 of all UK government taxes. The average tax generated per pub in 2019 was £871,000.

In the financial year ended July 2020, when pubs were closed for a long period, and the company made a substantial loss, £436.7 million of taxes were generated, net of furlough payments.

Of the company’s financial years 2011-20 the taxes amounted to about 42% of every £1 which went “over the bar” net of VAT – about 11 times the company’s profit.

Ben Whitely, Weatherspoon’s Finance Direct said “pub companies pay enormous amounts of tax, but that is not always well understood by the companies themselves since most taxes are hidden in a financial fog.

This data highlights the amount of tax which the company , its customers and employees have generated, highlighting the importance if the hospitality sector to the nation’s finances.

Weatherspoon understand the need for taxes, yet, like the hospitality industry generally, believes that there should be tax equality among supermarkets, pubs, restaurants and similar businesses.

Until recently, supermarkets have paid zero VAT on food sales, whereas pubs, restaurants, and hotels, for example, have paid 20%.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a temporary reduction last summer to 5% VAT for pub and restaurant food sales, but the government intends to revert to 20% this year.

Pubs also pay about 20p a pint in business rates, whereas supermarkets pay only about 2p.

It does seem wrong that dinner parties in Chelsea, for example, pay zero VAT for food bought from supermarkets, when pub customers normally pay 20% VAT for fish and chips.

Weatherspoon’s, concluded “Equality and fairness are important principles of efficient tax regimes, and we urge the government to introduce equality in this area – sensible tax policies will increase investment and government revenues.”

While I am not a massive Weatherspoon’s pub fan, preferring a independent local pub whenever going for a pint. they really are making a good piont of not only the amount of taxes a pub contributes to the governments coffers. Also the unlevel playing field with supermarkets, in comparison to the duty levels. Add to the fact many of the supermarkets got business rates relief during Covid while they were trading their socks off! A few did repay this money but others pocketed the money along with massive profits!!!

Comrie have heard complaints along the lines above from the many pubs and social clubs we hire our fruit machines to and have to agree this needs to be addressed.

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Surprise! Surprise! Bookies Get The Nod….

Surprise! Surprise! Licensed Betting Office   ……. Getting preferential treatment?

The not unexpected news to allow high street Licensed Betting Office (LBOs) to trade from April and to kick the interests of the Adult Gaming Centre (AGC) sector down the road – again! Left me with a mix of anger and resignation. Anger because no one in The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) seems to have listened to or noticed what we have done as a sector and resignation because that’s the way it is.

For the benefit of our friends at DCMS let’s take the opportunity to set out the facts. LBO’s like AGCs operate on the high street. Both have small footfalls, neither sell alcohol, they share some customers and provide similar gaming machines with the same number of hard surfaces.

LBOs and AGCs have implemented strict cleaning protocols, under pinned by social distancing clear signage.

Unlike LBOs where staff are often seated behind AGC staff walk the floor, direct customers, police the regulations and clean machines thoroughly before and after each customer has played them. Can anyone anywhere provide a plausible reason why LBOs should be open when AGCs, their neighbours on the high street, remain closed?

My industry has gone way beyond what any other retail sector has done!

Hairdressers and nail bars which involve touching customers – will be open before us which simply does not stack-up.

Is it too much to get a proper grown-up explanation from DCMS to explain why? (The above is from John White BACTA chief executive)

We at Comrie think it is disgraceful to allow one part of the industry to open up a month before all other parts. Amusement arcades, bowling alleys, bingo halls and many other industry’s have been made to wait. We will all miss out on the pent up trading that will follow and another month of losses which is taking its toll on so many businesses!

This stinks of who has the most lobbing power with the government, which in turn means who throws the most money at it…..Bookmakers and on-line gambling have had it there way for far too long. We only have to look how they milked FOBT’s and did not care one bit about the harm they were doing with the high limits. On-line betting and gambling needs a complete overhaul as you can literally lose your home in one evening. Is this protecting and value the interests of the UK public???

Here at Comrie and other fruit machine suppliers, we will all be waiting with bated breath to see how many of our pub and social club customers come out the other end of this enforce longer than needed lock down.

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Is the end of the free to use ATM’s in sight?

Is the end of the free to use ATM’s in sight?

The latest analysis by the consumer champion shows a spike in the number of people forced to pay withdraw their own money from cash machines with experts warning that half of Britain’s ATM’s could close within two years.

According to Which? the findings highlight the need for urgent clarity and direction from the government on the role of cash in the future including specific details about how it will ensure that cash continues to be a viable payment method for those that need it.

Since 2018, two Birmingham constituencies have seen 44 and 41 percent reductions in free to use ATMs, but both had a 50 percent increase in pay to use machines.

Nottingham East has seen 43 percent of free cash machines closed but an 11 percent increase in pay to use machines. All three locations are within the top 10 percent for deprivation in England.

The results are particularly concerning as previous research has shown that those in more deprived areas are more likely to use cash. ATM’s are the most commonly used means of withdrawing cash, with UK Finance figures showing that 91 percent of cash withdrawals took place through ATM’s in 2019.

So what does the future hold for our ATM’s? As we have mentioned a few times on this blog, cash is disappearing fast. We are heading to a cashless society, which has many positives! but there are many people who rely on cash and this is usually the old and poorer sections of our community’s. It is sad to see so many banks removing there free to use cash points and seeing them replaced by private pay to use cash points hitting the most needy.

Fruit machines in pubs are not legally allowed to accept card payments to play them, even though the technology is there and ready to go.  Our industry is pushing hard for this as we are one of the few industry’s that card payments are not accepted. Watch this space for when this regulation changes and another step towards our cashless society happens!

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BUDGET UPDATE ON THE 3RD MARCH 2021

BUDGET UPDATE ON THE 3RD MARCH 2021

After a difficult 12 months, please see below the summary of the announcements made in todays budget.

We are pleased to see the extension of the CJRS and the rates relief and grants for retail leisure and hospitality albeit that they will not be as generous as previously.

We are however deeply frustrated that the Chancellor did not take the opportunity to include seaside amusement arcades in his 5% VAT relief.  He was also totally silent on support for supply chains.  That is a huge oversight and jeopardises the recovery.  For companies so badly affected the 25% Corporation Tax rate from April 2023 for companies with profits over £250k is a kick in the teeth.  New loans are just adding more debt to already distressed companies.   We have written to the Chancellor to make these points very forcibly.

BUDGET SUMMAY

Economic forecast:

  • OBR expects economy to grow by 4% this year – forecasting a “swifter and more sustained recovery” than they were expecting in November.
  • Now expected that the economy will recover to its pre-Covid level by the middle of next year – six months earlier than previously expected.
  • There will be growth of 7.3% in 2022, then 1.7%, 1.6% and 1.7% in the following years.
  • In five years’ time, the OBR still expects the economy to be 3% smaller than it would have been.
  • This year the UK has borrowed £355bn. 17% of national income. Next year borrowing will be 10.3% of GDP. Because of the measures taken today, it will fall to 4.5% of GDP in 2023, then 3.5%, then 2.9%, then 2.8%.

Key announcements:

  • The 100% Business Rates Holiday will continue until the end of June. For the remaining nine months of the financial year, business rates will still be discounted by two thirds, up to a value of £2m for closed businesses.
  • The 5% reduced rate of VAT will be extended for six months to 30th September. It will then have an interim rate of 12.5% for another six months.
  • Gaming Duties will rise in line with RPI.
  • A new Recovery Loans Scheme will come into force in April, where businesses of any size can apply for loans from £25,000 – £10,000,000, through to the end of this year. Government will guarantee up to 80% of lending by providers.
  • Furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September. From July onwards, the Government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours – 10% in July, 20% in August and September.
  • A new Restart Grant Scheme: £5bn fund to help High Street shops and hospitality firms recover with non-essential retail eligible for grants up to £6,000 and hospitality and leisure businesses more impacted eligible for grants up to £18,000.
  • In 2023 the rate of corporation tax, paid on company profits, will increase to 25%. a new Small Profits Rate at 19% will be introduced for businesses with profits of £50,000 or less. Above £50,000, the Corporation Tax will be tapered so only those with profit of over £250,000 pa will pay the full 25%.
  • Income Tax, VAT and National Insurance triple lock will remain in place – but Income Tax thresholds will be frozen until 2026 following this years planned uplift.
  • Extended loss carry back for businesses – up to £2,000,000 can be carried back for up to three years (specifics depend on company status).
  • Super Deduction: for the next two years when companies invest in new equipment they can offset all of the cost against tax, plus an additional 30%.
  • National Living Wage rise will continue as planned in April.
  • Incentives payment for apprentices has been doubled to £3,000 per apprentice.

There are a few things with in this budget to help pubs and social clubs, notably the Restart Grant Scheme. It needs to be easily and quickly accessible to help get premises equipped with what’s needed to not only open up but help with the extra costs of outdoor drinking. If Comrie can help you in any way with your fruit machine hire or jukebox and pool table requirements please get in touch.

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MP issued with lifetime pub ban as licensees turn bitter

MP issued with lifetime pub ban as licensees turn bitter

Publicans in Warrington have vented their anger on their Curfew supporting member of Parliament by issuing him with a lifetime ban. Andy Carter, the MP representing Warrington South, was issued the ban following a unanimous vote by the Cheshire town’s Pubwatch members.

The decision means that Carter, the Conservative MP who was only elected in 2019, has been banned from entering the town’s pubs, bars, and clubs that are members of the organisation which was formed to promote best practice with aim of achieving a safer drinking environment in all licensed premises throughout the UK.

A spokesperson for the Warrington branch told local media that the 10pm Curfew “had absolutely killed us” arguing the main trading time for town centre pubs and bars was between 11pm and 1am.

He added that the curfew was not backed by any scientific or credible evidence and that Carter had displayed zero support for the hospitality sector in tis hour of need with publicans fearful for their livelihoods.

Defending his actions and those of the government, Andy Carter responded “It is simply not true to say the government hasn’t supported the hospitality industry. Pubs have received grants, access to loans and government schemes including Eat Out to Help Out and more recently back-dated support to August for those areas which were in tier two prior to lockdown”. He went on to add, “The 10pm closing is a decision taken by central Government to help reduce the spread of the deadly virus. I am disappointed to see licensees using an important scheme like Pubwatch to keep people who go to licensed premises in Warrington Town centre safe, for political aims, it’s totally against what it was set up for and brings the scheme into disrepute.”

We totally agree the government is killing pubs and clubs. they are being used as an escape goat, when the track and trace evidence clearly proves hospitality is not a big spreader of the Covid virus. Many bars and restaurants are far safer environments than your local supermarket where everyone is going about their normal day to day. Add in to this the money that has been spent on PPE and other safety measures and now they can not open, or if in tier two only with food. This is still unviable not only for wet lead venues but also licensed premises who are not predominantly food outlets.

It is very sad to see one of Great Britain’s massive employers and nations favorites get pushed to the brink of extinction. Not to mention the many industries that feed off pubs, social clubs, bars, restaurants and night clubs. Also why should these these venues get loans and go in to debt when the rest of the retail sector is now fully up and running. Pubs due to many reasons (high rates, supermarket loss leader pricing, pub company tie-ins) had been experiencing hard times before this outbreak, so this just adds to the problem. We ourselves have experienced first hand the loss of pubs and social clubs closing down permanently and having to remove our fruit machines on hire and other equipment from these venues.

 

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KEEP SAFE FROM SCAMMERS

Unfortunately at Comrie we have been scammed numerus times by criminals breaking in to our machines and the premises they are located on. these criminals are now turning to easier and more profitable ways on-line. Below are so points that we hope will help you keep safe when paying for things on-line. It does look like the day is getting very close for fruit machines in pubs and social clubs to be able to accept debit cards as a way of payment so we have been looking at all our on-line security systems to get us ready for that day.

Data breaches, identity theft and online scams are now daily occurrences. A destructive flood of fraud sweeps the nation, leaving countless victims in its wake. Unfortunately, new and improved technology only gives fraudsters an edge, making it easier than ever for scam artists to steal financial and personal data from unsuspecting consumers. But, there are things consumers can so to protect themselves.

Here are 10 tips to help you steer clear of some of the most common financial scams:

  1. Never transfer money to a stranger’s bank account

At some point or another, you’ve probably received an email claiming to be a family member in an emergency situation or from a complete stranger claiming they need help, all asking you to pay monies into an unknown (usually foreign) bank account. DON’T DO IT! If you are concerned about the family member – contact them, their email has probably been hacked and they are sitting at home have a cup of tea!

Although it is one of the oldest internet scams, consumers are still falling for it. Once any monies are transferred into these accounts it is virtually impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money.

DELETE THE EMAIL – and make that call if claiming to be a relative!

  1. Don’t give out financial information

Never reveal any financial information to a person or business you don’t know, whether they contact you via phone, text or email. Scammers will sometimes email or call you, claiming to be from a retailer, financial institution or government agency. They may say your account has been compromised or needs to be updates. More often than not, these crooks are trying to trick you in to giving them your credit card number, NI number or other financial information.

This common scam is known as phishing. Remember your bank or Credit Card Company will never contact you and ask for personal information. If you receive, a suspicious call or email and are concerned about your account, call the credit card company or bank directly to check.

  1. Never click on hyperlinks in emails

If you receive an email from a stranger or company asking you to click on the hyperlink or open an attachment and then enter your financial information, delete or report the email as spam immediately. Even if the email appears to be or looks like it from your bank or credit card company, it is more likely to be a scam!

  1. Use tough to crack passwords

These day, a password like “12345” or “fluffy” just isn’t going to cut it. Hackers can easily crack password that are simple number combinations for a common pet name. Create passwords that are at least eight characters long and that include some lower case and upper case letters, numbers and special characters. You should also use a different password for every website you visit.

How on earth can I remember 20 different passwords that look something like 5Rg@67&bt3? I hear you ask. That’s where a password programme like Roboform or LastPass can help. These handy programs can help you generate strong passwords and securely and quickly access them when you need them.

  1. Never give out your National Insurance number

If you receive an email or visit a website that asks for your number, DON’T SO IT! It is more likely a scam. Legitimate businesses rarely ask for this information.

  1. Install antivirus and spyware protection

Protect sensitive information stored on your computer by installing antivirus, firewall and spyware protection. Once you have installed the program, make sure you turn on the auto-update feature to make sure the software is always up to date.

  1. Don’t shop with unfamiliar online retailers

When it comes to shopping online, only do business with familiar companies. If you are interested in making a purchase from an unfamiliar retailer, make sure you do some research to ensure the business is legit and trustworthy. ie; search online for consumer feedback and complaints.

  1. Don’t download software from pop-up windows

When you are online, be wary of pop-up windows that appear and claim your computer is unsafe. If you click on the link in the op-up to start the “system scan” or some other program, malicious software known as “malware” could damage your operating system.

  1. Make sure the websites you visit are safe

Before you enter your financial information on any website, double check the website’s privacy policy rules. Also make sure the website uses encryption, which is usually symbolised by a lock to the left of the website address. When you see the lock, this means the information you are entering is safely encrypted and protected against hackers.

  1. Only donate to charities you Know

If you receive a call or email solicitation for a charity looking for donations, do your homework before you take out your credit card. Some scammers create bogus charities to steal credit card information. You can search for legitimate charities on the Charities Commission website.

I hope by reading this it will stop you becoming pray to these heartless scammers.

Remember your personal and financial details belong to you! Don’t let them into the hands of strangers.

 

 

 

 

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