Restaurant challenges facing Hook & Ladder —and why they chose Nory to overcome them

Hook & Ladder is one of Ireland’s leading hospitality groups. The cafe provides delicious artisan food, including home-baked cakes and a selection of specialty coffees and teas from multiple locations throughout the country.

But as Hook & Ladder continued to grow and open more venues, they faced some unexpected challenges. The pandemic, labour shortages, and increasing costs are just a few examples. 

The solution to these challenges? 


And more specifically, Nory. 👋

Keep reading to find out how we collaborated with Hook & Ladder to help them overcome these common restaurant challenges — and how we can help you do the same thing. 

The pre-Nory landscape at Hook & Ladder

Issues began for Hook & Ladder during the COVID-19 pandemic, when customers couldn’t attend the cafes in person. With numbers dwindling and costs rising, business was difficult — especially as they had no way of analysing sales in real-time to identify the most effective cost-cutting strategies.

In the last couple of years, the business was also hit by labour shortages. These shortages have been impacting the entire hospitality industry, with figures showing 132,000 unfilled vacancies between February and April of 2023. Hook & Ladder prides itself on being a positive place to work with opportunities for career development, but it still struggled to find the staff it needed to meet customer demand. 

“We were growing quickly but staffing was hard. Hospitality tends to be viewed as transient, but we aim to create an environment where staff stick around, providing them with opportunities to learn and grow.”

Andrew Moloney, Managing Director at Hook & Ladder
Waiter smiling at the camera holding a plate of food

All of these challenges were causing issues for the business. They lacked oversight of real-time performance, struggled to reduce costs, and found it hard to attract and retain the right staff

So, what did Hook & Ladder need to overcome these restaurant challenges?

Here’s what Hook & Ladder needed to tackle these challenges.

Consolidated data access

The business was struggling to access the data it needed to increase revenue. They didn’t have a single location to access all this key information, with data distributed across different platforms. 

With a consolidated system, they could easily view key financial insights to make informed decisions about how to improve its bottom line. 

A system to manage and track the COGs 

Hook & Ladder had no way of tracking its cost of goods sold (COGs), which is the cost of all the ingredients and materials used to make a menu item. It’s a pretty important metric when it comes to identifying ways to reduce costs and minimise food waste, so it was vital for the cafe to use a system that tracked this information. 

Chef choosing ingredients from restaurant inventory

Centralise operational tools to streamline processes

Without the right technology in place, Hook & Ladder didn’t have a way to improve their operations across the business. They were using different systems to manage different parts of the business, making it hard to create efficient processes that would improve operations. 

They needed a system that would help the cafe streamline its processes, and improve the employee experience in the process. For example, seamlessly onboarding new staff, allowing shift swaps, and instant access to schedules and payroll — all of which could help them attract and retain a dedicated workforce. 

Fortunately, they found Nory. 

Why Nory?

Hook & Ladder tracked sales through their POS system, but they never tracked the COGs. Why? Because they were using different systems to manage different parts of the business. It was impossible to identify key metrics and compare data when flicking between different systems. 

With Nory, Hook & Ladder has an all-in-one solution instead of a fragmented tech stack. They’ve consolidated their data, tracking exactly what they’re spending in real-time.

They can calculate the cost of each meal, the profit margins for every ingredient, and identify the best ways to reduce costs across the board. Gone are the days of guesswork or waiting for reports to come through before making profitable changes! 

And using Nory’s intuitive mobile app, the cafe can access this information on the go — this was a big selling point for Hook & Ladder. With the app, they’re not tied to an office to monitor key insights. They have the freedom to make smart and informed decisions from wherever they are. 

“We didn’t have anything to oversee spending on a daily basis, so it was hard to track performance and monitor costs. We needed a centralised system.”

Andrew Moloney, Managing Director at Hook & Ladder
Nory sales insights on desktop and mobile

Having a centralised system has also helped the cafe streamline its operations across different locations. 

They can visualise all the information they need in one location, instead of moving back and forth between different platforms. Now, they can manage inventory, payroll, operations, labour scheduling, and profitability all in the same platform — something that was incredibly important to Andrew when deciding which system to use. 

“The fact that Nory can bring everything together in a central location was very powerful for us.”

Andrew Moloney, Managing Director at Hook & Ladder

Finally, Nory’s workforce management features have helped the cafe improve the employee experience. Everything is digitised, easily accessible, and simple to use. From receiving tips to requesting shift swaps — it’s all in one location, and employees can access it at any time.

Expectations and looking ahead

Hook & Ladder have seen fast growth over the last few years. Now, they’re turning their attention to sustaining that growth. 

With Nory at the helm, Hook & Ladder is focusing on refining what they currently have, using our real-time insights to reduce costs and increase profits in the process. 

“For the next few years, we’re focusing on solidifying what we have and keeping our costs in check. Nory will play a vital part in this plan, giving us insight into the daily performance of all our locations.” 

Andrew Moloney, Managing Director at Hook & Ladder

As we continue working together, our team of experts will collaborate with Hook & Ladder to tailor the system to their needs. It’s our job to help users maximise Nory to get the results they want, and that’s exactly what we plan to do. 

Are you facing challenges in your restaurant? Let us help

The challenges that Hook & Ladder have faced aren’t new. In fact, they’re pretty common. 

62% of operators say their restaurant doesn’t have enough staff to support customer demand, while other trends are showing that a lot of restaurant owners aren’t sure which tech is right for their needs. 

The good news is that there are platforms out there that centralise key data and integrate with other POS systems, like Nory. 😎

Nory's restaurant P&L report

Curious to see how we can help your hospitality business grow? Reach out to the team to book a call and schedule a demo! 

FAQs about challenges in the restaurant industry

What are some challenges you face while working in the food industry?

Different challenges crop up for different types of food operators. Typically speaking, some of the common hurdles include maintaining consistent quality, managing food safety standards, navigating fluctuating costs, and keeping up with evolving consumer trends.

In the current hospitality climate, labour shortages and rising costs are some of the biggest threats.

What are the challenges of the fast food industry?

For fast food venues, common challenges include balancing food quality with speed of preparation, meeting the demand for healthier and more sustainable food choices, and maintaining brand consistency across franchise locations.

Nory success story 🥳 Find out how Groilladh used Nory to expand their restaurant franchise by 3x. Nory’s comprehensive of key metrics (such as menu sales, labour costs, and inventory management) was instrumental as Griolladh scaled. 

“Nory has been with us every step of the way. It’s been incredibly helpful to the business, and has played pivotal role in the successful franchising of Griolladh.” – Jacob Long, Co-founder at Griolladh. 

Nory success story 🥳 Find out how Groilladh used Nory to expand their restaurant franchise by 3x

Nory’s comprehensive of key metrics (such as menu sales, labour costs, and inventory management) was instrumental as Griolladh scaled. 

Read the story
Employee holding a freshly toasted sandwich from Griolladh