Written by Rachel Cooke
Published on June 7, 2022
Almond pubs case study

Almond Pubs is a four pub chain with approximately 170 members of staff. Before joining Troncmasters in 2021, their tips were administered in-house by Hayley HR Manager. While there were no huge problems with Hayley administering them, it was inefficient. As a result, it was not maximising the NI savings that can be made with an efficient and independently managed tronc scheme.

As a Dataplan payroll client, Hayley first heard about Troncmasters on a phone call with Katie Linstead, following watching a Dataplan webinar on Salary Sacrifice Pensions. They came to discussing issues facing the hospitality industry, including the rising costs from April 2022, and how besides looking at Salary Sacrifice pensions, a compliant Tronc scheme could help them make savings. Hayley explained that Troncmasters was "a winner all round, this year in particular with the VAT rate returning to 20% for the hospitality industry and all of our overheads going up significantly.

We decided that anything that can save the company a bit of money and make our staff better off was worth doing.”

CHOOSING TRONCMASTERS

After learning that Troncmasters was owned by the same company as their payroll provider, the decision to switch was not difficult.

Hayley said, "it made sense as Dataplan are our payroll providers, and Troncmasters is associated with them." Being in the hospitality industry, Almond Pubs teams are on 4-weekly pay cycles, which means their deadlines are tight. They upload their input on a Monday, and then the payroll is finalised by 4 pm on a Wednesday.

They did consider one other provider but found their solution clunky and didn't like that it would be another third party to deal with; Hayley continued, "we didn't want to add in another platform for everybody to be using."

WORKING WITH TRONCMASTERS

Almond Pubs have found the process smooth throughout, from their initial discovery call through to the ongoing administration of their tronc scheme. They have a named contact on-hand to help with any queries, but usually, it is just a case of uploading the information onto the same platform as they do their payroll, and Troncmasters take it from there.

Speaking of the implementation, Hayley commented, "it's been really easy, and it was quite clearly communicated from the beginning what our target go-live date would be and what we needed to do from both parties to make sure that it happened. So it was a really simple process to get set up."

GIVING BACK TO THE STAFF

While some organisations choose to take the tronc administration fee from the Tronc fund, Almond Pubs choose to cover this cost themselves and give the team 100% of the tips.

Hayley explained the decision, saying, "the Government are working towards that not being allowed at some point in the future, and we felt from a moral standpoint that now, more than ever, the team needs those tips, and they need 100%."

Even with the administration's cost, the company has actually saved a lot more in NI than the cost of the scheme. In addition, it is a great message to send to their employees, prospective employees and guests, which is why they have proudly printed on all their menus that 100% of their tips go to the team via a tronc scheme.

In addition to covering the scheme's cost, they have taken the benefit a step further and used the rest of the NI savings to launch a new benefit scheme for their employees.

Hayley explained, "it is the best thing we have done in a long time. Not long before joining Troncmasters, we had launched a new till system which allowed us to add a service charge for groups of six guests or more so that coupled with the tronc scheme means that the team are earning a lot more money.

 Our average tips are now between £1.80 and £2.30 an hour on top of what they are earning, adding roughly £2 per hour to everybody's wages."