At S4Labour we are often approached by operators who ask for help controlling costs in their venues. While we can certainly oblige in this, an often overlooked yet equally significant factor in promoting the overall health of a hospitality business is driving increased sales. Here are our top tips.
Forecast Sales to Deploy Efficiently
Avoiding understaffing is critical to growing sales in any business. It’s far easier for team members of upsell to customers and deliver the memorable experiences that will earn repeat custom if they aren’t stretched too thin. Spending time trying to hone in on an accurate sales forecast for each area of your business will allow you to write a rota to maximise sales without compromising on cost controls.
Right-Size your Team
Happy, motivated staff are the best at selling. Staff are much more likely to feel content at work if they are working the number of hours they want, and this can really show in their approach to serving customers. Before recruiting any new team members, it’s a good idea to make sure their expectations for shift length and frequency match the needs of the business. There’s little point hiring somebody looking for a full time position if you just need Saturday night cover. A misalignment between the number of hours a venue needs to spend and the number its staff expect to work can lead to high staff turnover, poor service, and reduced sales.
Balance Front of House and Kitchen
Striking the right balance between front of house and kitchen staffing is key to maximising overall revenues in many venues. We often speak to general managers who are very FOH-focused and see running the kitchen as something of a dark art that they are happy to leave to the head chef. But spending some time getting to really understand the challenges, capabilities, and limitations of your kitchen set-up will allow you to optimise staffing levels in it. This leads to more efficient processes, better relationships between kitchen and customer-facing staff, and increased sales.
S4Labour provides insight to empower managers to take control of all aspects of their business, making tough conversations easy.
Properly Plan for Ancillary Tasks
Especially at busy times, it’s a good idea to plan enough labour to cover all the extra tasks that go into running a shift in a busy venue. You may know that you need four employees on the bar to deliver the sales you’re expecting on a weekend evening, but if one of them has to spend half the night collecting glasses and another is constantly restocking fridges and fetching ice, service speed and standards soon start to suffer. This caps sales both in the short term, with customers unwilling to brave a long queue, and longer term, as they may not ever return.
Embrace the Tripadvisor Generation
Like it or loathe it, we live in a time when online reviews from the public can have a huge impact on a venue’s reputation and future revenues. Engage with people who leave feedback on Tripadvisor, Facebook, and Google Reviews to encourage those who enjoyed their visit to return and to repair relationships with less satisfied visitors. It can also be beneficial to gently nudge your most complimentary customers towards these platforms, but beware of laying it on too thickly, which can easily have the opposite to intended effect.