What’s your mark of a successful holiday season — full venues, strong margins and satisfied customers who’ll return in the New Year? Here’s how tech can help you to achieve your goals …
Hospitality businesses will be craving some sort of ‘normality’ over coming weeks, with many still reeling from the impact of pandemic restrictions, supply shortages, and cost increases.
The desire to boost revenues and recover losses is overwhelming. But in the scramble to succeed, restaurants must keep a watch on margins, quality and costs.
Here are five ways to improve your performance over the holidays:
#1: Focus on the profitability of your dishes
With Next-Gen restaurant tech, it’s possible to know the precise margin on every starter, main dish, side, dessert and drink on your holiday menu — and the cost difference if you make any tiny changes to ingredients and portion sizes over the holiday period.
Once you’ve optimised each dish, you can rank them according to margin. Using this information, you can promote the most profitable ones on your social media channels, via in-store signage and through your serving staff. With the right tech, you can track the daily sales of every dish.
#2: Equip your staff to work comfortably at speed
Seasonal goodwill among customers can evaporate quickly if they get a sniff of any miscommunication, delay or chaos happening amid in the middle of service when front-of-house teams and kitchen staff are working at full tilt. But the best restaurant tech can help you to plan ahead, keep service moving briskly and free up more time to focus on customers.
Assigning the right number of staff for each shift is critical. But new tools allow you to optimise your staff schedules based on trustworthy system forecasts around likely demand. You can then communicate rotas for employees to see when they log in, just to make sure there’s no room for confusion and you’re not short-staffed.
In the kitchen, restaurant tech can automatically generate accurate prep plans based on sales forecasts, so your chefs can get well ahead, before the rush starts. Prep plans are also optimised for the correct portion sizes, minimising waste.
Once service is underway, Smart Table Service can save around 20% of time for waiting staff as well as easing the pressure on the kitchen. With a handheld device, staff can take more orders, send them instantly to the kitchen, and take payments and turn tables faster.
#3: Watch inventory like a hawk
With the best tech, you can plan your supplier orders with precision accuracy, weeks in advance. But you still need a fast and easy way to run stock checks over the holiday period. Otherwise, your seasonal menu and extra revenue from drinks sales could be torpedoed.
Next-Gen tools can give you a light-touch way to check inventory — with a few clicks and swipes that confirm what’s in the larder equates to what your system is telling you. Staff members can run checks in minutes using a tablet or mobile phone — and the data appears in real-time on your system. As a result, you can avoid a last-minute panic and a dash to purchase extra stock when suppliers have run dry or just finished their last deliveries.
#4: Don’t let money slip through your fingers
Amid the seasonal frenzy, it’s easy for staff to feel they’re too busy to record what seems like ‘minor details’, such as wastages, write-offs, breakages and discounts. But these items can stack up — and put a serious dent in your profit. Fortunately, Next-Gen tech means there’s no excuse for any event to go unreported. Staff must add them to the system in a few clicks.
On its own, this level of accountability could lead to an improvement in some of these areas, as staff take greater care. Having a record on the system can also save you from relying on shift leaders to pass on messages — or wasting time trying to figure why stock is missing or why there’s an unexplained blip in revenue. It could also flag up the need for any extra training for some staff members around service, quality and company policies.
#5: Reward your star players — based on results
Staff members are more likely to put in a great performance if they know it’ll be recognised — not just by their shift leader, but by the wider management and colleagues. Being appreciated will also boost loyalty among staff going into 2022.
The best tech will record attendance, kitchen productivity and sales from waiting staff, as well as whether targets were achieved. It’s possible to create incentives, rewards and recognition schemes among your teams. These can relate to individuals, teams, shifts and how venues perform against each other. The facts will speak for themselves and the system will have all the scores and tallies recorded for you.
So how did you do this holiday season?
With the right tech, you don’t need to wait until January to find out your profit & loss. Just login from anywhere, 24/7, and check your restaurant’s performance, moment by moment.
Here’s hoping you set some impressive sales records, amazing margins and remarkable profits.
Best wishes from iiko for the holiday season.