With festive displays going up and lights being switched on across the country, it’s that time again – the holiday period which most hospitality businesses approach with a mix of joy and dread!
As more people seek out places to eat, drink or be entertained in the run up to Christmas and New year, the uplift in revenue for restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes is great. But, it’s also totally exhausting, isn’t it? You’ve got to face long hours, seasonal staffing, rotas and schedules, inventory control, difficult customers, marketing campaigns, stiff competition and much more.
By now you’ve probably got the festive menus sorted, the decorations up and, for restaurants, hopefully a diary that’s nicely booked over the next few weeks. Now that we’re heading straight for the party season, what more can you do to relieve some of the stress and add an extra sprinkle of Christmas magic?
Here’s 5 points to consider:
Staffing – With seasonal staff to train, holiday hours/leave to deal with and performance to monitor, now is probably a good time to get the team together and make sure everyone understands what’s expected of them over the holiday period. It would also be good to double check the staff rotas against bookings and be sure that you’re staying compliant with legal issues like working time regulations. When it comes to training temporary staff and monitoring staff performance, a modern, smart POS system can come to assistance. Your staff will find the iPad based system intuitive and easy to navigate while reporting features help you track your best and worst performers.
Check the key dates – Be aware of what days of week the key dates fall on as this can affect footfall and the type of customers you might expect to see (particularly if you’re more of a ‘walk-in’ business like a pub or cafe). For example, Christmas Eve falls in a Sunday this year. That means you’ll probably see less in the way of post-work revellers but more in the line of stressed-out, last-minute shoppers seeking a break!
Bookings, bookings, bookings – The party season is a massive boost for hospitality businesses and, as we said earlier, hopefully you’ve got a well-booked up diary by now. If that’s the case, then at this stage, it’s all about checking deposits have been paid, the details are confirmed and staff rotas can cope. Once the parties start, your iPad POS system ensures transactions go through speedily (even with broken down bills) and, if needed, it can even help you to quickly set up last-minute menu adaptations to accommodate special dietary requests.
If bookings have been a bit slow, it’s not too late to ramp up the promotional work or even adapt your seasonal offer a little. Use your windows, chalk boards, website and social media to highlight holiday specials and events clearly. You might also consider offering some taster sessions (e.g. a newly stocked spirit or one of your festive appetisers) to entice bookings.
Atmosphere – While they might look great now, in a few weeks’ time, some of those festive displays might fall out of place or lose some of their sparkle. So, check the displays and lights regularly and refresh as necessary. Now could also be a good time to organise a new playlist that suits your brand – whether you’re going for a soulful vibe, a ‘too cool for yule’ collection or straight-up Mariah Carey, we won’t judge! Check out Spotify or Songza for more ideas.
Stock – If you want to spoil your customer’s expectation in the hospitality industry then just say the words, ‘we’ve run out of…’. So, start using a POS inventory management system, like that provided with the Good Till, to keep tight controls of stock (down to ingredient level) and ensure maximum efficiency when it comes to purchase orders. Don’t forget to check you have enough of the basics too – plates, cutlery, glasses etc. One associate of ours at the Good Till was recently served wine in a highball glass at a party because the venue had run out of wine glasses… not the best impression they could have made!
We know that this festive period means pure hard work for anyone working in hospitality but with excellent support from both your staff and the tech you use in your business, we hope it will bring more of that ‘joy’ than it does ‘dread’. Perhaps you’ll even find a little time to eat, drink and be merry!
Call us to find out more about how a smart iPad based POS system can help your business thrive through the busiest periods of the year.
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