Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rostering – It’s Just Like Professional Sport…Well Almost.

August, 2014

There are noteworthy comparisons between professional sport and smart rostering

In the several years that we’ve been operating, I reckon I’ve had thousands of conversations about setting up staff rosters and the impact that getting these right or wrong can have on a business. In almost all cases, the businesses that are most successful are the ones that are analysing where they’re at as often and as accurately as they can. To put it another way; they know the score.

In many industries, staff wage costs are far and away the largest cost a business manager has to consider.  Time and time again our team strikes situations where the tools being used to create rosters are not only impractical, inaccurate and inefficient, but also seldom provide any assistance in making better decisions going forward.

Businesses that are neglecting to focus adequately on these activities are essentially waiting till the final whistle till they look at the scoreboard.

If one considers a professional sports team of any code, the team will have a game plan in hand, then enter the battle with their opponent.  If they reach half, or even quarter time, and they find themselves on the losing side of the ledger, then changes must be made.  Perhaps a change in personnel.  Perhaps a change in positions.

Perhaps a complete change to the game plan is called for.

In any case, the captain of any sports team knows the score from minute to minute, and also understands the effect the current game plan is having.  He or she doesn’t blindly soldier on when the opposition is piling on the points. Changes need to be made.  Not just random desperate manoeuvres, but well informed and logical steps need to be taken to win the day.

How’s your team going?

 

6 Hurdles Hospitality Managers Commonly Face (And How To Overcome Them) – Part Six

August, 2014

Make sure you execute your communication strategy effectively within your hospitality business.

HURDLE SIX:  COMMUNICATION

Technological developments are occurring so often now, that it’s hard to put a plan in place that’s likely to be around for very long. With the development of websites such as Trip Advisor, Dine Out and Facebook, reviews and comments are put out into a world-wide forum every day. As a result, a lot of power has been placed in the hands of the customer, leaving an almost non-existent gap for error within the hospitality industry.

Your customers are both your greatest and worst critics. In order to survive, hospitality managers must embrace these online platforms in order to keep up with industry competition. In this day and age it’s not uncommon for all generations to be educated on how to use the internet, and declaring one’s feelings and thoughts online is a growing trend.

Review websites are a tangled web of positive and negative reviews of bars and restaurants, and it takes a very trained and unbiased eye to filter through those comments that you know “may be a little over the top”, or “slightly inaccurate.” How hospitality managers deal with these is pivotal in how they are received by the general public. Businesses must remain mature when they know a patron or diner is inflating the truth, and remain diplomatic when they know that a customer’s “bad experience” may have simply been out of their control.

Social media channels also provide a quick and effective way for bars and restaurants to communicate with their customers. Just think back to the days where most businesses had to rely on word of mouth to get themselves known, because who really wanted to pay an exorbitant amount of money on paper advertising to promote a special that would probably change within the next fortnight? Whilst I’m not saying that paper and magazine advertising is not effective – in such a competitive market today it does hold a great importance especially when used in conjunction with online communication.

There’s often such an overload of information that needs to be communicated to the public, whether it’s about new drink specials, menu changes, hiring opportunities or certain advertising events. It’s important to use the platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. These online forums were turned to primarily for an  individual’s personal and recreational use, but the growing influence now of businesses on these websites is here to stay and joining in with this trend is paramount in order to keep up with the competition within your industry.

Solution – Make sure it’s someone’s job to monitor all online channels for reviews. Thank those who give you good reviews, and to those who choose to get colourful with their negative comments, it’s still important to acknowledge this feedback. All feedback is useful at the end of the day. How you deal with it is what will make or break you as a business. Use social media to put your establishment on the radar and engage and connect with potential customers on an emotional level.

A lot of these social media channels are free. How you choose to use them is your choice, but I suggest dedicating time to making your pages ‘user-friendly.’ Be informative, be engaging and be emotive. Get amongst it – and get your business out there!

So there you have it. 6 hurdles hospitality managers commonly face. Next time you are at a bar, and a staff member goes out of their way to give you great service or you order a meal that you really enjoyed – let someone know. People generally are very quick to complain, and gratuity these days is often a forgotten thing.

Finally, to all you managers – give these solutions a go! You’ll be surprised how easy it can be to overcome these hurdles.

If you feel like you may be wasting time and money on planning and communicating rosters to your staff, it may be time to take the next step to really taking control of your business. Let us help you better track your financial costs and assist you in saving time and money in the production and communication of your rosters. Give our free trial a go here.

6 Hurdles Hospitality Managers Commonly Face (And How To Overcome Them) – Part Five

August, 2014

A hospitality manager must be able to prioritise their tasks and goals for long term business success.

HURDLE NUMBER FIVE:  PRIORITISING

I think it’s fair to say we’ve all been in that situation where we’re required to be in several places at once, complete a daunting amount of tasks all by the end of the day, and somehow perform a number of different roles at once; the mentor, the teacher, that parent, the friend, the colleague, the boss. What dictates one’s ability to fulfil all of these disconcerting tasks is the ability to prioritise. Prioritising is paramount if you are serious about getting the most out of your business. As a manager you probably set yourself business goals. Two characteristics these goals should have are not spoken about enough. Business goals must be realistic, and they must be time-bound.

Realistic is defined as having an awareness and acceptance of reality. Time bound is defined as an activity or event that is supposed to happen within a given period of time, with some sense of urgency.

There will always be outside factors that will affect your business goals that commonly cannot be helped. Often people let these factors get the best of them and they end up straying form the task at hand. Meticulous planning and goal setting is essential in the hospitality industry. A lot of people fear delegating tasks, and certain jobs usually get pushed back dependent on what’s most important for the business that week. How do you get a new menu ready to go public when you have a number of new employees that haven’t been through their induction and training yet? Where do you find the time to sit down and work on your financials when you’re so understaffed that you have to work one of the junior roles that evening?

This is where those characteristics come into play. Be realistic, and make sure your goals and objectives are time bound. We often set ourselves unrealistic to-do lists. But the business carries on – and the customers don’t wait. Hospitality managers have a number of problems and obstacles thrown at them daily. It’s how these things are prioritized and dealt with, that will define whether your long term goals are met.

Solution: Never assume “Oh, it’ll be fine. I’ll manage.” That is when your business will start to suffer. Systematic thinking plays a major part in making sure the job gets done. Never compromise the integrity of your business by not making proper plans. Delegate tasks you know you can’t get done on time and invest time into training your staff on how to complete these tasks to your liking – so when the time comes, they can help you out.

Try to get out of that mind set of, “I’m the only one who knows how – and if it’s not me who does it, something might go wrong.” Choosing to not spend time training your employees, whilst you continue to chip away at that little growing mountain of work on your desk, doesn’t sound particularly inviting does it? The long term benefits of investing time into training means that in the future, it’s much easier for you to step back and do what is most necessary for you in your management role. Remember: be realistic and make sure your goals and objectives are time bound. 

So there you have it! Early next week  you’ll be able to read the sixth and final entry of this blog where we will discuss Hurdle Number Six – Communication. 

Want to take the next step towards becoming a manager that’s more in control of your business? Click here to start a free trial of goRoster, and see how rostering plays a crucial role in the success of your venue.

6 Hurdles Hospitality Managers Commonly Face (And How To Overcome Them) – Part Four

August, 2014

Responding to a crisis can be a difficult task for hospitality managers

HURDLE NUMBER FOUR:  RESPONDING TO A CRISIS

Another ability that falls under the hospitality manager’s umbrella of many talents is their ‘quick-to-think’ attitude. Let’s take a moment, and imagine you are sitting at a leaner in a busy bar, the line to get a drink is about four people deep, and the queue to pay at the Maitre’ D station is growing. Suddenly, the Eftpos terminals crash. You can see everyone starting to get annoyed, patience is faltering and frustrated customers are considering leaving.

It takes a lot of patience to deal with these sorts of situations as a manager, especially when you have disgruntled patrons wanting another drink, and you are running the risk of diners walking out without paying. It takes an experienced person with a calm and competent attitude to fix situations such as this one, where a large amount of money and customer satisfaction is on the line. It’s a make or break moment.

I’ve seen instances such as this dealt with in a multitude of ways. Some good, and some not so good. Often I’ve seen customers’ being told to wait a considerably long period of time until the situation is remedied. Other times, those with credit cards kindly offered their card details over to the manager, took a receipt with them and they were on their way; and the charge would simply be put through later when things were up and running again. I’ve also witnessed patrons who have used a crisis such as this as a way to get out of paying and have simply gotten up and left.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you consider is right from the customer point of view. As for managers, situations like these are important to remind you how crucial it is to know what system you use, how to fix it, or what to do if it can’t be fixed immediately.

Solution: Be prepared. Make sure you have plans in place for any sort of crisis that may happen. These incidents show patrons how organised you are when it comes to dealing with situations like these. For the majority of us, we don’t mind waiting at all if the incident is dealt with professionally and promptly. 

The contingency plans you put in place must be tested and recorded for future incidents. Once you have set plans, ensure your staff are informed of these plans too, so everyone is up to date on how to respond to any sort of crisis that may occur.

So there you have it – a few suggestions on how to respond to a crisis within your hospitality venue. Next up we will be discussing Hurdle Five – Prioritising.

Want to take the next step towards becoming a manager that’s more in control of your business? Click here to start a free trial of goRoster, and see how rostering plays a crucial role in the success of your venue.

6 Hurdles Hospitality Managers Commonly Face (And How To Overcome Them) – Part Three

August, 2014

Hospitality managers must be able to wear all hats in this business.

HURDLE NUMBER THREE:  THE ROLE OF TEAM MOTIVATOR

In Part Two we discussed customer loyalty and how it can enable you to gain a competitive advantage in your industry if you are executing the right activities. A lot of the initiative required to build customer loyalty comes from the managers themselves. They undertake a number of various tasks, from meeting with suppliers, putting together new menus, ordering stock, monitoring wage costs, and the list goes on! More importantly, they also have to be the face of the business.

The person in charge sets the tone for establishment, and customers have the ability to pick up on this instantly. When you are in a restaurant and you get swift, efficient and happy service by an employee, it’s usually because they are being led by someone who takes charge and takes responsibility in ensuring all areas of the business know exactly what they are doing for the entirety of the shift.

Alternatively, when you have a bad experience, or staff seem flustered and rushed off their feet, it’s usually a sign of a lack in leadership. It definitely takes a certain personality to play the role of a hospitality manager. They must be calm, quick on their feet, and as impossible as it often seems – be in several different places at once. All with a big smile on their face!

These people are incredibly passionate about what they do; they live and breathe every aspect of hospitality. That’s what makes them so wonderful. We have all have instances where we start to doubt our own professions, and we wonder if we are in fact doing what we really love. A hospitality manager must be multi-faceted, and able to wear all hats in this industry!

Solution: As a hospitality manager, make sure you know your employees. What motivates them? What keeps them happy? What makes them work hard? Use these different ways to bring out the best in each of your employees. Appeal to their potential. However, do be careful not to fall into a common trap and distort the line between being a leader, and a friend.

When this happens, it makes it very hard to come back from, especially with respect to discipline and setting rules. Try and remain a managerial figure that you would want to work for. People work hard for those they admire. This will make the job of managing staff a lot easier for you.

So that’s it for now! You’ll be able to read about Hurdle Number Four – Responding To A Crisis, early next week.

Want to take the next step towards becoming a manager that’s more in control of your business? Click here to start a free trial of goRoster, and see how rostering plays a crucial role in the success of your venue.

6 Hurdles Hospitality Managers Commonly Face (And How To Overcome Them) – Part Two

August, 2014

Hospitality employees have an important role in customer loyalty

HURDLE NUMBER TWO:  CUSTOMER LOYALTY

Last week was the first entry of a six part blog where we began to discuss six hurdles hospitality managers commonly face. This week we will be delving  into hurdle number two, customer loyalty.

Not only is hiring the right staff important, but those who you choose to employ play an integral part in customer loyalty. I’m sure all of us have had at least one memorable experience where a waiter/waitress has given us outstanding service and/or we have been delighted with the food and beverage put in front of us.

Today, a tremendous amount has to be offered to patrons in order to gain their loyalty. We live in a world where people always want something for free, and this is the case for most industries, not just hospitality. Whether you actually offer something for free, or you advertise a buy one get one free special, nothing beats this old line, “Well the bar down the road serves the same for a lot cheaper!” In such a highly competitive industry, hospitality managers constantly need to come up with new and innovative ways to delight customers in order to ensure they come back and keep spending money. Without loyalty, and without our money, the industry would cease to exist.

It’s the loyalty that is the key issue here. It’s all well and good to get in a big crowd on a Friday night, but what are you doing to make them come back? You can’t guarantee that the same exact crowd will be back next Friday. What is it that you are doing that really hooks them in? It could be a number of elements: the music, the mood, the quality of your food, how your staff strike up their opening conversation, the décor of the venue, or it could be a combination of these things.

The creativity it requires whilst trying to maintain optimal cost prices is a constant battle for managers. A point of difference must be found in order to give you the advantage over your competitors, and is essential in building and sustaining customer loyalty.

Solution:  It’s a common saying “treat your oldest customers like royalty”. Now it’s not the elderly I’m referring to here. I’m talking about those who have been coming to your establishment since the very beginning. It is this group that contributes to a significant proportion of your turnover. Customers also appreciate it when you take the time to talk to them. Better yet, the value of how you make that customer feel at the time, has a much higher return than any other tactic. Too often I see staff that would prefer to converse about the latest gossip rather than take an interest in their customers. If you can get employees to take an interest in the people they are serving, you may just hit the jackpot. 

Check back later this week where we discuss Hurdle Number Three – The Role of Team Motivator.

Want to take the next step towards becoming a manager that’s more in control of your business? Click here to start a free trial of goRoster, and see how rostering plays a crucial role in the success of your venue. 

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