About Chris Tacon

CEO and Director of goRoster, Chris has a passion for transforming organisations by embracing cloud technologies.

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Here are my most recent posts

Environmentally Sustainable Hospitality Practices

September, 2019

There are many ways your hospitality business can be more sustainable and join the trend for ‘green’ dining. These include better waste management, supplier choices and fostering a culture of environmental sustainability.

Manage your Waste

Everyone is well aware of the significance of plastic waste in the world today. Many businesses and governments alike have started to tackle the issue head on. Single use plastic bags are being banned at some supermarkets. There is a global drive for sustainable packaging solutions.
Restaurants and cafes are facing backlash for the part they play in the problem. The use of disposable coffee cups, tableware and plastic straws are under scrutiny. But, there are actionable steps you can take to reduce your plastic waste.

The New Zealand Ministry for the Environment suggests swapping out takeaway cups for reusable coffee cups[1] https://www.mfe.govt.nz/node/24664 . In 2018, Victoria University implemented a cup reuse scheme at their cafes. Reusable cups are returned and then washed for reuse[2] https://www.victoria.ac.nz/news/2018/11/scheme-to-reduce-use-of-takeaway-cups-on-campus .

Another way to reduce plastic waste is to remove plastic straws. Some venues have phased these out. Others have opted for biodegradable paper or reusable metal alternatives.

There is no shortage of ingenuity. For a long time now many cafes have been donating their coffee grounds for use as fertilizer. Others are giving away unwanted food to charities. Bring your own mug programs at cafes have proven successful.

Reduce your Food Miles

Sustainable - Food Miles?

Choosing local food produce can help you reduce the carbon footprint of your business. Sourcing from growers close to your business helps to limit the miles the food has to travel to get to you. This in turn cuts your contribution to emissions from long haul transportation. Best of all local food will be fresher and has an origin story you can tell customers.

Consider your Flexitarian Consumers

Sustainable - Flexitarian Food Trend

A 2017 Global Data survey founds produced some interesting responses. At least 25% surveyed would consider eating vegan meat for environmental reasons. The same survey in 2018 found that 76% of consumers considered whether their food was ethical, environmentally-friendly and socially-responsible[3] https://www.retail-insight-network.com/comment/flexitarian-trend-2019/ . That is not to say that consumers will only choose these options but this trend is certainly now in the forefront of consumers minds. Offering sustainable food options could be one way to appeal to these consumers.

Encourage your Team

Creating realistic goals, staying motivated and managing team expectations are important. Your business can achieve some immediate wins through small changes. Keeping momentum requires a culture whereby sustainability is encouraged and valued.

Where to next?

The issue of environmental sustainability is only going to become more evident in the coming years. There is an opportunity to appeal to the growing number of conscious consumers. Look for ways to contribute to the global effort to preserve our beautiful world for the future.

The successes and challenges of family owned businesses.

August, 2019
Image of Family Restaurant
Family businesses can be highly successful. Their cohesiveness and ability to make fast decisions helps determine this success.

As many as 70 percent of Australian businesses are family owned[1] https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/nz/pdf/June/family-business.pdf . The hospitality industry is well known for its family restaurants, cafes and establishments.

Who better to trust when it comes to your bread and butter than your own kin. A 2016 survey of family businesses found they possessed some advantages. One key strength was the ability to make quick decisions. Family businesses also do well in the long term. Some 49% of family businesses have been around for between 20 and 49 years[2] https://www.pwc.co.nz/pdfs/Family-Business-Survey-2016.pdf .

At the same time there appears to be no shortage of stories of where family business have gone awry.

So, what works and what doesn’t? Here are some suggestions for family businesses:

· Create Space: 

Employing some staff from outside of the family might be beneficial. Another pair of eyes in certain positions may provide more less biases decision making.  This can help keep to ensure everyone is performing their rostered responsibilities. Good delegation can help management and create more space in the calendar for family.

· Be clear on the rules:

A 2015 survey found that only 28% of family businesses had a code of conduct, family charter or constitution[3] https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/nz/pdf/June/family-business.pdf .   It’s important to keep professionalism between your family when you are at work. Make sure to sit down and clearly define each family member’s role and responsibility. 

If a conflict is going to occur. Keep family issues away from suppliers and customers. Left unchecked, this could be especially damaging to your business brand and reputation.

· Take time out to be a family

Time is a precious resource; remember at the end of the day you are still family. What you do when you get home matters for family and for the health of your business. A key source of conflict is the “Balancing the needs of the family vs. the needs of the business”[4] https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/nz/pdf/June/family-business.pdf .

Some hospitality businesses have to stay open late and through the weekend. These long hours can leave little room for holidays, outings and time around the dinner table. It may not be possible to have the whole family off work together for one day a week. An alternative might be to alternate taking time off together to catch up for coffee or other activity.

· Communicate:

As with any business, good communication is essential.  Using clear, direct communication is important in a family business. This applies especially when discussing family work performance or applying discipline.

· Plan for the Future: 

What is your succession plan?  In 2016 only 51% of family businesses had a succession plan[5] https://www.pwc.co.nz/pdfs/Family-Business-Survey-2016.pdf . Who will take over each responsibility? Do you want to continue the family business? These questions are worth considering when planning the future of the family business.

Summary:

In summary, family businesses can be high performing and successful. Their cohesiveness and ability to make fast decisions helps determine this success. There are also some challenges. Most challenges center around maintaining work and family life balance. Overcoming these challenges requires the ability to create space.  Establish clear rules and responsibilities. Schedule family time outside of work (if possible). Keep vocal with good communication. Finally, prepare for the future and establish some form of a succession plan.

Check out more of our business related tips. Head to our Business Blog https://www.goroster.com/category/business/ .

Whitianga Hotel – Saving 4 hours a week using goRoster!

July, 2019
Whitianga Hotel - Saving 4 Hours a week using goRoster
The iconic Whitianga Hotel

The Whitianga Hotel will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. This iconic four star waterside establishment overlooks Whitianga Bay and the marina. Its long history has led some people to believe it’s haunted. Sightings of the paranormal have reportedly occurred on ‘plenty of occasions’. But, the hotel staff seem less convinced that anything supernatural is at play. Perhaps the patrons might be enjoying a few too many drinks at the onsite bar… We will never know for sure.

Two on-site restaurants offer some excellent dining for guests. Salt boasts waterfront views and is especially proud of its lamb shoulder. The signature dish has attracted customers from as far as the Thames. The twice cooked and caramelized pork belly has also been very popular and worth stopping in for.

The hotel bistro and bar are well known for their weekend entertainment. Last summer the renovated garden bar played host to a reggae festival.  The Herbs, Sons of Zion, Tribal Connections and Ruff Copy all took the stage for an exciting evening.

Offering great customer service

Arron Bartrum is the Hotel Operations manager. He and his team have over “130 years experience” between them and keep the place running in top shape. Arron describes his team as more of a ‘family’. It is this cohesion that gets him up in the morning and ensures they can offer great customer service. 

It’s Arron’s opinion that great customer service is not as big of a challenge as you would think.

“It is simple, ensure the customer or client is satisfied with the product or service provided. Maintain this service across the whole purchasing process – not just parts of it. ”

Saving 4-hours a week on payroll

A few months ago he implemented goRoster at the hotel and two restaurants. He has already noticed tangible benefits:


“goRoster has been a vital tool for our business, allowing us to track the many departments daily, weekly and monthly income and their wage spend. By setting targets for the department managers and giving them incentives to hit that magic 30% for wage cost it has made my job a whole lot easier.”

“Also the integration with our payroll company means we simply export the weekly wages from goRoster and email them off. goRoster has cut the time of wages down from just over 4 hours to just a matter of minutes.”

If you are planning a trip to Whitianga  be sure to check out the Whitianga Hotel.  The iconic accommodation and outstanding cuisine won’t disappoint.
https://www.salt-whitianga.co.nz/

Not using goRoster yet at your business?


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Check out other businesses who have also saved time and money using goRoster. Head to our Customer Stories pagehttps://www.goroster.com/category/customer-stories/

Universo – The Art of Rostering.

May, 2019
Madlen and Wayne . Universo Owners.
Universo Owners – Wayne and Madlen

Slung under the glassy arms of the Christchurch Art Gallery is Universo. In early October of last year,  Madlen and Wayne became owners. Universo offers a high quality and approachable dining experience.

The couple have been business partners for 18 years. They have owned several other Christchurch establishments and have worked on cruise ships and luxury yachts in the past. They are a great team who are not often seen apart “ we work well together and very rarely argue”.

If you are wanting to try the culinary delights at Universo, you have a variety of options to choose from. Wayne suggests starting out with the “Beast Board”:

It’s an exquisite selection of meats and nibbles including:

Pork spare ribs, grilled sirloin steak, beef patties, Yorkshire puddings with lamb, chicken liver parfait, hand cut chips, pickles, coleslaw and bread rolls.  The perfect comfort food for a cold autumn evening.

Universo is also great for cocktails, can seat large groups, and has a meeting space for functions.

Madlen has been using goRoster for many years.

For us it’s an “easy way to project- out wage costs” and we don’t have to “muck around with spreadsheets and pieces of paper.”

They recently rolled out the goRoster app for their employees. The app has been a success,  leading to improved communication and accountability.

“You can reach employees quickly on their phones and this has lowered the chance they won’t see the roster.”

For Madlen and Wayne good rostering is about “always having visibility daily wage costs and revenue. “This is important to “show your team the direct effect of a good and a bad day of the business”. “You then know the numbers and can work together to keep things on track.”

Check out https://www.universo.co.nz/

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The Craft Embassy – Good Rostering for Work/Life Balance

April, 2019

Seth – Craft Embassy

Perched high above the Avon river in The Terrace Hospitality district is The Craft Embassy.

Since its opening in March of last year, the establishment has been making waves in the city for its fresh approach to hospitality. The venue is the winner of the 2018 Crombie Lockwood Central City establishment of the Year at The Christchurch Hospitality Awards, and received a 2018 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award.

The Craft Embassy is a loyal customer of goRoster and we sat down with the general manager Seth Hamilton to hear how he has used goRoster to keep the venue in ship shape.

Seth uses a number of handy software solutions to go “paper free” at The Craft Embassy.

Asked why he decided to use goRoster, Seth saw 3 key benefits; It is easy to use, quick for communication and  helps keep rosters consistent.

“It’s such an easy way to get a costed roster and for tracking forecast against actuals.”

“It’s great for communication and accountability – I know that if I need to get a message out to all employees I can easily do so.”

“I’m a true believer in work-life balance, and giving employees consistency in their rosters helps to make this possible. Being able to copy and adjust rosters week by week helps to ensure that they are fair and balanced between employees.”

With many years at the helm of some of Christchurch’s most loved restaurants, Seth has learnt a lot along the way. He offered some advice for those new to the trade:

“Be present, keep your eyes on the ball, especially with what is happening in the roster.  This allows you to identify where you are over rostered and gives you the space to make adjustments to suit. Also, I’ve found putting yourself in a position where you are visible is important. Take time to connect with the regulars, form relationships and find out how you are performing- It can be a lot of fun.”

Next time you are in Christchurch, pay a visit to the Craft Embassy. The exciting line of Craft Beer options and exceptional food will keep you warm and welcome.

Not using goRoster yet at your business?


Sign up today for a no obligation free trial .
No Credit Card Required.

Improvements to Group Messages

March, 2019

Group messaging is now improved and includes new capabilities. You can now create group messages from within the roster designer. Employees with shifts in the roster are recipients. Filter recipients by status (Draft, Confirmed, Published Queried or Declined).

It’s also now easier to diagnose issues with sending a message. Get more detailed send information including status indicators and delivery warnings. Re-send messages to recipients who were missing contact info or a notification method.

Create a Group Message in the Roster Designer

Group messages can now be created from the roster designer. The roster filter is used send messages to groups of employees who are in the same state i.e. Draft, Published, Confirmed, Declined or Queried (see above).

Status Indicators for Messages

Status labels are more detailed and indicate the successful send count for each message.

Delivery Warnings

Employees who could not be sent a message are identified with delivery warnings. Each warning specifies what needs to be corrected to successfully send the message to that employee.

Re-Send Messages

If a message fails to send to an employee, there is now the option to correct the missing info and send the message again.

Keep an eye out for more updates in the coming months…

Guided Tours, Viewed Indicators and App Updates

February, 2019
The software team has been busy working on some handy new features. Employers can now see which employees have viewed the rosters. Roster responses are more detailed, and guided tours provide support to new users.

New Feature: Viewed Indicators

goRoster update- indicators

Employees who use mobile app or email will now show with an indicator beside their name in the roster.
 
Managers now have a way to identify which employees ignore or forget to check their rosters

App Update 4.66: Pending Rosters

goRoster update- mobile app
Mobile app update version 4.66, provides more detail to pending rosters. Each roster now remains in the pending screen after it has a response. The roster is now labelled with the employee response. Finally, rosters declined or queried by an employee display the date and time of the response.

Guided Tours

goRoster update- Guided Tours
 
The recently launched Help Centre provides a quick way to access support information. A collection of over 70 articles provide answers to common support questions.
 
We have also introduced a small number of interactive tours to provide help for new users. Tours are launched in goRoster using a new widget (black icon) at the bottom of the screen (see above).
 
Stay tuned for other exciting updates and features coming in the next few months!
 
goRoster – save time and get control of your wage costs
 

Standing out – How to bring your hospitality business online

December, 2018

How take your hospitality business online

For most businesses, their ability to maintain a strong online presence is part and parcel with their success. This is especially true for hospitality businesses. Being found on google can signal to consumers that you actually exist and are open for business! This blog post offers a few tips for helping you to stand out in the quasi-digital world.

Tip 1: Create a Google Business profile

We are all consumers and as a result the odds would say that at some time in your life you will have been to a restaurant, café or bar . In many cases when it’s time to decide where and what to eat… it’s the ‘local’ or time to consult google.

According to a 2013 study by Statista the top 5 factors influencing the US consumer choice of which specific restaurant to eat at where:

  1. Price (Affordability)
  2. Mood (Cravings)
  3. Specific Menu Item I like (Tastes)
  4. Location (Locality)
  5. Variety of Menu Options I like (Selection)

All of these factors require some knowledge of the venues nearby, what they sell, and how much their menu items cost. So, before Google the decision would be fairly limited to what you could uncover from a wander through town, an ad you saw on TV or the suggestion of a friend or family member.

Today is different and as a modern consumer we have access to instant information on almost every topic imaginable – food and beverage included.  A quick search in Google for a venue or restaurant food item will produce a concise list of places that ‘most of the time’ match what you were looking for. Furthermore, each of these results includes with it the basic business details and associated Google maps directions – these results are called Google Business Profiles.

There are several benefits to owning a ‘Google Business’ Profile.  Firstly, it will display your venue to customers when they are local helping to incentivise them to visit. It also includes other useful information such as ratings, reviews and images. Most importantly, your business becomes an official location on Google Maps allowing people to quickly navigate to you using GPS.

Cost: FREE

Check out: https://www.google.com/business/

Tip 2: Create a Landing Page

A landing page is a place that prospective customers can ‘land’ on when they are searching the web. Landing pages are simple and consist of one or just a few pages. They cover all of the basics: what you offer, the menu, your address and how to contact you. A landing page is relatively straight forward to create and in most cases you don’t need a web developer.

There are a large number of services available that make the creation of a landing page ‘this’ easy. A service like Squarespace or WIX has templates that allow you to get started (even without design skills). You could even get a customized landing page built for you using a job posting site like Fiverr.

Cost: Varies

https://www.squarespace.com/

https://www.wix.com/

https://www.fiverr.com/

Tip 3 – Ensure you are SEO optimized

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a method used to increase your chances of being found on the internet.  Google has a unique algorithm that ranks any website according to a variety of factors. SEO is about using a basic understanding of these factors to help you rank higher. Services like Wix and Squarespace have free apps that can provide basic advice otherwise seek out an expert.

Cost: Varies

Tip 4 – Invest in your content

You wouldn’t like your venue to appear bland or uninteresting; so, don’t let your online presence be the exception. Hence, it is important to invest in video and imagery that is going to “sell” your venue to consumers.

If you don’t have access to a camera, most newer smartphones can take ‘professional’ quality HD photo and video. Your most popular dish, bar, grill or the interior are aspects of your business that consumers want to see. If you can afford them, it’s best to choose authentic and original photos. However, if you are on a tight budget some stock images can often fill the gap in the meantime.

Cost: Varies

www.unsplash.com

Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to show off your product

Acai Bowl - Using instagram for business

Instagram is a fantastic tool that every hospitality business should be using to showcase their food and drink. The commonly quoted phrase ‘you eat with your eyes’ could not be truer. Millennials have become adept at framing, filtering and tagging their food items to share with friends and networks.

Consequently, there has been a boom in popularity for photogenic food items. Foods such as acai bowls, turmeric lattes and blue spirulina smoothies seem to be almost ‘designed’ for image sharing.

Encouraging employees to take photos for you and post them to the business Instagram account is a great starting point.  Why not create an environment that helps your customers take great photos and let them sell your product for you? Here are some examples of businesses doing just that? (Check out this article)

Cost: FREE

Conclusion

With a small investment of time and money your business can create a landing page to take your business online. Existing services and tools can then be used to optimize this landing page,  create colourful content and stay visible. Doing so will improve your chances of capturing those hungry prospective customers who consult google for advice.

Sources:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/226099/us-consumers-choice-in-restaurant/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization

https://www.foodandwine.com/news/london-restaurant-giving-out-free-photography-kits-so-its-customers-can-get-perfect-gram).

 


 

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New Feature: Weekly Roster ‘Requirements’

September, 2018

goRoster users can now set ‘Requirements’ for their weekly rosters.

Requirements allow you to set the number of employees that need to be assigned to a particular role on any given day so that you can check to make sure you have your roles covered. This feature is one way to help design your roster to ensure you  maintain a high quality level of service and compliance in your chosen industry.

Create some Roles (if you haven’t already)

To use requirements, you first need to make sure you have created ‘Roles’ for your roster.

Here is a handy article showing you how to set up roles if you haven’t already Creating Roles

Requirements + Roles

Using Requirements in your Weekly Roster

Once you have your roles set up you can then enter requirements for the roster in the current week. In the Roster Designer > Menu 

To get started, click on the field that corresponds to the day you would like to set it for and click ‘up’ or ‘down’ to adjust the number of required roles.

Enter the Requirements

New! Requirements Indicators

When you have everything set up a ‘REQs’ indicator will display in the Roster Designer above the date in the roster. Green indicates you have assigned the correct number of employees for that role and date while Red indicates that you need to add more. If you need to add more employees to a role you can click on the indicator to edit the settings for your week.

Requirements Indicators

Who can use Requirements?

This new feature is now available to all goRoster users, including those on a free 30-day trial.

Not using goRoster yet at your business? Sign up today for a no obligation free trial.

Improved Qualification Reminders

May, 2018

With the latest update, goRoster is now able to support multiple email recipients for qualification reminders.

To set up multiple recipients, click settings>account settings and enter as many addresses as you like;

qualification reminders

Once you’ve entered your recipients, simply revisit your qualifications (found under settings>qualifications) and select where you’d like the reminders to be sent;

qualification reminders 2

If you need more help using qualifications or have any other questions, please email our help desk or contact us via your dashboard help and support panel.

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