New year revolutions

January, 2018

Last year was very successful for goRoster. We grew our team; had lots of new customers jump on board; developed exciting new features; and talked to so many people in the hospitality and retail industry that we’ve lost count.

Now that 2018 is here, we’ve put our heads together and come up with some tips to help make it an even more productive and satisfying year.

Learn something new

From a personal standpoint, learning anything new is a great way to challenge yourself and kick your brain into overdrive. It could be learning a musical instrument, solving a rubix cube or mastering another language.

From a career point of view, adding a new skill to your CV is a great way to help make yourself indispensable. Consider taking a mixologist course, learn a new cooking technique, or become an expert in social media to help with your online marketing.

Be brave

Some of the most revolutionary ideas come from people and organisations that push the boundaries. Movies with sound, the telephone, computers – we can’t think of our lives without these, but when they were first proposed many people thought they were doomed to fail.

If you think you’ve got a great idea, be brave and talk to a business mentor. It might just be the next best thing! Watch this space for something we’ve been working on that we think will make a bit of a splash.

Delegate more

It’s only since our team has grown that we’ve begun to realise the importance of letting go of the reins. It’s as much about easing your load – whether at work or in your personal life – as it is about clearing your mental space.

If you continue trying to juggle a hundred tasks at once, eventually you’re going to drop some. Things will run smoother when you hand tasks over to someone you know and trust to do the job well. Plus, you’ll have more time for you, which is equally important.

If it isn’t working, fix it!

Even the most successful organisations have systems and processes that don’t work as well as well as they could. This might be an inefficient rostering system, clunky accounting software, or disorganised stocktaking processes. A new year is the perfect time to deal with them. Consult your staff, talk to industry experts, and come up with options that best suit your needs.

Stay customer focussed

At the end of the day, businesses only survive due to a strong customer following. It’s important to keep your faithful clientele happy and continue to entice new customers. Keep an eye on what is going well and what isn’t, and ask your customers what they think could be changed or improved. Even in 2018, the old adage of ‘the customer is always right’ still rings true.

Here’s to a successful year ahead! If you want to have a chat, get in touch with us – we’re only a click away.

Four signs it’s time to systemise your staff roster

July, 2017

To be successful in business, you need to be organised, have a clear plan for where you’re headed and be confident with the processes you have in place. 

When it comes to managing staff, it’s important to have great rostering practices. If you find yourself struggling through workflow processes week to week on an ad hoc basis, it’s probably time to consider a rostering software solution.

Here’s four signs that you need to rethink your current roster system.

Your staff don’t always turn up

 If you’re consistently having no-shows, then it means that your current system isn’t working. Regular complaints from staff about inefficient rostering processes include not knowing when they are supposed to be working, not being told by their supervisor about upcoming shifts and not being able to see a copy of the week’s schedule.

 You don’t know who is working

As an owner or manager, you should be clear and confident about who is working, when their shifts are and what roles they are expected to complete. If employees can swap shifts without consulting you, or make arrangements without your knowledge, then it’s very hard to keep track of them.

You’re still using a spreadsheet

While a spreadsheet is often the go-to for managers, they aren’t fit for purpose when it comes to creating a functional roster. They are difficult to share with employees, make communicating changes tough, and often sit on only one computer. A modern business requires a modern rostering system.

You’re not sure what your wage costs are

A successful business will have a clear understanding of the budget it is working towards, and what percentage of that budget is wage costs. ‘Hopefully we’ll reach budget’ isn’t enough to be competitive in the hospitality and retail industries.

If any of these sound familiar to you, a system like goRoster could be the perfect solution for your business. Get in touch – we’d love to chat.


goRoster the backbone behind Retropolitan Social Club and Gas Monkey

May, 2017

Danny Valentine runs two of Christchurch’s trendiest restaurants – Retropolitan Social Club and Gas Monkey.

Retropolitan Social Club is a cosy 1970s inspired 60-seater restaurant, bar & café in Addington. The menu includes updated throwbacks such as the prawn cocktail, cheese fondue and Nana’s meatloaf. Conversely, Gas Monkey is a Tex-Mex American grill, serving delicious tacos, ribs, and its famous burgers to hungry punters in Shirley.

Having used goRoster for the last two years, Danny says the system is much more applicable to the hospitality industry than the one he was using previously. “With the old software, we were always saying, ‘I wish it could do this or that.’ Now with goRoster, we get all the features we wanted and more.”

Keeping an eye on wage costs

goRoster has become an integral part of how Danny manages wage costs across both businesses. “Staff wages are our largest cost, so it’s great we have goRoster to help us keep a close eye on them.”

Danny and his team can see, on a daily basis, how staff costs compare to their estimated turnover. “We like to think that we’ve got seven chances a week to be successful with getting our budgets right, and goRoster provides a great platform to help with this.”

The man with a plan

Every day in hospitality can be different, which is why Danny relies on goRoster to plan ahead. It allows him and his team to make notes on how seasonal conditions, events around the area or special offers have affected business during specific periods.

“We use previous rosters to plan ahead for similar periods. We know how many staff we will need, what meals were popular and what our expected revenue will be – so we’re never in the dark,” Danny says.

Two sites, one system

goRoster makes it easy for Danny to manage his 25 staff across both restaurants. With one login, he can see who is working at which site, and if there are any gaps that need filling. “If someone is unable to work for any reason, it’s really simple to share staff across the two sites to handle that shortfall.”

Danny says that goRoster has also made it easy to communicate with his staff at the push of a button. “We send out rosters to staff via text or email, so we can be certain that they all know when and where they are working. It has certainly saved a lot of hassle.”



Maximum and minimum hours – striking a balance

April, 2017

Striking the right balance between maximum and minimum hours for your part-time or casual staff can often be a difficult process. But getting the balance wrong can have serious and long-lasting ramifications for your business.

Overworked staff

When you’re running a business, key staff members are often relied upon to keep things running smoothly, so it can be easy to ‘reward’ them with a more hours. Staff members may also request more time at work due to financial or personal circumstances, and you ‘help them out’ by upping their hours.

You may think you’re doing right by your business and your staff in both situations. However, overworking your staff is a major health and safety risk which can result in:

  • more workplace accidents
  • higher rates of mental health problems including severe anxiety and depression
  • a greater risk of physical health problems for staff, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Aside from potential health issues, overworked staff can be a threat to your bottom line. Tired and stressed staff are more likely to make mistakes on the job, be rude to customers, be less productive and care less about the quality of their work. This can all add up to lost revenue.

It’s important to realise that just because a staff member is at work, it doesn’t mean they are fit to be there. Keeping an eye on hours and communicating with staff about their workloads is the key to managing this.

Underworked staff

Not giving your employees enough hours can also put your business at risk.

As of April 2016, zero-hour contracts can no longer be offered to employees. This means that agreed hours of work must now be included in the employment agreement for every staff member. If you fail as an employer to provide the hours that have been specified, or have agreed on hours but haven’t recorded them in the employment agreement, employees are entitled to apply for a penalty to the Employment Relations Authority.

You can choose not to agree on work hours with an employee, although if you do these must be recorded on the employment agreement. If you don’t agree on hours up front however, your staff are less likely to feel secure at work, putting you at risk of losing good employees to your competitors. Unhappy employees may also speak out, making it harder for you to attract new staff.

If you’re looking for a system that makes identifying minimum and maximum hours easy, get in touch with us. We’d love to chat about how goRoster can make managing rosters a simple process.

Future forecasting made easy with goRoster –The Old Vicarage and Bootleg BBQ

March, 2017

Campbell Parker is one of the brains behind two of Christchurch’s must-eat restaurants.

Opening in March 2015, Bootleg BBQ is an inner-city destination providing the city’s meat and craft beer lovers with a real taste of American cuisine. The Old Vicarage, which Campbell has owned for the past 10 years, is an iconic restaurant on the outskirts of Christchurch.

Campbell says he relies heavily on goRoster as a budgeting and staff management tool for both venues. “goRoster is so engrained in the businesses, it’s become part of our daily routine.”

Seeing into the future

One of the benefits of goRoster is the ability to add estimated takings and compare them against staff cost levels.

Campbell uses goRoster as a budget modelling tool to help him get his costings right for upcoming weeks. Once the head chef and restaurant manager have completed the week’s rosters, Campbell can compare this against his previously entered forecasted budget.

“Everyone can then see how the numbers are doing. If we’re over or under our targets, it gives us time to rethink and readjust things. goRoster allows us to be really proactive.” 

Smooth sailing

goRoster is pivotal in helping Campbell keep track of how both businesses are performing. He says the first job of his administrator every morning is to adjust the hours worked by staff and add the actual sales takings into the roster.

“So each morning, I know exactly how we went the previous day. It makes it easy to keep track of how we’re travelling and to react accordingly.”

Campbell says that goRoster also makes it simple to get an overview of the labour efficiency for both businesses instantly. “All I need is one login and one password and I can see it all there in front of me. It’s great!”

Managing staff made easy

goRoster has also simplified the way Bootleg BBQ and The Old Vicarage manage staff.

Previously, one timesheet was used for each employee for a week, which created a lot of paperwork to manage at the end of a week. With goRoster, there are only seven timesheets – one for each day of the week – allowing managers to sign off start and finish times for each employee on one piece of paper.

“It saves a lot of time shuffling through screeds of paper to see who did and didn’t work on a particular day. With goRoster we can grab a day’s timesheet and instantly see who worked and what the cost of that day was.”

Common mistakes made when calculating payroll costs

March, 2017

Knowing what your payroll costs are – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly – is an important part of running a successful business. It allows you to forecast future wage costs, ensures you don’t have any surprises come pay day, and gives you confidence in the stability of the business.

But do you know the TRUE cost of your roster? 

The mistake we often see is the assumption that payroll costs are only based on the number of hours worked by your staff x their hourly wage. This is a dangerous trap, as it only provides you with a snapshot of your TRUE payroll costs.

To get the whole picture, other factors must also be considered.

Holiday pay accrual

Your employees might not be taking a holiday this week or even next, but as a business you still have to pay them holiday pay as a percentage of their wages. It might seem incidental but it can quickly add up.

Salary and ‘backroom’ staff

It’s not just your front of house and kitchen staff that you need to pay. Don’t forget about your hard-working, administration staff – their salaries need to be factored into your overall wage costs too. And if the owner is taking a wage from the business, that’s another staff cost that needs to be accounted for.

Non-wage related costs

Every employer has obligations to pay levies on behalf of its staff to ACC or Medicare, as well as contribute to superannuation funds, like Kiwisaver. You may also have additional costs to pay, such as an employee clothing allowance. It can be easy to forget about these costs, as they often aren’t paid weekly, but they can push your wage costs much higher than you think.

Four tips to help minimise disruption caused by employee leave

February, 2017

An efficient, hard-working and friendly team is often the making of a successful hospitality business. So it can be quite disruptive when employees need to take leave.

Here are four tips to help minimise the impact:

1: Communicate with employees

Absences due to illness can be particularly stressful for a manager, as you may only get a few hours to find a replacement. Research suggests that regular sick leave is commonly taken by employees who feel overworked or stressed in the workplace. Thinking about the welfare of your staff, and openly communicating with them about their workloads, can help mitigate the amount of sick leave taken. Ask staff how they are feeling, be empathetic to their responses, and listen to feedback on how to best help their situation.

2. Train your staff across multiple skills

Having staff who are competent across several roles can help ease the burden of employees being away. The ability to take your kitchen staff and put them front of house for a shift – or have your wait-staff serving at the bar – gives you the flexibility to change your roster at a moment’s notice. Teach staff these extra skills during quiet times, so that the training itself doesn’t become a disruption.

3: Have a system in place to record future leave

If employees are planning a holiday for later in the year, have been invited to a special event (like a wedding for example), or are planning to take advantage of the Easter or Christmas break, they will often book leave months in advance. Make a record of this so that you and other staff don’t get caught out when the time comes. Don’t use post-it-notes either – make sure it’s recorded somewhere reliable, in a system like goRoster, for example.

4: Ensure you have dependable backup

Unfortunately, leave can’t always be planned. Sickness and bereavement are part of life, so you always need to plan for them. Create a shortlist of dependable people that you can call on when you require staff at short notice. This will save you a lot of stress when you need to make quick rostering changes.

Tech in Hospitality – the keys to making good decisions.

February, 2017

There has been a massive boom in the last few years of online and cloud-based apps for the hospitality industry. These range from point of sale and payroll systems, to time and attendance monitoring apps.

While many of these apps are great, they are often introduced in a hurried fashion – without much thought about how they work together, or talk to existing systems.

Here are three things to consider before introducing digital changes in your business:

Look for ‘true’ integration

New apps will often claim to integrate with other systems but regularly over promise and under deliver.

Do your research. Talk to others in the industry, who have incorporated your proposed new system, to see what they do and don’t like about it. Ask tech experts what they think about it. Check out Google reviews.

It can be easy to be fooled by the glitz and glamour of a new product, so make sure you know exactly how it functions to allow you to make the right decisions for your business.

Evaluate the ‘true’ benefit of change

 The only reason you should introduce a new digital system is because it will be beneficial for your business. So, make sure you understand exactly how the new system will help your business run more efficiently.

Will it save time? Will it make your job easier as an owner-manager? Will it make your employees’ job easier? Will it mean less paperwork? Will it mean better communication with suppliers?

Whatever your reasons for making the change, you need to be sure your chosen system will deliver the right solution. If it doesn’t, it’s not right for you.

Look at what key information it delivers

One of the advantages of new software is that it will often deliver information that will help you to make critical decisions about the running of your business.

A product like goRoster, for example, gives you detailed information about the number of staff needed for each shift, front of house and kitchen costs, estimated turnover, and detailed staff costs – including PAYE, holiday pay, and ACC levies.

This information makes many decisions easier, such as how much stock to order, staff to roster and specials to run.


Why rostering templates are bad practice

January, 2017

Anyone who works in hospitality knows that no day is the same. Things can change as quickly as the seasons, but with far less predictably.

How busy you are depends on the weather; the time of year; what events are happening around town; what your competitors are doing that day; even if your local sports team is performing well that season.

Plus on any given week, one or more of your staff will be on holiday, away sick or have a family emergency they need to attend.

We’re continually surprised at how many businesses we find using the same roster template that they created months ago.

With so many fluctuations not just day to day, but shift to shift, rostering templates can become out of date as quickly as they are created. Your template roster might have worked last week, but this week you have three large functions, an international touring band in town, and half your staff are away with the flu.

That’s why we recommend using a four-step process when it comes to rostering: Plan, execute, review, repeat.

Make a roster that can change as your situation does. Have contingencies in place for when things don’t go to plan, and continually assess how things are tracking. Take notes on what did and didn’t work and make changes accordingly.

A system like goRoster allows managers to access all the relevant information needed to execute this four-step process effectively. This is the best practice for managing staff, and the one followed by the most successful businesses in the hospitality industry.

When are wage costs too low?

January, 2017

Working hard to maintain wage costs at a certain percentage of turnover is often the difference between a successful business and a not-so successful one. Which is why staff wages are one of the most controlled costs in the hospitality industry.

There are several systems available to help businesses monitor these costs, from spreadsheets to custom software – like the kind goRoster builds. Of course, some businesses are more efficient than others, when it comes to managing staff wage costs.

While a very low wage cost percentage may be a welcome sight for your accountant, it can be a tell-tale sign of being understaffed. And the one thing that results from a lack of staff is bad service.

We’ve all experienced long-wait times for meals, endless queues for drinks on a night-out, and obviously over-worked staff. Many of us have told our friends about it, posted on social media about the experience, or left a bad review online. Certainly, most of us never returned to endure the experience a second time.

The backlash from just a few disgruntled customers can be far costlier than hiring one or two extra staff for that shift. You may need to appease customers with complimentary meals or drinks to apologise for long wait times. You may have potential customers leave before they have a chance to spend any money. Or you may make a reputation for the business that deters customers before they’ve even walked through the door.

Penny pinching when it comes to staff costs may help the bottom line in the short term, but could affect the viability of your business in the long-term.


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