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




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


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


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.







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Navigating the 2018 minimum wage increase

December, 2017

Minimum wages are set to rise to $20 an hour by 2021 under the new coalition government. With the New Year upon us, the first of a series of incremental increases has already been announced. While this is great for employees, it will have a significant impact on hospitality and retail businesses across the country.

So, how will your business survive in this new environment? Here’s three tips that could help you mitigate the impact of this change.

Create a good employer brand

With the rise in labour costs, you’ll really want to attract the best possible talent.

Make your business somewhere people want to work by creating a culture that isn’t just incentivised by a pay check.

Celebrate excellence by providing rewards to well performing staff, such as naming them employee of the month; organise regular activities for your team to socialise and bond as a team; and offer all employees the opportunity for growth in their role.

Focus on efficiency

The old adage ‘time is money’ will ring even more true with increased labour costs. Focus on making sure you’ve got efficient systems in place so that your outgoings are as low as possible.

Implement a solid rostering system that allows you to know who is working and what they will be doing. Develop procedures that help you to stay in control of the business on a day to day basis, from knowing what stock has been ordered, to seeing your daily, weekly and monthly profit. Create open communication channels between your employees and human resources team, to make sure any issues get ironed out quickly.

Test and measure your systems and procedures, and repeat until you have it down to a fine art. The more efficient your team, the healthier your books will be.


 Keep your employees at the top of their game with regular training. Not only do well-trained staff work more productively and create less errors, they also help to entice repeat customers.

Whether it’s a video tutorial, accredited hospitality paper, or upskilling by a more experienced member of the team, training of any kind is an investment in the future of your business.

The new minimum wage will come into play before you know it, so start getting prepared now.

Making a case for a time and attendance system

November, 2017

Having reliable rostering software, like goRoster, means that you know who is working in your business at any given time. It’s a great tool to help you manage your staff without having to be on site 24/7. What it doesn’t tell you, however, is whether staff members are actually working the hours they are rostered for.

That’s where a time and attendance system comes in handy. It digitally captures the exact times that staff start and end their shifts. You then know exactly how long your staff are working, and can pay them accordingly. These systems are becoming commonplace in businesses throughout the world, as digital technology continues to make them a cost-effective solution.

Implementing such a system can have a big impact on the day-to-day running of your business, so here are a few things you should consider before taking the plunge:

Accurate payroll

If you’re unhappy with the accuracy of your payroll, upgrading your time and attendance system could be your new best friend.

Modern time and attendance systems can calculate payroll to the nearest minute, helping you to avoid spending money on unproductive hours, or errors related to staff clocking in or out incorrectly.


Implementing a time and attendance system can help find trends that you may be unaware of when just looking at a roster.

Are staff being consistently sent home early because it’s too quiet, or regularly working overtime because it is too busy? Being able to record your staff’s actual hours against the roster helps to plan shifts for the coming weeks, months and years. You may need to rethink your opening hours, increase or decrease staff at certain hours, or change the shift plan altogether.


There’s no point upgrading your time and attendance system if it isn’t going to talk to your current roster software. Having to manually compare data between two unintegrated systems is difficult, time consuming and prone to errors, so make sure the new system you choose is compatible.


As solid as your staff management processes may be, it is impossible to keep an eye on everything your staff are doing. The time and attendance system you choose needs to help seal loopholes that allow staff to bypass procedures. If, for example, staff are using swipe cards or pass words to clock in, these can easily shared with colleagues to use if they are running late. It’s an awful thought, and one that businesses with great staff never have to worry about, but it does happen.


If you are considering implementing a time and attendance system to assist in catching out staff members that you believe to be shirking hours, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

You’re most likely already aware of your staff’s shortcomings, so a new system will only tell you – albeit in plain black and white – what you already know. And in our experience, it won’t change the behaviour of staff member X anyway.

This is an issue that needs to be handled by management, and is not a good reason to implement new technology.

Four key things to consider when selecting roster software

September, 2017

Rostering has always been a difficult task for many businesses.

Thankfully, today, there are online software options that can assist with this challenging task. If you’re thinking about using rostering software for your business, here are some things you might want to consider;


Is the software right for your business?

It’s well known that customers often choose software systems on the basis of features, in the false belief they are getting more bang for their dollar.

However, how many buttons do you use on your toaster?

Simplicity is often the best route or option.


Who else is using the software and can I talk to them?

Often talking to similar businesses, like your own, that have used the product, can reveal pitfalls or advantages with the software.


What’s happening in the future?

What might we need in the future and would the software still be suitable for us?

What do the software developers have planned and what’s on their product roadmap?


What are the support options?

What happens if something goes wrong and I need assistance? Can I speak to somebody? How are people trained to use the software?


Timeframes for payroll much faster with goRoster – TANK Juice

February, 2017

Since its humble beginnings in 1996, TANK has grown to more than 70 stores nationwide. Famous for its juices made from real fruit and vegetables – and more recently expanding its menu to include salads and wraps – TANK has become a destination for kiwis looking for healthy, fresh and fast food.

Jess Dempsey, Human Resources Manager for TANK Juice, says that goRoster was initially introduced by the company to help with staff management. With hundreds of employees, TANK required a system that would make the job of managing them all a simple one.

Out with the old, in with goRoster

Before goRoster, TANK’s systems were all paper-based. “We used excel spreadsheets to organise things like rostering, staff costs, and turnover. It was time consuming and prone to errors,” Jess says.

goRoster replaced this system with an automated, online one that was much simpler and quicker to use. “We now have visibility of all of our staff all in one package, which makes it much easier to prepare rosters, track times, calculate leave, and forecast staff costs,” Jess says.

Integration with payroll a plus

The seamless integration between goRoster and TANK’s existing systems – such as payroll – was a huge benefit for Jess.  “The timeframes for payroll are so much faster now – and with a lot less margin for error. Running reports for things like public holidays – which are different every year – are also really easy to do.” 

When TANK moved to a new payroll provider in 2016, the compatibility of the new system with goRoster was of high importance. “goRoster works so well for us, we needed to make sure that it integrated well with whatever payroll provider we used,” Jess says.

The company is also looking to upgrade its Point of Sale system soon. “And when we do, that decision too will be influenced by the way it integrates with goRoster,” Jess says.

Tech makes things easy

Creating a cloud-based system for TANK has allowed Jess and her team to access important information from anywhere at any time. “As things can change so quickly, having the freedom to access the system whenever we need it is a real-life saver.”

The mobile-app has also made communicating with staff a cinch. “Every team member is connected in real-time, so if anything changes, they know about it straight away,” Jess says.

“What I love about working with the goRoster team is that they really listen to what we want, and then implement changes suit the way our business works,” Jess says.

Why your business needs to be more mobile

March, 2016

Why your business needs to be more mobile The term ‘mobile’ has two distinct meanings.

“To be able to move or be moved freely or easily” and “relating to mobile phones, handheld computers or similar technology.”

These two definitions are highly relevant in the hospitality and retail industries. 3.4 billion people worldwide own a smartphone (1), and 9 out of 10 of us own a mobile device (tablet, laptop, iPad) (2).

Let that statistic sink in for a minute. If you’re not including ‘mobile’ within your hospitality or retail business, it’s time to start thinking about how your business can.

  • Being more mobile allows your business to be agile.

When you invest in big pieces of technology, you do so in the hope that it is going to bring big positive changes to your business. On the contrary, investing in large clunky bits of technology leaves you unable to take advantage of shifts or new developments, in the technology market. Take for example a Point of Sale till system you’re using in your bar. It’s essentially the beating heart of your operations, and it’s a big investment.

New mobile add-on technologies typically come with the ability to integrate with these larger pieces of software. Their primary purpose is to give you the control over those areas of your business where you feel you may be overlooking. Business agility and the ability to see value in new and developing technologies will ensure you are able to respond to any competitive pressure.

  • Employees that are mobile promote collaboration

Hospitality and retail businesses often have a management style where they fit the profile of “business without borders”. With an increase on multi-location sites, often a manager can be needed at more than just one site. They can’t always work out of one office, and they need to be flexible.

Being more mobile and allowing managers and head office staff alike, to login from anywhere allows for greater employee collaboration. Everyone is able to work in an online environment with complete transparency.

It’s not just about physically being mobile, it’s about using the correct technology hand in hand with this.

  • Mobile technology excels in data security

Mobile technology is forever developing new and inventive ways of maintaining data. Often, a head office team who all hover over the same Excel spreadsheet place too much emphasis on making sure all the formulas are correct, the right cells are locked, and while this is all happening – they have very little time to focus on the big picture.

You need to be able to maintain a focus on the business. Having an IT department isn’t typically a core competency for a hospitality or retail business. Single, effective software applications are more cost effective and reliable. The right mobile technology will allow you to relocate your precious people resources towards growing your business, and focusing on what’s really important.

Increased competency with mobile technology is opening up new paths for companies to do business ‘differently’. Being more mobile will allow your hospitality or retail business to keep pace with developing digital trends, and combat any competitive pressure.

goRoster is a software application that will help save your business both time and money. We integrate with a number of cloud-based payroll companies and can help you to drive efficiencies in your head office department. To read more about the importance rostering holds within your operations, head on over to the business section of the blog.


(1) www.raconteur.net/mobile-business-2016.html
(2) www.inc.com/peter-roesler/16-stats-about-mobile-marketing-to-boost-your-business-in-2016.html

Still using Excel for your staff rosters?

February, 2016

Still using Excel for your staff rosters?

Spreadsheets are the go-to problem solver for many businesses and can be great for many simple tasks such as cashflow projections, asset lists and purchase orders.

However while it may be an quick and easy fix, in many situations a spreadsheet just doesn’t measure up.  This is especially true when performing business critical tasks such as managing your financial and operational data and when you need multiple users to collaborate on a multi-step process.

This includes your staff rosters!

Many hospitality and retail businesses now realise the important role efficient staff rostering plays in their overall success. Using more effective methods of creating and sharing rosters enables businesses to be more efficient, provide their staff with better information and gain valuable insights into their operating performance.

Here’s a number of reasons why it’s time to move away from Excel.

Spreadsheets don’t support a collaborative workflow

Excel spreadsheets (and even cloud spreadsheet programmes like Google Sheets) can get messy when several contributors are involved and issues can arise such as multiple copies of the same file, security and privacy of information and ensuring a repeated workflow from one user to the next.

Contrast this with the built-in collaborative features of modern cloud based technologies permits interaction from all employees within a defined workflow and streamlines the process from start to finish/

Potential for human error

Here’s a hypothetical situation; Angela from accounts has spent Monday morning setting up a great spreadsheet, formulas and all – only to find the following morning that Jack, the Duty Manager from the previous evening, accidentally deleted one of the her formulas and all the figures for the day are now wrong and staff start turning up for the wrong shifts (or worse, not turning up at all!).

Too much human interaction can lead to increases in potential for error. Spreadsheets place too much dependency on the user’s skill and accuracy.

Record keeping

Whilst Excel does provide a form of record keeping, it isn’t as meticulous or robust as is necessary when attending to important management- or finance-related information.  Modern organisations need to ensure the correctness of all of their information and good change logs /  auditing processes form a part of this.

Visualisation of your data

live-costingWhose eyes don’t glaze over when presented with a multi-page spreadsheet full of tiny rows of numbers? While Excel does support custom charts these require high user skills to master and can be prone to error as well. Better visualisation of your data will lead to being able to make better, more informed decisions.

Tools that are built for a specific purpose will always out-do Excel in presenting relevant information in a useful and meaningful way.  Businesses should always be testing and measuring their key performance indicators and using the best possible tools to visualise that information.


goRoster is a simple, easy to use and cost effective online solution which helps you spend less time on paperwork and more time on what’s really important to your business. If you’re ready to get off Excel spreadsheets, we have a special offer: Sign up for a full year’s subscription before March 15th and get two months free. PLUS we have our knowledgeable, friendly team of rostering experts who can help you get up and running quickly! Get started on your free, no obligation trial here.

A new year calls for a revamp. Presenting the new goRoster designer!

March, 2015


We’re getting close to releasing our new roster designer.

Want to try it out before we go live? Contact support@goroster.com and let us know and we can switch you over.

Here are some of the changes you can expect to see:

  1. iPad/tablet compatible (some features may not be available depending on tablet type)
  2. The first major change we have made is the removal of the Silverlight plugin which was originally required to use the roster designer. But no more!
  3. Quick search for any employee within your roster
  4. Add employees quicker via a sidebar. You can search also for employees and tags also
  5. Drag and drop to combine or replace a cell
  6. Keyboard shortcuts using C and V when hovering to copy and paste, and DEL to delete all shifts in a cell
  7. Sidebar menu with options (publish, favourites, copy week etc)
  8. Roles shown by initials (you can also hover over the cell to see full role name)
  9. Entire cell coloured by role
  10. Change to any site roster via a dropdown
  11. iPad/tablet compatible (some features may not be available depending on tablet type)
  12. Break indicators

So, there you have it! We are looking forward to releasing this new version to you all. If you have a query about any of the updates (or want to use it now) please do not hesitate to contact the team at support@goroster.com.

How To Solve The Biggest Problems Associated With Employee Conflict

October, 2014

Employee conflict can be an onerous task for management staffAs a manager, how you deal with employee conflict is crucial and it’s important that you have processes in place that set a standard. We’ve put together some strategies that make this process less daunting and if executed correctly, can lighten the weight of some of the more burdensome tasks of being a manager.

1. A positive environment: A positive environment encourages positive interactions. As a result, the likelihood for conflict lessens.

2. Define acceptable behaviour: It’s important that appropriate and acceptable behaviour is defined right from the very beginning. Everyone must be on the same page which will allow disciplining a much easier task for you knowing that the bar is set at the same level for every employee.

3. Let people tell their story: Lend an ear. This often can do the world of good for the employee/s in question and that may be all that is needed. Let them get their feelings of their chest.

4. Identify the true impediment: Delve a little further into any conflicts that arise and look for recurring patterns. If there’s something that seems to pop up too often then you know fixing the source, levels of conflict are likely to drop.

5. Approach it as soon as the behaviour becomes prevalent: The longer you leave it brewing, the likelihood the bigger the explosion in the end. If you can learn to sense conflict that may arise, try and meet this conflict head on before it comes to fruition. If you leave it too long, your employees will lose faith in you as a mentor and role model.

6. Determine the type of conflict and its severity: Everyone is different and each person has their own ideas and opinions on types of conflict. Try and put yourself in both parties shoes and determine the severity of the conflict. Is it simply petty and can be dealt with quickly and easily? Or is it something much more?

7. Eliminate favouritism: Favoritism is a recipe for disaster. Although it is human nature for us to like some people more than others, try and make an effort with each and every employee. It help to eliminate you from being drawn into conflicts and used as someone’s personal ammunition!

8. Accommodate the differences: If a little reshuffling of shifts is necessary to keep the air clear and peaceful – then go ahead! If certain employees think it’s better that they are apart and this doesn’t interfere with the flow of the business, do all you can to keep all parties happy. Of course – within reason though.

9. Realize that not all brains are the same: Everyone is different. Some conflicts may take longer than others to solve. The more experience you have with dealing with them, the better the mechanisms you will develop to cope with them. Always remember that no two people are ever going to react exactly the same.

10. Verbal and written warnings: This is obviously the route you want to avoid as much as possible. Do ensure you have strict company policies in place regarding employee conflict management and stick to these policies! Having a good benchmark will the HR side of things a lot easier for you and the rest of your management team. All conflicts need attention and must be dealt with accordingly and with the correct action.

If you need to reshuffle employees that don’t seem to be getting along – here’s your solution! Give a free trial of goRoster a go here and see how this onerous task can now be simple and all fixed with an easy click of a button…

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