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.

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.

Following these rostering tips will help drive business efficiency

April, 2016

Following these rostering tips will bring you guaranteed business efficienciesA robust rostering system is essential in any hospitality or retail business. Ensuring you have the right number of staff rostered on will keep your customers happy, and your wage cost looking great.

On the contrary, building rosters inefficiently can be a real time-waster. So, how do you get maximum results from your roster?

Here’s five quick tips you can easily incorporate into your rostering practice today. 

Utilize “Role Rostering”

First you need to work out what shifts and roles you need to fill, then costing out this plan against your employee’s hourly wages. Then, simply add the names of those staff member you wish to fill each role. Role rostering is great as is focuses on what’s best for your business. Perhaps there’s a special event in town and you anticipate being busier than usual. You need your senior employees on that can handle the pressure, but always be weary of overstaffing.

Share the top shifts

For wait and restaurant staff, certain shifts are always better than others in terms of stress and potantial for tips. These are the shifts that need the most careful management – you need to share these around fairly to ensure all staff members get their turn.

Automate rostering tasks

The more rostering tasks you automate, the more management time you free up for sorting out issues and, well, managing the business. This is where the benefits of cloud technology come into play. Modern rostering tools can provide costing models at the click of a button and can be updated in real time and sent out to employees via email or SMS.

Enable staff to plan in advance

Everyone has a busy life these days, and the more advance notice staff have of their shifts, the more you reduce unexpected absences and last-minute changes. Focus on automating your rostering system as much as possible so you can advise staff of rosters 4 weeks in advance. This will leave you with happy employees, and allowing them the opportunity to request leave early means there’s no chance of you rostering staff on when they’re not available!

Allow staff to check the roster without calling in

With a cloud-based rostering system, you can prepare the roster from anywhere. You can send a most up-to-date roster  straight to an employees smart phone as an SMS or an email. They can check this and keep it on record – no more calling in to check when their shift starts! The more of your rostering tasks that can be handled in this way, the more time you free up for other tasks.

Using these simple tips will help you implement efficient rostering strategies. If you’re looking for a cloud-based rostering tool that can automatically update employees about shift changes, then send us an email at and find out what goRoster can do for you!

Overstaffed or understaffed? Here are the signs

March, 2016

Understaffed or overstaffed? When it comes to building rosters you want to be as accurate as possible when forecasting future staffing requirements. Time again, we’ve seen rosters being created based on instinct and manager experience.

Negligence can lead to a substantial increase in costs for your business.

Often you’ll hear your employees say, “you just missed the big rush!” only to find later on that your sales figures prove otherwise. Trying to find a happy medium to combat the chance of employees standing around doing nothing, versus being completely rushed off their feet is no easy task.

Here’s a few things to watch out for:

  • Employee burnout

Typically, if you’re understaffed you’ll find your employees are burnt out. Being consistently rushed off their feet will most likely lead them to end up resenting the job.

  • A drop in service levels

Often as a direct result of being burnt out, when you’re understaffed your employees won’t be able to match the activity level happening within your business. Bad service can lead to unhappy customers – and you don’t want that! It’s important to keep your customers happy – they’re your biggest source of revenue.

  • Financial impact

Do you think that if you checked at the end of each day, you would find that the rostered hours of your employees would match the same percentages of activity level each day? It’s important to make sure that you’re optimally scheduling your staff against the variations and fluctuations in demand.

Mistakes are costly. Taking more care in building your rosters will see increases in overall service levels and efficiency. The result? A reduction in labour costs, an increase in customer satisfaction and an increase in overall profit.

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4 Key Metrics For Successful Hospitality Businesses – Part 2

August, 2015

Metric #2 – TurnoverMetric #2 - Turnover

Part two in our series on Key metrics for successful Hospitality business: click here if you missed Part 1: Wage Cost.

Turnover – “The total gross sales for a given period”

Experienced Hospitality operators understand that the day to day turnover figure is extremely difficult to predict.

We’ve spoken with thousands of hospitality organisations over the years and have noticed that whilst many operators simply accept the fluctuations and simply try to be reactive to them, the more successful ventures understand that there are huge benefits to developing a discipline and strategy around estimating potential turnover.

When such a strategy is implemented, practiced repeatedly and adjusted accordingly, these businesses are in a great position to make truly educated guesses surrounding their future financial performance. There’s no doubt that this is a somewhat difficult practice to master, however our experience has shown us that the rewards are truly worth it.

Here are some things to consider when your hospitality business is considering its future turnover:

  •  Past performance – what do we normally turnover this time of year?
  • Trends – are we trending consistently up or down against the same period last year?
  • Local Events – what is happening at the local stadium?  And will the local team likely win that rugby game?
  • Changes in competition – are there new operators in our area competing with us?
  • What is the weather forecast – how much do we normally drop in turnover on a wet day to a sunny day?
  • Promotions – Are we offering a two for one deal tonight?
  • General economic conditions – are people feeling confident about spending money
  • Holidays – is there a public holiday?  Is there one coming up that people may save money for?
  • Pricing – has our pricing changed?

live-costingAs you can well imagine, this list can become very extensive.  It’s vital to understand that each individual location will have its own list of influencing factors.

So why not get started building your list?  Once mastered, your hospitality business can only benefit from it!

Employee rostering plays a crucial role in the success of any hospitality business. If you’re interested in more information about how the right tools can help determine your turnover – jump on over to the technology section of the blog.

The Crab Shack and goRoster Share A Common Love For Cost Control

June, 2015

 The Crab Shack and goRoster share a common love for cost control

The Crab Shack is a popular coastal themed restaurant that opened in Wellington in May 2013, and on the 28th of January of this year, they opened the doors to their Auckland restaurant overlooking the city waterfront. Offering a casual dining experience with an emphasis on crab and other seafood delicacies, the Crab Shack caters to all tastes, and their menu includes dishes “From the Earth”, “From the Charcoal Barrel” and “By the Scoop”. Their meals are tasty and affordable, and the atmosphere at the Crab Shack is cheerful and laid back.

With 40 staff members to manage, Scott Ruddock, General Manager of the Crab Shack has a big job keeping track of everyone.  We caught up with Scott to see how things were going.  Scott says that he would be lost without goRoster and is very grateful for the quality software and service which makes his life a whole lot easier.

Capture1“goRoster makes it so easy to manage the rostering system which can get incredibly complicated with as many as 40 staff members. It arms us with the ability to keep track of individual staff costs and it makes communication with employees a breeze. goRoster makes a potentially stressful rostering situation run smoothly and efficiently” Scott Ruddock, General Manager – The Crab Shack.

Scott went on to talk about the particular features he likes, one of which is the ability it gives him to quickly and easily review past weeks, and that in turn allows him to more accurately project staffing requirements for future weeks. He also finds the staff tracking system particularly useful, because it helps him to balance out wage costs and see which areas need restructuring. But his all time favourite feature, is the built in communications system, which enables him send rosters, messages and receive replies quickly and efficiently.

“I love goRoster – the detailed financials, the cost tracking and the improvement in employee communication has really made things tick over at the Crab Shack” Scott Ruddock, General Manager – The Crab Shack.

If you’re interested in finding out how we can help you with your cost control, sign up for a 14 day free trial here and take the next step towards better employee scheduling.

So, where are you sitting financially?

March, 2015

Capture1As the owner or director of a business there’s always the fear of uncertainty, and the pain of implementation if ever comes the time where you need to change something that already works considerably well for you.

Why change something when it already does the job?

Ask yourselves the hard questions. Is it giving you a level of transparency necessary at the level of your position within your business? Is it giving you enough clarity, so that when it’s time for you to discuss with the board your current financial standing – you know exactly where your money has and hasn’t been going? It’s not uncommon that many people cannot answer those questions with a firm yes.

In business, nothing is more important that being on top of your financial game. There is no single formula alone that every business should abide by for determining actual employee costs because the required contributions vary from business to business. Policies also can be different from one company to another. What’s for sure is that all these costs can add up to what the true costs of employing your workforce are.

What’s alarming is that these costs can significantly shoot up because of poor staff management. Under-staffing, over-staffing, failing to hire the right people, inability to utilise people’s potential, overworked or low performing personnel and other manifestations of a poorly planned human resources strategy can bring sizeable, often undetected expenses to a company.

So, where are you sitting financially?

goRoster helps to gain much more clarity with respect to your financial standing. We’re here to help ensure you gain enough understanding each week in knowing exactly what your breakdown of costs are. Click here to give our free trial a go and see how we can help you gain control over your costs again.

Want to know true cost of employing a staff member? It’s more than you think.

March, 2015


If someone were to ask you what you believed to be the true cost of an employee, do you think you’d be able to answer it?

In our experience, most people can’t.

The biggest thing standing in the way of those who can’t answer this is their inability to see things long term – they’d rather calculate figures on week to week basis and see that those costs are tracking correctly and align to their targets, rather than looking at the big picture.

With the end of the financial year luring, a lot of businesses are starting to look over their accounts, seeing that everything adds up just nicely. But – have you accounted for everything you needed to along the way? Have I got your attention yet? Good. I hope so. Because by not accurately accounting for all of your employee costs along the way can leave you in a rather sticky situation come the end of the year when you haven’t been accounting for those costs you thought back then could simply wait.

Most hospitality businesses follow this typical model that determines the breakdown of their expenditure:

  • 30% Fixed Costs
  • 30% Cost of Goods Sold
  • 30% Employee Costs
  • 10% Profit

The most controllable cost of all? Employee costs. When you aren’t calculating these correctly week after week – what percentage do you think gets cut into? Yep. You got it. And what business minded person wants to lose out on their profit.

You need to ensure you’re executing your employee payments accurately by paying the correct superannuation contributions and insurance each week and including these in your weekly outgoing costs. In doing so, you’re giving yourself a lot more clarity as to where you’re sitting financially as a business.

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