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.

Burnt-out staff are a burden on your business

December, 2016

Busy waiter and waitresses working at bar night

The Christmas period is always a busy one for those in the retail and hospitality industries. Staff are working longer hours, later nights and dealing with throngs of people every day. If not managed correctly, this can lead to unhappy and burnt-out staff, which will be a lag on your business and can result in huge costs.

Here are three tips to stop staff burnout:

Talk to them

You and your staff may have different definitions of being ‘overworked’, so it needs to be clearly defined. Communication is key. You may want to ask your staff what their expectations are, how much they would like to work and what they would see as an ideal role.

Rotate the workload

Keeping staff fresh and enthused can be as simple as rotating roles. If someone is spending most of their time in the kitchen, switch up their role by putting them front of house for example. As the saying goes, a change is as good as a holiday.

Have tight systems in place

Have systems in place that give you the information you need to identify when staff are starting to work long hours.

There are rostering systems available – like the one goRoster has developed – that will alert you when someone has worked too many hours. A staff member may not approach you if they are unhappy with the number of hours they are working, so it’s good to be proactive.

Ensuring staff aren’t overworked is key to maintaining a happy team, and ultimately happy customers!


Managing chaos during the silly season

December, 2016


The Christmas period is always a hectic time for anyone working in hospitality. With Christmas celebrations and client functions galore, it should be the busiest time of the year for you and your staff.

So how do you stay on top of things through the mad rush?

Don’t get stressed – get systematic.

When things are busy, you need to have tight processes in place to stay in control.

Make sure your systems for rostering, ordering stock, customer bookings and payroll are all as streamlined as possible. If you need assistance with putting them in place, goRoster can certainly help.

Fight chaos with communication

Keeping the communication lines open is key to maintaining a calm workplace. Make sure your staff know exactly what is happening – who is working what shift, how many people are in for dinner and any private functions that are booked for example.

Clear communication to your staff will make them feel confident and happy in what they are doing. And the positive vibes will no doubt rub off on your customers!

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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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