success

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 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.

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.

Managing chaos during the silly season

December, 2016

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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!

Another way to budget – introducing ‘maximum hours’

October, 2016

We have added another feature to our software – a ‘maximum hours’ function that lets you set limits for a roster and make sure employees are not over-worked.

Previously, customers have only been able to create rosters based on costs. Now, maximum hours can be entered for both rosters and employees. Alerts will pop up when you have gone over your hours, but won’t restrict what you can do.

This means you’ll be able to see your budget and stick to it, without knowing the pay rates/costs of each staff member. But if you want to, then you can also add in the expected and actual revenue to compare against the hours – just to make budgeting a little easier.

Users who have the permission to edit financial information will be able to enter the maximum weekly hours for employees. This new field can be found on the General tab when editing the Pay and Cost panel of an employee. Once entered, the maximum hours will show against the employee in the roster designer. A warning will be displayed if a person is rostered for more hours than their maximum.

Users who have the permission to edit rosters and roles will be able to enter the maximum weekly hours for rosters. This new field can be found in the Edit window of a roster. Once entered, the maximum hours will show in the footer of the roster designer. A warning will also be displayed if the total rostered hours exceeds the maximum.

You can enter maximum weekly hours for each roster:

roster

You can also add maximum weekly hours for each employee:

employee

An alert will pop up in the roster designer when you have exceeded your roster’s maximum hours. To switch between hours and costs in the pie chart in the bottom right corner, click on ‘By Hours’ or ‘By Costs’.

designer

 

Make plans now to save time later

September, 2016

Hungry hipsters = great profit margins!

Everyone makes a plan at some point in their life. Whether it’s for their wedding, family, business – or even just the weekend. Spontaneity is fun when it comes to road trips and skinny dips, but successful businesses need to think about the future and how to work smarter, not harder.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

As a business owner, do you make plans for next week? What about the week after, or the one after that?

In the hospitality trade, a busy day can quickly become slow depending on the weather or who won the rugby, so a bit of planning can help you control your biggest cost – staffing.

It doesn’t have to take much time. An hour this week looking through your roster records could save you a headache next week. Look at what events are coming up, what bookings you already have, whether any employees are going to be on leave and how much you spent on wages last month. Even checking the weather forecast could be helpful!

Having a plan for next week that supports your overall business plan will motivate you to achieve your goals.

So, what’s your plan?

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.” – Alan Lakein

Not enough vs too many staff – get the right balance

July, 2016

Coffee

We’ve been in the roster software business for eight years now and have worked with a lot of hospitality businesses in both NZ and Australia. One thing we’ve learnt is that having the right number of employees is crucial to success.

Having too many staff will cut into your profit and leave workers standing around with nothing to do. Staff wages are one of the three largest expenses of a hospitality business and the only one that you can control, so keep a close eye on those costs.

Even more important is to have enough staff, otherwise your team will become stressed from working in an under resourced environment and customers will grow tired of waiting 25 minutes for a latte. That will lead to a bad reputation and, eventually, failure. Understaffing is the most common reason for hospitality businesses going under.

One way to find the right staffing balance for your business is to keep tabs on wages. Being able to see how much is being spent each day, week and month will help you determine whether you have the right number in your team.

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How to reduce staff no-shows

July, 2016

Hospitality

It’s Saturday night and dozens of people are starting to stream into your restaurant for a bite to eat. Your staff are ready and everyone’s looking sharp… except Dave, who was supposed to be there 15 minutes ago. Turns out he didn’t realise he was meant to be working and is away for an epic skiing weekend. Awesome for him – not so much for you.

(more…)

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 support@goroster.com and find out what goRoster can do for you!

Be authentic, and discover what your customers really want

April, 2016

Be authentic, and discover what your customers really want

Over the last few years we’ve been able to get a pretty good handle on your biggest pain points as a business. Our research shows that the areas crucial to being able to run a hospitality or retail business effectively are:  

  • Employee management
  • Effective communication  
  • Better financial transparency
  • Increased visualisation and clearer accountability

We recently attended Kiwi Landing Pad’s annual Sales and Marketing Jam, which hosted some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs from the tech industry.

When attending these events we try to think what “bits of gold” we can take away to give to our goRoster audience. Bits of advice, trends and inspiration that align with our audience’s respective industries. Savannah Peterson, was one of the guest speakers at this event. She said

“You are your own brand; only you have to go to bed with yourself every night. Be awesome.”                 – Savannah Peterson, Speck Design – San Francisco CA

How great is this statement? It is so applicable in all areas of business. As a director, business owner, manager or employee, everyone is going to form an opinion of you. Make sure they form an awesome one. Because at the end of the day, it’s only you and your employees out there batting for you. Make yourselves memorable to your customers.

Regardless of whether you’re a hospitality or retail business, it’s important you have a clear vision of what your mission is, and who your customers are. Our inception came about when we saw a clear gap in the hospitality market for managing employees. There was a real struggle there. Now, almost a decade later we’ve grown, just as you have, to ensure we too keep pace with the changing needs and developments within your industry.

Our ‘discovery’ was seeing time and time again, rosters being built incorrectly. Time consuming spreadsheets, outdated technology, and trying to juggle multiple site rosters at once was causing significant business inefficiencies. Using the right tools within your business is imperative and adopting new technologies is crucial if you want to maintain competitive advantage within your market.

Esteban Kolsky, CEO of ThinkJar in an annual survey concluded that:

55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. Kolsky points out the word ‘guaranteed’, noting customers are no longer satisfied with just being promised a good experience. (1)

Discovery is key to success. What is it that’s going to give your customers a great experience? Figure out what that is, then do it. 

 

(1) 50 Important customer experience stats from business leaders http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/50-important-customer-exp_b_8295772.html
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