The busy season is upon us, with warmer days luring guests to patios and rooftops. Additionally, two of our busiest holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, are on the horizon. Now’s the time to ensure you’re running a tight ship and keeping staff motivated.
Restaurants accomplish this through strong operational efficiencies and ensuring employees feel engaged and part of the team. Increasing competition and demand along with worker shortages has created the perfect storm, making hiring for this upcoming season one of our greatest challenges. The earlier you start recruiting, the better your options, with some restaurants turning to social media and local schools for potential summer hires.
From optimizing your marketing strategy to changing your seasonal menu, hiring, and training, restaurant operators have much on their plate as spring takes hold. Let’s explore a few of the opportunities this time of year provides for enhancing business and the customer experience.
Increasing Operational Efficiency
Increasing operational efficiency has many perks, including increasing revenue and ensuring a smoother workflow. A few common strategies this time of year include streamlining menus, training staff on seasonal changes and upselling, and using technology and data as the cornerstone of successful operations.
Simplifying your menu is one of the best ways to boost profitability and operational efficiency. Because of supply chain issues and inflation, a majority of restaurants took this approach in 2022. According to the National Restaurant Association, about 59% of restaurants changed their menu offerings. Technomic reported that 53% of restaurant guests liked the simplified operations that took place during the pandemic and would like to see these changes applied on a permanent basis.
Offering fewer items also means less food prep and waste while reducing inventory costs. Some restaurants have well-developed seasonal menus, while others base changes on the current market. Looking at past data, such as sales and guest favorites, is the key to optimizing present performance. Take time to view recipes and adapt based on market conditions. Recipe costing cards can be used to price your menu, order and keep track of inventory, reduce food waste, and control portion size.
Keeping a steady eye on the reports your POS generates is key for keeping costs down and managing incoming revenue. Bookkeeping shows you what’s transpired, whereas POS reports offer real-time dashboards. Menu pricing, staff schedules, and food costs are revolving at a quicker pace than average, requiring operators to stay abreast of changing data. A few of the critical data components include the cost of goods sold, overhead, prime cost, and food cost percentage.
Training and Upselling
A well-trained staff is essential to optimizing operations. In the BOH, this translates to an organized and updated kitchen space that enhances efficiency. It’s training in inventory usage, quality control, reducing food waste, and maintaining focus.
Observe the entire flow of your operations to discover possible bottlenecks and disruptions. If a seamless continuity exists, give credit where credit is due because this is a remarkable achievement for any restaurant.
In the FOH, the customer experience reigns supreme. The best experience is provided by knowledgeable staff who recommend offerings, enabling guests to try new and varied food and beverage items they may not have otherwise considered. Using today’s technology to increase staff incentives with contests leads to engaged employees.
F&B Insights provides educational content and sales contests and integrates with your dashboard to track sales per employee and the promotions of high-margin products. This app also works with suppliers, enabling them to launch sales contests that promote their brand.
Technology & Equipment
Has your restaurant entered the age of technology? Is some of your equipment in need of replacement? Now is the time to take stock to ensure a positive guest experience in the coming months. Some of the growing restaurant technology trends include automated table-side payments, online training, and integrated online ordering solutions.
Are you ready to make this your best season yet? At EMERGING, our proprietary technology, Target Workforce, helps operators find the best qualified and well-trained staff at the lowest recruiting cost. Additionally, F&B Insights, a division of EMERGING, offers AI-driven menu pricing and menu monetization for additional revenue streams. To learn more in time for summer hiring and menu changes, contact EMERGING today.
What is the seasonality of the restaurant industry?
It’s common for restaurants to experience their highest sales from April to September. Outdoor patios and rooftop venues begin opening, followed by increased tourism. Two of the busiest holidays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, are also found within this peak season.
How can restaurant operations be improved?
A few quick tips for improving restaurant operations include optimizing and simplifying your menu, incorporating technology, hiring competent staff, and ensuring an engaged team using training and competition. In addition, monitor all reports and maintain a clear picture of food costs, inventory, revenue, and expenses.