When holidays approach, it’s easy to get lost thinking about footfall and revenue, without laying the groundwork to grow both of these effectively.
During busy periods, having the right amount of staff on shift at the right time, whilst maintaining labour percentages can be really difficult.
Trying to scrimp on your labour spend by simply removing hours from a rota will end up costing you more in missed sales. Likewise, overspending on labour to play it safe will reduce productivity and eat into your profitability.
Spring and summer are pivotal points for the industry, with numerous bank holidays and school holidays from March to August. Scheduling your teams effectively means finding the balance of having enough staff for peak periods, whilst sticking to your labour budget. You want to be flexible and show attention to detail.
This article will serve as a guide for holiday management in hospitality.
First of all, you need to think about the kind of problems to consider like:
- Time off requests
- Requests for additional hours
- Extended holiday hours or early closings
- Planning for events
All of these are to be expected during busier periods when there are variations in trade.
The first step in a good labour management process is to forecast demand based on historical sales data. Having visibility of last year’s like-for-likes will serve as the best indicator of your future labour needs. You can identify peaks and troughs, helping to determine when you need people in, and when you need to scale back on labour.
By getting advanced rotas in place, employees can see shift plans easily, meaning any issues can be spotted and resolved.
When teams are using one system as a point of truth, it is much easier to collaborate. Managers are able to communicate rotas and employees can volunteer for available shifts, meaning labour demand is met.
Synchronising holiday calendars also allows advanced rotas to stay true to availability on key dates. When scheduling rotas during peak times, you need staffing levels right. There’s different skills required for front of house than there are for back of house, so making sure you have the right people at the right time is really important.
Planning for weather variations is also a big factor to consider when planning your labour. Sunny bank holidays make for even busier shifts – take last year’s Jubilee celebrations in June, when sales were up 14% compared to the week before.
The next factor to take into account is managing slack tasks effectively. Using tools that tell you how you should be staggering shifts to reduce labour costs will ensure that productivity does not slip and eat into profitability.
Likewise, under scheduling and stretching your teams too far will result in a lot of stress hours and poor service. You’ll have kitchen mix ups and long wait times.
The key is to dedicate the right amount of time to slack tasks, making sure areas are kept clean and tidy, with time to get ahead on prep.
Every minute that managers spend manually scheduling employees could be better spent on the floor managing staff. Not to mention, manually building, editing and updating on a weekly basis often leads to lots of errors and unbalanced rotas.
Effective labour management comes down to consistency, without this, costs will be further inflated. Working out your budget based on historical data, and sticking to it, will ensure there are no surprises in payroll, as well as making sure every shift runs at peak productivity.