Our jobs require us to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
While it is difficult to compare a restaurant or bar to a traditional company, there is an important component that they all rely on: Strategy. Yes, it’s a word that gets thrown around in the Wall Street Journal anytime a company is successful or fails. How does this apply to a restaurant? You have just as much data and knowledge of yearly transactions and events as a traditional company does; it’s about utilizing that data to better plan for the months, and sometimes years, ahead.
From monthly P&Ls to your POS and reservations system, all of these systems possess data of previous days, weeks, and months that can be mined for data and information to help you better plan your operation. Your P&L can help you plan your staff and order to meet the seasonal needs, while the reservations system can help you see how many reservations came in throughout the days. Lower revenues? You can lower the staffing levels so that you can save on labor and help the P&L. Did you have team members from last year that called out around busy holiday shifts? Build a team that you can rely on during these busy periods so call outs are at a minimum.
Staffing and hiring are one of the biggest challenges that face restaurants and bars.
To be most successful, you should understand how long it takes to fully train a team member for various positions (a dishwasher may take only a few days vs a bartender who needs to learn not only the rules of the bar but the menu and expectations). If you know it takes no less than 40 hours for a server to understand the layout, table numbers, and expectations, build that into your strategy for a season so that you can invest in new team members at the right time so you have a fully functioning team when you need it most.
With all the data you have at your fingertips you are able to create a strategy that can minimize your costs and labor while allowing you to focus on making your customers enjoy their experience in your venue. Avoiding the analysis will cost your company in the long term and create negative experiences for the team and customers in the short term.