Avoid the stress headache and prepare for summer crowds ahead of time
With summer fast approaching, most peoples’ thoughts turn to lazy days on the beach, barbecues and relaxing times in the sun with a good book. But not the hard workers of the hospitality industry. With the summer heat, clear skies and longer days, comes bigger crowds, sweaty kitchens and… well, longer, more busy days.
If you are planning to get through the warmer months as smoothly as possible, while also hopefully breaking sales records from the year before, there are a few things you should keep in mind that can help make summer a lot less stressful and more profitable.
Buy in bulk
Many café and restaurant owners’ worst nightmare is running out of a crucial ingredient mid service. In summer it is often hard to estimate how many people will flood through the door and chefs are left with the difficult task of ‘best guess’ for stock orders. Being able to buy much-used ingredients in bulk means that you don’t have to worry about running out in the middle of service while also not having to worry about ordering so often (especially at the end of what seemed a never-ending service). Look back at your past sales and try to order supplies to meet the traffic that is coming into your restaurant.
Figure out your storage options
Buying in bulk is one thing. But having somewhere to store it is an entirely different issue. There is no point ordering massive boxes of goods if you don’t have the fridge, freezer or cupboard space to store it efficiently so it doesn’t get in the way of your kitchen staff. Look for products that are sold in smaller cartons that can be frozen for months at a time to increase your storage flexibility.
Plan your menu for speed-to-table
Summer crowds are usually after a casual dine-and-dash experience (so they don’t miss valuable time in the sun). So look for menu offerings that you can serve in no-time at all. Burgers are a great option, as well as any meals with pre-baked bread (such as Speedibake’s range of rustic and classic loaves)
Make sure you have enough dishes (and dishies)
Something you may not have considered when planning for the busy months is dishware. Making customers wait because you don’t have enough clean dishes to serve their meal is even worse than making them wait for a table. Check your dishes and make sure you have more than enough, including when the venue is so busy you can’t keep up with the dishwashing.
Be realistic about how many staff you need
During the busy holiday season, schedule more staff than you usually need. If you think you can cope with 4 staff – add 2. Reckon you’ll be fine with 25? Add half again. You don’t want to risk losing return custom because your staff were run off their feet with unexpected crowds and were unable to take orders or respond to the needs of your customers fast enough. Within reason, add some extra staff who can jump in where needed – It will be easier to let people go home once the rush dies down rather than to try and call people to come in during peak times. It is also a good idea to train your staff in the winter months. Train your waiters to make coffee or your fry cooks to specialise in a popular dish so they can jump in when needed. Also, see where there are skills or availability gaps in your current staff and hire people to fill those gaps before the busy period hits.
Remember, your venue is there to provide a convenient and fun holiday experience for your customers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good time too! Prepare this month by going through this list and you can have a smooth and profitable summer.