As we come out of the winter of Omicron and tourism season (spring rush) approaches, hospitality businesses are still facing staffing issues. This spring and summer will come with their own unique challenges. Outdoor events are making their return in many places. It is good for business but may push bar owners and restauranteurs to keep up with high demands with fewer resources.
Will your team be ready to handle big crowds when things really heat up in April and May? Try these five ways to use what you’ve got and optimize your business for a successful spring rush.
1. Go The Extra Mile With Staffing Now
The earlier you can bring on new staff, the more time you have to train them. Start hiring both front-of-house (FOH) and support staff at least three months before your busiest time of the season. For a small restaurant or club, that might mean posting waiter jobs and cocktail waitress jobs as early as January.
Don’t underestimate how valuable your current team is as you ramp up for high-volume days! Give them plenty of opportunities to cross-train in multiple areas and create blended teams that pair experienced employees with new hires. Finally, make some time for team building and bonding to allow your team to get to know each other as people. They will trust each other more and communicate better when the time comes.
2. Plan For Both Dine-In and Takeout Options
As we continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to consider where and how customers will want to enjoy what you’re serving up this season. Are people in your area ready to dine inside when the weather is bad, or are they still looking for restaurants for delivery? Would takeout customers more likely “take and bake” or want ready-to-eat picnic fare? Are you still offering cocktails to go or cocktail kits? What experiences can your food and drinks be a part of?
Think about what might be in demand this spring and summer and make some adjustments to streamline your operations. For instance, add a separate pick-up counter or only serve breakfast on weekends. If you have a patio or rooftop, spend some time getting your outdoor space ready.
3. Plan Smart Spring Promotions
Take your planning one step further to create promotions that make for easy sales and alleviate crowds during peak hours. Outdoor festivals and events are making a return, so be aware of high-traffic days in your neighborhood. Look at your sales numbers from last year. Highlight what days were busiest and why. Don’t forget to take a look at this national data that shows a rebound for Chicago restaurants at the end of last year.
Once you have a feel for what your business needs, ask yourself what people will be craving to create enticing offers. If this is something you struggle with, consider using the SIP POS extension to access more refined customer data.
4. Check Your Cash Flow
If you’re running out of money from last year’s busy season, you may be tempted to wait on investing in your business until more revenue comes in. But you may have a more profitable season if you spend wisely on things that will directly improve customer experience. Make a couple of smart investments or sign up for money-saving services now and keep track of when bills are due so you won’t risk missing payments when things get busy.
5. Get Your Tech (And Communication) Aligned
This applies to both in-house communication and planning how information will be shared with your customers. Make sure staff is trained and comfortable with POS software and payment processors, and get set up to receive orders in multiple places such as online/to go, bar sales, and tableside. Update your menus and print plenty of signage to guide your customers through their experience.
Finally, map out what marketing promotions you’ll need throughout the season, including e-blasts, website updates, and social media. Take a look at how SIP integrates with Toast POS and Clover POS to help with touchless ordering and payment in addition to marketing and promotions.
After the Omicron surge, we’ll likely see another wave of anxiety about gathering and eating in person. People still care about cleaning and safety, so on top of health department regulations, make sure policies about masks and proof of vaccination are clearly posted.
If you’re looking for ways you can use this upcoming season to grow your bar or restaurant business, now is a smart time to get set up with the SIP POS extension. Book a demo to get a glimpse at the kinds of insights you can get about who your customers are and what they want. You’ll finish out this season with more money in your pocket and a goldmine of data to keep leveraging for future success.
Article by Kelsey Hoff