Tag Archives: Restaurant Management

The High Turnover Challenge

help wanted

In the restaurant and hospitality industry, high turnover is the norm and one of the most challenging aspects of management.  Yet, it can be extremely frustrating not being able to retain good employees and continuously deal with the stress of trying to fill positions with good candidates.  It can be a lengthy and costly process, and one that we would all love to avoid.

So how do you lessen your turnover rate and retain your best employees?

1. Provide Recognition and Rewards for Good Job Performance

Employees like to be recognized for their hard work and going above and beyond their call of duty.  It is important to promote from within so that your employees have something to strive for and don’t feel like they are in a dead-end job.  Also during staff meetings, recognize employees for their hard work.  You can even start a reward program.  After receiving a certain number of recognitions, they get a small prize.  It is also great to get them involved and have them nominate a fellow employee each month.  Giving your employees this task can lead to positive and respectful relationships amongst each other.

2. Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

EAP’s are intended to help employees with personal matters that might affect their work performance, health, and well-being.  Providing the option of an EAP shows your commitment to them and gives them a sense of security.  Offering an EAP can lead your employees to feel a sense of loyalty to your business.

3. Develop Relationships

Getting to know your employees on more than a professional level shows that you care about them.  Asking them about their family and personal interests can help build a strong relationship between you and your employees.  If you create a sense of family among your employees, it will lead to a great work environment, and they will feel a sense of commitment to you.

4. Motivate and Educate

Providing an educational environment for your employees can motivate them to flourish in their job.  Teaching your employees about different aspects of your business that aren’t necessarily part of their job can show that you care about their success and regard them as an important part of your business.  Encouraging employees to come up with new ideas for your business and taking time to listen to their ideas also gives them a sense of self-worth and importance.

 5. Community Charity Events

Sponsoring community charity events that your employees can participate in, such as 5K runs, walk-a-thons, etc., can create a sense of family and can be a team building experience.  It will bring you and your employees closer together, and provide a sense of belonging.

All the above suggestions can lead to creating a respectful, loyal, and family oriented environment for your business.  By creating this type of environment, I believe you will retain your best employees for a much longer period of time.

To help lessen turnover in the first place, employ a hiring system that helps you identify the best, most qualified and engaged candidates.  Systems that have ranking questions and are paired with an assessment tool can really help employers hone in on the best candidates who are more likely to fit the job and the culture, thereby reducing turnover in the first place.  If you are interested in learning more about such a system, visit http://redbookconnect.com/solutions/hire.

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

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New Year’s Resolutions

man jumping over 2014

I always think of a new year as a time that brings new hopes and goals. It provides me with an outlet to stop and think about what I want to achieve throughout the year. However, in my experience I’ve learned if my goals are too unrealistic, it has led to failure. Yet, when I’ve developed reachable goals, it has given me a better chance to succeed. As you know, making realistic New Year’s resolutions is also important in business. Here are 6 ideas to assist you when making your New Year’s resolutions.

1. Management/Leadership
Example: “In 2014, I would like to improve my relationship with my staff.”
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground.” I believe this quote applies to all type of leaders. I once worked for a company that had their employees anonymously write-up an evaluation on their managers. I always thought this was such a great idea. I mean, how else would a manager know how to improve their leadership skills? Listening and receiving feedback from staff provides a better understanding on which management skills need improvement. Taking the extra time to work on becoming a better manager or leader is important for everyone. There are even social online classes that teach management skills including how to organize and plan ahead, how to communicate effectively, and how to motivate employees. Learning from and talking with peers is also a great method.

2. Customer Service
Example: “This year I want to receive better reviews from customers on our service.”
With so much competition in the restaurant and retail industry, having great customer service is vital. So, how do you obtain great customer service? We know that ensuring proper training of staff is key. This not only includes training new staff, but also ongoing training for the entire staff either with in-store training and/or social e-learning courses. Secondly, I’ve experienced that how you treat your staff can have a direct impact on customer service. Creating a good work environment where the staff feels respected and rewarded helps attribute to providing great customer service. Another important way to improve customer service is to listen to customers and receive their feedback. Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” When I eat out at restaurants with my family and the manager walks over to our table and asks, “How is everything?” My husband always makes it a point to give them feedback instead of just saying, “Good.” And as I’m sure you’re well aware, there are many customers out there just like him. Sure, many times all you will get is a “good”, but whether it’s positive or negative feedback, it is always helpful to hear what is working and what can be improved. Last but not least, it’s always nice to go that extra mile for customers. If they leave your business feeling like they had a wonderful experience, they will become loyal customers and refer your business to others.

3. Technology
Example: “In 2014, I want my restaurant to run more efficiently.”
A new year calls for new technology. Technology is becoming more and more popular with both restaurants and retail. Nowadays, in order to compete with other businesses, adding technology has become quite the necessity. I have interviewed many restaurant managers who have raved about how technology has allowed them to spend less time in the back office, and more time on the “front lines” engaging with customers and spending time with their staff. They say that it helps their restaurants run smoothly, improves staff morale, and most importantly, increases profits. Whether it’s improving inventory count, back-office organization, shift scheduling, or hiring, technology can be a managers’ best friend.

4. Marketing
Example, “This year I want to increase traffic to my business by 10%.”
Speaking of technology, marketing has become more affordable and easier these days. Developing a marketing plan for the New Year can help maintain current customers and establish new ones. Affordable marketing tactics include social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare, mobile and email marketing to your opt-in customers, and loyalty programs to retain customers. Keeping your business top-of-mind within your community and customer base through marketing can easily help generate increased revenue.

5. Community Involvement
Example, “In 2014, I would like my business to be more popular among locals.”
Community involvement is also a great way to keep your business top-of-mind. Sponsoring community events, junior sports leagues, and school functions not only provides recognition for businesses, but also creates a positive image. Community involvement is a great way to obtain new customers. I’m always a sucker for it!

6. Time Off
Example, “This year I don’t want to get burned out, and I would like to spend more time with my family.”
We all need a little time off to get re-energized. I admit, I am guilty of prioritizing myself and my health far behind work and family. However, planning a vacation or some time off is important to maintain sanity in ones’ personal and professional life. It can provide that quality time we all need to take a step back and reflect on our goals. Not only will it benefit yourself, but your staff and business as well.

If you’re interested in learning more about social e-learning courses or restaurant technology, visit Red Book Connect at www.redbookconnect.com.

Please share with us your New Year’s resolutions in the comments section below.
Red Book Connect wishes you a happy and prosperous New Year!

 

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

Holiday Marketing Tips for Your Business

holiday storefront pictureIt’s that time of year again!  Time to get out the decorations and holiday music and make your business look festive.  Although this might be the busiest time of year, there is still plenty of competition out there.  So how do you drive traffic into your store or restaurant besides painting your windows with holiday cheer?  Below are 5 marketing tips to ensure the holiday traffic moves through your business, rather than passes you by.

1)  Bring the holiday cheer to your social media sites.  Change your pictures to festive holiday photos.  Consistently post about specials, discounts, and freebies that your business will have throughout the holiday season.

2)  What do customers look for most during the holiday season?  A GREAT DEAL!  Whether you manage a restaurant or retail store, make sure you have daily or weekly deals.  These deals should be promoted outside your business windows, through social media sites, on your website, text and email marketing, and print advertising in local holiday guides, community magazines, etc.

3)  Text and Email your opt-in customers with special holiday greetings.  Those who have opted-in to receive texts and emails from you will be thrilled to get a holiday greeting with a special coupon included.  Spread the joy and give them an additional coupon that they can send to a friend.

4)  Promote to local companies.  Whether you are a restaurant promoting a special for company holiday parties, or a retail business giving a special discount for those that work for that company, you are bound to drive more traffic to your business during those weekday lunch hours.

5)  Benefit from the extra holiday traffic year round.  This is the perfect time of year to start a loyalty program if you don’t already have one.  Ask new customers that come into your business during the holidays to sign up for your loyalty program so that you can send them information on specials and discounts all year-long.  Want to start a loyalty program and don’t know how?  Check out the Macromatix Loyalty and Stored Value Solution which includes all the functionality necessary to run a successful program.

May your business flourish with increased sales and increased customers this holiday season.  Happy holidays from Red Book Connect!

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

The Art of Delegating

delegatingThe definition of “delegate” is to commit or entrust to another.  To commit or entrust to another?  Haven’t we always learned to be careful who to trust?  To be independent?  I can even recall my mother saying, “If you want something done to your satisfaction, do it yourself.”

Delegating can feel unnatural.  I’ll be the first to admit to having trouble delegating.  I’ve used the excuses, “it takes longer to explain what needs to be done then to just do it myself”, and, “if I do it myself, I know it will get done quickly and efficiently”.  I’ve learned in both my professional and personal life, however, that I can’t do everything myself. Delegating is an essential task that we must accomplish when managing a business.  No manager can run a business effectively without help.  In the August 2013 article from Inc., 5 Steps to Delegating Wisely, bestselling author Peter Economy shares 5 ways to delegate effectively: 

1.      Be Clear and Concise

Be very clear about both the assignment and the expected outcome — but avoid the temptation to tell your people exactly how to do their assigned tasks. Instead, describe the goal and then let them find the best approach. By allowing your team to work in the way they believe most effective, you will increase their creativity and initiative while boosting their self-esteem.

2.      Grant the Necessary Authority

Anytime you delegate a task, you also need to delegate the authority — the organizational power and resources — required to get the job done. Without this, your employees will have a much harder time doing what you’ve asked. They may even become frustrated and resentful that you’ve given them assignments that they cannot reasonably complete.

3.      Get Buy-In

Be sure to get your employees’ acknowledgement that they understand assignments and agree to take on the responsibility for completion. If they have any questions or concerns, it’s important to find out at the outset, rather than once projects are well underway.

4.      Monitor Progress

Monitoring your team’s work does two things: it motivates them and it helps you catch problems early. It’s important to know the degree of monitoring necessary for each task and each employee. An inexperienced employee, for example, will need tight control, while loose controls are appropriate for those who already know the ropes. 

5.      Correct When Necessary

If progress veers too far from the discussed guidelines, it’s time for you to take immediate and decisive corrective action. Do this first through verbal discussion, in-person whenever possible. Agree on a plan to return to targeted goals and explain the consequences for not getting back on track. But if the situation doesn’t quickly improve, you may need to take the task back and delegate it to someone else.

Delegating is a crucial component to managing successfully.  By giving your employees responsibilities, it will not only free up your time to manage your business efficiently, but you will also gain respect from your employees.  Sounds like a great recipe to a successful business!

Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect

References:

1. http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/5-steps-delegating-wisely.html

The Increase in Part-Timers

The restaurant industry has some big changes ahead, especially with the new Affordable Care Act taking effect. The changes will greatly impact how managers run their businesses and manage scheduling of their growing part-time staff.   Here are a few quick stats on the changes in part-time employment for the service industry:

part-time

  • Restaurants and bars have added 50,000 jobs per month on average since April 2013; double the rate from 20121
  • Leisure and hospitality establishments hired more workers than any other industry in June 20131
  • The addition of new restaurants and the elevated need for staff after the recession has increased part-time jobs1
  • Part-time jobs have been attractive alternatives for the growing retiree population, students, stay-at-home parents and those looking for additional income to offset the recession
  • Part-time jobs have surged by 360,000 to 28 million, while full time jobs have fallen by 240,0002

Just looking at these facts, you can see part-time employees are important, and this demographic of workers is quickly growing. With this new growth come new needs. Managers must take note and learn how to address this growing employee segment and the additional burden it places on themselves. Make sure you are meeting these employees’ needs and those of your operation by asking yourself these important questions:

Am I tracking and managing hours correctly?  The average workweek for part-time employees is 25.6 hours, an increase from 25.1hours in 2007.    Managers need to have an easy way of tracking and calculating employee hours so they can properly schedule their labor.  Bear in mind that as the number of employees, part-time or otherwise, increases, so does the complexity of labor scheduling.  Add in multiple locations, and it can quickly reach the “nightmare” level.

How much schedule flexibility should I provide?  Part-time employees come with different needs, like flexibility in scheduling. Students, for example, might be able to work a variety of different hours, while your retirees prefer the day shift and full-time employees, along with stay-at-home parents, want to work during the evening or night. Some within each group might want to pick up extra shifts or exchange shifts depending on their current needs. Don’t forget people also have life circumstances that come up, such as doctor’s visits, vacation, and personal events. Make it easy for employees to implement these changes and work with the scheduling needs and hours available to you.

How do I increase access to important information?  Employees want to be able to get to the information they need like schedules, internal information, meeting notices and company initiatives easily. Don’t make it difficult for them or your managers to stay in touch; keep them current and in the know.

Today with technology there are many options such as text alerts, schedules being accessed by phone and more. It’s simple and easy plus employees already know how to use their phone so no major training is involved.

Do all of your managers use the same methods or systems, and are the effective at providing the data they need? Your entire management staff should be well versed in the system that you use and able to operate it without you being there. That means, it should be easy-to-use and learn. It should also provide them with insight into sales and labor forecast data so that generating labor schedules is less of a guessing game and more of an exercise in precision.  Accurate labor management not only reduces the cost of labor it also ensures that you have the right number of staff members on the floor to properly and excellently serve your guests.

So how do you answer these questions and manage your business/part-time employees to the fullest? It’s easier when you have a great system in place that manages hours, overlapping shifts, zoning, shift requests, overtime and communicates with employees and management.  HotSchedules offers an amazing array of features:

  • Messaging
  • Employee shift trades
  • Reports
  • Labor Budget
  • Forecasts
  • Daily roster
  • Overtime alerts
  • Staff volume tracking
  • Alerting via text/email
  • Access via phone/online
  • Communications portal
  • Training & customer support
  • And much more…

For a demo of the scheduling solution CLICK HERE. This is just one of the many great tools available to you to meet the challenges you have as a manager during this surge in part-time employment. Other highly useful products include: The Manager’s Red Book and Macromatix.

Sources:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324694904578601922653718606.html

2 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-07-05/obamacare-strikes-part-time-jobs-surge-all-time-high-full-time-jobs-plunge-240000

By Crystal Gardner, Marketing Production Manager at Red Book Solutions | 6 Years Marketing and Project Management Experience in Agency, Corporate and Private Institutions | University of DenverDaniels College of Business, Office Of Communications & Marketing, Office Manager