The end of the year is speeding towards us faster than a waitperson on roller skates. It’s also one of the busiest times of year for the food service industry, with staff lunches, company Christmas lunches, family and friend lunches and dinners, Christmas parties – the list is longer than Santa’s naughty or nice.
As the season gets closer, and you start to prepare your business for the onslaught, what are some things you need to consider or anticipate in order to get you through relatively unscathed?
One of the things that can make or break a business during a busy period is the staff. Being able to anticipate peak times, days and weeks is crucial. For most businesses, looking back at past records will be able to help plan staff levels, schedule the rosters accordingly and determine the skillset and levels needed at any given time over that period.
When busy periods are on the horizon, foresight is important. Getting orders in early, although not guaranteed, is usually the best way to ensure you have what you need to be able to meet demand. When it comes to your menu, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up in case the worst happens. This leads us to our next point.
Plan Your Menu
Another point that will fall under the ‘obvious’ category is the importance of planning your menu. Given the time of year, there will definitely be staples that cannot be left off the menu, which makes planning easier. However, like every creative industry, new things will want to be tried. It may be best to trial new dishes one at a time as specials. This can help gauge demand, helping you order the right amount of ingredients and judge the necessity of back-up dishes.
If you are needing to bring on board casual staff to get you through the busy season, training is a must. Carefully train your staff so they clearly understand their roles and responsibility, not to mention how you run your business, back and front-of-house. Apart from reducing the stress on you during these times, it will also provide a more professional atmosphere for your customers.
Equipment and Facilities
There is no point in preparing for a busy season if you do not have the facilities and equipment to accommodate customers. Ensure that you have enough plates (inclusive of expected breakage), cutlery, tables and chairs to service the increased demand. Even take stock of the size of your premises, including outside, and see if there is any way in which you can capitalise on the space you have. An extra few covers could prove to be a lucrative move for your business.
We understand there are many more things that can be considered, but we hope that we have been able to provide you with a starting point, or brought to the fore some ideas which may have been forgotten.
From all of us at Bakers Maison, we wish you all the best for the festive season and hope you have a fun, safe and profitable period.