As operators deal with the increasingly costly and complicated labor market, new strategies are being defined to maintain profit margins – particularly when it comes to restaurant forecasting. There’s a lot of talk about kiosks as a form of customer service automation. In fact, some of the largest QSR chains are devoting significant budget to their FOH automation strategies. Recently, Skift Table illustrated this problem with some shocking stats noting that independents are facing labor costs up to 40% while Cheesecake Factory reported a 4% increase over the last 5 years. It’s no wonder the industry is turning to automation to stop the margin bleeding.
When it comes to back-office automation, forecasting is the most powerful tool in a manager’s arsenal. The right sales forecasting software solution helps you control labor costs and achieve scheduling efficiency.
Fourth Activity-Based Forecasting (ABF) applies your unique set of business rules to historical data to automatically generate shifts or hours for creating schedules. The result is a labor blueprint that your managers can follow and learn from week-over-week. Some Fourth customers have lowered their labor costs, while others optimized their staffing levels for an increase in sales.
Our latest release will make it even easier to build schedules to a precise labor budget. This month we are adding a Labor Modeler and making some much-needed improvements to the user experience.
Test your Forecasting Assumptions
The new Labor Modeler allows ABF admins to test new rules and see the impact on labor allocation without assigning them to a store. Model your new rules on different stores (pick a high and low performing store) with up to 5 weeks of actual sales data and see how close the new rules get to your labor target. There’s no need for a test store or lab site and most importantly, no confusion for your managers since you can preview the results, view a comparison against the previous set and run multiple tests and before committing to the new rules.
ABF Veterans will Appreciate an Improved User Experience
We want to make forecasting as easy as possible, so we have put a lot of time and energy into improving the usability of Activity Based Forecasting. As with other recent user interface updates, we have listened to customer feedback and applied it to this much-needed facelift. Here are some of the highlights:
- Faster loading time thanks to updated technology
- Improved search functionality means no more hunting through rows of rule sets
- Better use of space offers more at-a-glance info
- Edit, assign, duplicate rule sets within the same group or copy to another concept or brand
- New functionality: Transfer store assignment from one labor rule set to another with one click
Sales forecasting is vital for successful restaurants, and the best restaurant managers consistently do it. Are you taking advantage of all the tools in your arsenal? Join us for a Fourth Webinar to hear what we have learned about forecasting success over the last 20 years. It’s an excellent opportunity to see the new Activity Based Forecasting for yourself.