Plan now for a successful summer

Written by: Andrew Levey

Plan now for a successful summer
It’s only May and we seem to have had two (short) summers already – followed by more cold and rain. Hopefully the sun’s arrival led to an uplift in business, as people dug out their flip-flops and headed for bars and restaurants. It will also have revived another seasonal custom – working out how to manage your staff rota and holidays when you need employees available and willing to respond to surges in customer numbers.

First, you need to forecast your sales – and the people you’re going to need to realise the sales. There are many variables to consider here, but the British weather is one of the trickiest. There really isn’t much point in basing your numbers on the same week last year.

That’s where Fourth comes in. Our predictive forecasting algorithm takes the mystery out of planning, by using a range of data points to create the most accurate forecast.

First, it takes POS sales value and item data direct from the outlet. It reviews last year’s sales and recent sales trends, and decides which combination of this historical data best correlates to future sales. (For example, sales in January will be based more on last year than recent trends that include December peak sales.)

Predictive statistical analysis also adjusts the base forecast for changes in the weather, by comparing current weather forecasts with the conditions that applied in the raw prediction. (It does the same for other movable or infrequent variables, such as bank holidays.) Local events or other factors that will impact the business (like a new competitor opening up or scaffolding) can also be taken into account to create an accurate forecast.

Once you have a reliable sales forecast, you can organise your staff rotas. To do this effectively, you need accurate information. With the right systems in place, you can properly record staff time off and calculate the associated costs. This means you’ll have a clear picture of when they’re available and how much holiday they’re entitled to. Not only will you always stay compliant with legislation, you’ll also be able to have the right people working at the right time, so you don’t miss out on sales.

Fourth’s integrated workforce management solution handles every aspect of holiday and absence, from scheduling to payroll, and from holiday records to KPIs. It means your employee information is always correct and up to date. You have a clear process for requesting and approving holiday, which in turn gives you an accurate picture of who’s available when. You can schedule staff to meet fluctuations in demand and you can use analytical tools to identify and deal with people whose absence record causes concern.

Successful hospitality operators rely on integrated systems to link forecasting to workforce management. It’s the key to happier holidays all round.

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