Plan now for a successful summer

Written by: Andrew Levey

Plan now for a successful summer
It’s May and we seem to have finally had the first inklings of summer. The warm weather typically leads to an uplift in business, as people dig out their flip-flops and head to their local restaurants and bars to catch the game or dine al fresco. The summer rush brings with it another seasonal custom – working out how to manage your staff schedule and vacations when you need employees available.

First, you need to forecast your sales – and the staff you’re going to need to service all your customers. There are multiple factors to consider here, including finicky weather, local festivals and events. There really isn’t much point in basing your numbers on the same week as 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 demand 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 national 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 schedules. To do this effectively, you need accurate information. With the right systems in place, you can accurately keep track of staff time off and calculate the associated costs. This means you’ll have a clear picture of when they’re available and how much vacation they’re entitled to. Not only will you stay compliant, 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 vacations 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 vacations, 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 scheduling all round for employees and guests.

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