In hard economic times, many hotel owners find themselves looking at dwindling guest numbers and feeling pressured to be more competitive with their rates. Lowering prices does not need to be your only option for bringing in more customers. Instead, provide your guests extra value with their stay. Give them a reason to choose your establishment over the cheaper rooms in Arizona. Creative services and amenities will win over the hesitant guests who are comparing options for their next trip.
Delight Their Taste Buds
Many hotels offer a complimentary breakfast for their guests. Step your service up a notch by offering some hot breakfast options: waffles, pancakes, sausage, or biscuits. If your hotel gets a lot of vacationers who want to sleep in and take it easy, extend your breakfast hours past what your competition provides. Better yet, offer a sandwich bar at lunch or an ice cream machine in the evenings.
Provide Laundry Services
Does your hotel see a lot of business workers on an extended stay? Don’t make them lug their clothes to the closest laundromat or dry cleaner. Offer laundry services on the premises. Whether it’s a do-it-yourself laundry room, a full-service arrangement, or simply an offer to iron their clothes for them before a big meeting, business travelers will eat up the convenience and extra luxury.
Fill Their Evenings
Even simple evening events, such as a movie with popcorn or an outdoor barbeque by the pool, will get guests out of their rooms, interacting with new people, and having a great time during their stay with you. Some hotels even host competitions between the guests, awarding the winners with a free room upgrade or a gift card to a nearby attraction.
During vacation season, parents will likely be grabbing at the chance for their kids to have a good time while they escape for a relaxing day alone. Provide some activities for your littlest guests, and their moms and dads will surely choose you over the competition.
Stepping up your services will mean a little extra work and perhaps some extra staff. It can also mean happier guests, more return visits, and better recommendations—from word of mouth to the Internet.
Front of the house staff is the part of the restaurant workforce that actively interacts with your customer base. If you need to hire servers and hostesses, you should think about which job duties you might be able to have them perform. While keeping customers happy and closing down at the end of the night are their main responsibilities, they can certainly do more for you.
Collecting feedback. Your front of the house staff talks to your customers constantly. If you are trying to figure out which menu items are best received—aside from checking your sales reports—or which brands of liquor you should be stocking, have them ask. Make it a point during meetings to stress that the more you know about your customers, the better it is for everyone.
Coming up with marketing ideas. Pick your front of the house employees’ brains for advertising ideas. Are people regularly asking your hostesses about birthday specials? Do your servers field requests for promotions to be emailed to them? Choosing the right marketing and advertising avenues for your restaurant is the key to stretching your marketing budget.
Light prep work. This might be a fine line as your front of the house staff generally earns a significantly lower wage than your kitchen staff, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take some of the load off of your prep staff. Servers can portion salads, dressings, and other simple items for their guests. Again avoid making it appear that you are trying to cut labor by pushing unnecessary work off on your servers if you value employee morale.
Basic management. Do you have a server or two who are exceptionally responsible and great at their jobs? Perhaps you could work out a compensation agreement where they take time to check out other servers at the end of the night. After all, a great server knows exactly what needs to be done. This is also a good way to identify potential future managers.
Using your staff to the utmost is a good way to keep your employees involved. It also lets them see that they play an important role in your restaurant and are not just drones. We can help you find the right staff. Utilizing your human resources is in your hands.
Aside from food, labor is the biggest cost that any restaurateur faces. Not scheduling enough staff can increase wait times, decrease food quality, and ultimately lead to angry customers. Scheduling too many employees can lead to social loafing, a psychological concept that states that too many people working towards the same goal leads to people exerting significantly less effort than they are capable of. Making an effective restaurant schedule is not as easy as it sounds.
While your back-of-the-house staff costs more than your front-of-the-house team, many of the same scheduling principles can be applied. Pay attention to these factors:
- Reservations: If you know what kind of volume to expect, you can staff accordingly. This means you don’t get caught shorthanded on a Monday when you didn’t expect much and that you know how many volume staff to schedule on a weekend.
- Set shifts: Some restaurants have openers, volume or mid-shift employees and closers. This helps to structure your staff and prevents arguments about who gets cut first. It also means that you are planning to cut staff when they are no longer needed while knowing that you have enough team members on hand to properly close.
- Volume: If sales start dropping off at 7:30, it is time to cut some staff. Let your staff who came in first to prep food or set up tables go home for the evening. Labor should be a function of volume. Your labor should be between 10% and 16% of your sales. Yes various pricing levels will have an effect, but keep this figure in mind.
- Staff performance: The truth is some staff members are stronger than others. Put together a staff that has your stronger employees working with those who still need a little development. Scheduling all of your best on the same nights (yes, you need to do this on weekends) might make things run smoothly and please you as a manager, but it means that one night you will have your weaker members working together. This means that set-up, service, and cleaning will all run less efficiently and raise your labor cost.
Putting together a well thought out schedule can save you money and help to keep you organized. If you need staff in a pinch or temporarily for a special event, take a moment to let us tell you how we can help.