With all the bad news in the restaurant industry lately about negative same store sales and traffic declines it may be hard as a restaurant operations executive to motivate your team and stay motivated yourself. Throughout history the one thing that has helped people persevere through tough times: Hope. One way operations executives can find hope in these hard times is knowing when profits are highest throughout the year and taking advantage of that knowledge.
It's easy to get stuck down in the weeds comparing week over week labor reports, getting hammered about controlling labor costs and with new labor laws coming down the pipe it's enough to make you want to throw your hands up and walk away. But, if you take the time to take a step back, zoom out and look at the big picture, you're sure to find a ray of hope among those dark clouds.
Where to Look
When you zoom out and view your sales metrics by month for the past two or three years you'll be able to uncover a pattern of when sales and profits tend to be highest. If you're down in a valley it should give you some comfort and hope that yes profits are typically down this time of year but right around the corner things will be looking up again. Restaurants experience these peaks and valleys at different times of the year depending on things like type of restaurant, a change in the weather or holidays. Mirus client T.Mac says they see a huge spike in sales once football season kicks-off. Important information to know because you want to take advantage in this uptick in traffic and sales to keep those customers and dollars walking in the door.
How to Use This Valuable Information
Now that you've taken a step back, seen the big picture and identified your profit patterns you can use that information to thoughtfully and intentionally improve operations. Use those valleys to engage team members in extra training to make sure they are ready to service the crowd that's coming around the corner. Getting your team members in tip top shape in areas like speed of service and increasing emplolyee productivity will help ensure your team is ready to handle the coming influx of customers. A well trained team means those customers will leave highly satisfied and are much more likely to return, spend more money and recommend your restaurant to their friends.
Daily Profit Patterns
Once you've gotten an idea of what the big picture looks like, it's time to zoom back in and identify your daily profit patterns, specifically those Peak Hours. To do this you'll want to create a report that shows you sales by the hour. Peak Hours are typically the hour or two at lunch and the two or three hours at dinner when restaurants make their money. With profits on the line, they are the most important hours to get right when it comes to customer service and labor productivity. You'll want to be sure you've got your A-players scheduled for those hours and leave training new team members to the off-peak hours.
Not Just Hope
Identifying your restaurant's most profitable periods on an annual and daily basis will allow you and your team to be ready to maximize profits. You can schedule extra training during those not so busy times and motivate your team with the knowledge (not just hope) that things will start to look up soon.
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What times of year are your restaurants the most profitable? How do you handle the peaks and valleys?
Mirus is a multi-unit restaurant reporting software used by operations, finance, IT, and marketing.
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