At this time of year, people are seeking comforting food in a cosy atmosphere. Autumn brings about a high demand for Sunday lunches and this can be critical to overall profitability. Here’s our top tips for an efficient Sunday lunch service.
We often speak to operators who take too flat an approach to shift planning, not varying start and end times to match patterns of sales. If everyone starts at noon but sales don’t peak until 2pm, this adds up to wasted labour costs and staff left standing around. We suggest gradually increasing people’s start times from open to peak, adding an extra person every 30 mins. Staggering shifts to match the rise in sales will be much more cost effective.
Preparing for too few or too many covers can really damage the bottom line. It is vital to analyse past sales trends and forecast properly, including looking at likely weather conditions. This will enable you to calculate the optimum level of sales for profits and labour efficiency. Running out is no bad thing (unless it’s super early), as it creates demand for people to come back next time.
Sunday lunch is a flagship service and in our pubs accounts for around 40% of weekly sales, so getting the right level of staffing is more important than ever. Sunday lunch is the most reviewed occasion on Tripadvisor in the UK, so the potential impact on reputation is huge. Overstaffing can have negative connotations as it creates the image of a lazy, inattentive service if there are staff lingering round. On the flip side, understaffing can also damage reputation as it leads to a rushed, impersonal service as well as harming sales. Forecasting and scheduling staff properly can help reduce these issues.
Especially on Sundays, there is a need for staff to be properly briefed to ensure shifts are as productive as possible. We recommend that management should spend some time with each member of staff, making sure they know exactly what they should be doing, when, and where. A good idea is to allocate staff with primary and secondary responsibilities. Someone’s main role may be to take orders, but if there are no new orders to take, their next priority could be to help on the bar. Not only does this help build a better relationship with staff, it also improves reputation through enhanced service.
Too often we see managers who avoid scheduling themselves to work the busiest shifts. Area managers should nip this in the bud and make sure enough senior staff are working the busiest services. Each venue should spend time scoping out what a management shift looks like on a Sunday. Are they serving customers or more focused on leading and supporting teams? Effective management presence does wonders for overall staff motivation, service levels, and therefore profits.
Through intelligent analysis of past trends and better forecasting, S4Labour helps you maximise sales and improve service at the busiest times, all while keeping labour costs tightly controlled.