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Top Tips for Reporting

Posted by - Last updated: Wednesday February 15th 2017

Reporting is an important aspect of modern hospitality management, with operators benefiting from a wealth of illuminating information. Here are our top tips on how you can make reporting work for your business. 

Daily Reporting

To stay on top of their business performance, it is important for site managers to have quick, easy access to key headline figures, and to check them regularly. This includes forecasted and actual sales, as well as data on labour spend. We find that although weekly data can be useful to give an overall picture, data broken down daily is needed to gain true insight. Armed with this information, managers will be far better placed to make the decisions needed to ensure labour costs stay tightly controlled without ever compromising on service, driving long-term success.

Responding to Sales

Albert Einstein once said that “the measure of intelligence is the ability to change”, and flexibility is certainly an important aspect of an intelligent approach to labour management. It is a good idea for managers to adopt an adaptable approach to rota-building, adding in hours at times when takings are higher than expected, and cutting them back when they are lower. Through its flexed budget settings, S4Labour allows its users to be truly fluid, by calculating an optimal labour percentage using an equation driven by the level of sales. We find that our clients who use flexed budgets are among the best at writing optimised rotas.

Planning to Win

Great sales forecasting is a cornerstone of effective hospitality management. However, we often speak to operators who find this challenging. Those with a focus on service may deliberately over-forecast to facilitate higher staffing levels, while those with an eye on the bottom line may low-ball their forecast to save on wages. Although tempting, we would advise managers to avoid succumbing to these pitfalls, as in the long run, truly accurate forecasting, coupled with a good understanding of the level of staffing needed to deliver the sales and service you desire, will give you the best possible chance of success. Honesty really is the best policy.

Of course, forecasting accurately is easier said than done, so we like to give S4Labour users a helping hand. Illuminating historic data covering past sales trends, a location-specific weather forecast, and the ability to easily account for special events are among the system functions that promote the best possible forecasting.

Slack & Stress

We like to think about labour levels in terms of time spent with spot-on, slack, and stress conditions. Naturally, spot-on is the ideal, with team members working briskly and efficiently to deliver great service. Slack hours account for the times when too many staff are working, and employees may be standing around idle, and are a waste of wages. Stress hours are the opposite – times when too few staff are on shift, and those who are working are rushed off their feet. Quality of service is likely to suffer, and crucially, you could be missing out on hundreds or even thousands of pounds in sales opportunities by being unable to serve customers efficiently.

Minimising slack and stress hours is a great way to promote overall business health, but often we speak to operators who have no way of monitoring these conditions. S4 provides truly insightful reporting on slack, stress, and spot-on time, driven by metrics that can be customised to suit your business. This allows the best possible rotas to be written.

Percentage to Sales

Although the industry is changing fast, labour spend as a percentage of sales is still by far the most commonly used measure of labour management performance. It’s undoubtedly useful to know just how much you are spending, but it can be more useful to know how effectively money is being spent. It’s helpful to keep track of exactly when you’re spending your labour budget, and in what areas of the business, as having and acting on this information will lead to reductions in stress and slack, improvements in service and staff motivation, and increased overall profitability.

S4Labour helps you grasp not just how much you are spending on staffing, but how well you are spending it, all in an intuitive, user-friendly format.

Featured image by Mrsiraphol – Freepik.com

Alec Vještica

A hospitality professional who combines an analytical mind with energy and frontline experience in his approach, Alec worked in managed houses for companies including Greene King and Samuel Smith's before joining Catton in 2016. He is passionate about the industry and always enjoys meeting operators across all sectors.

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