With Britain basking in spring sunshine this week, it’s easy to believe summer is just around the corner. Here are our top five tips for how to make summer 2017 efficient and profitable.
The summer season brings a prime opportunity to restructure your product offer behind the bar to optimise efficiency. We speak to many operators who give disproportionate fridge space to bottled beers, but swapping the grain for grape, especially refreshing whites and roses, can be an easy summer winner. Dedicating extra space to the products you know will sell well will also reduce the need to make trips to the cellar, allowing staff more time to focus on sales and service.
Efficient summer stocking doesn’t end behind the bar. Canny operators will be ensuring their cellars and spirit cabinets are prepared for any eventuality, and with most products having a shelf life well beyond next week’s delivery, it is always better to be overstocked than left short.
Getting your food offer right is often just as critical to summer season success. Light meals like salads will always sell in warm weather, but to broaden your menu’s appeal should be offset by heartier offerings. Grilled meats, pizzas, and burgers are likely bestsellers whatever the weather. Summer’s customer upsurge will be a blessing for many in our industry, but to maximise potential profits kitchens must be able to cope with demand. Creating a menu around dishes that can be prepared at speed will keep service brisk, chefs smiling, and customers coming back.
There is a delicate balance to be struck with summer staffing. Most sites will take on additional bodies to deal with increased customer numbers without sacrificing service, but going too far in the other direction can lead to uncontrolled labour spend or staff disgruntled with reduced hours. Analysing past years’ sales data to accurately predict the staffing levels needed will help you avoid these pitfalls.
Training new employees takes time and money, so real efficiency savings can be gained by re-hiring seasonal employees. University students are an asset as they will become available just as the busy summer season begins and will be returning to their studies in the autumn when trade tails off. If you are not lucky enough to currently be able to re-hire past employees, recruiting people who are willing to return next year is a move you’ll be glad you made in twelve months’ time.
Running an efficient site through the summer months is a different beast to the rest of the year. Factors like mobile tills, tidying gardens, and sunglasses for staff suddenly become pertinent, and without effective planning can leave you stung. It may only be April, but with the mercury already rising fast it is by no means too soon to start working on the processes that will maximise productivity through the season’s peak. Embedding these habits now and ironing out any issues will allow you to focus on maximising your summer offer when the season starts in earnest.