When you type in the term “bad restaurant planning” in Google, one of the first results that appears in the search engine is the opinion of TripAdvisor customers who complain about the poor planning of many restaurants. As discussed in this article, 88% of consumers regularly read opinions on the internet before making a final decision. And 86% say that negative criticism of a particular restaurant also influences their choice. This means that poor restaurant planning and management has a direct impact on customer service and profitability.
Corroborating this data and customer complaints about poor restaurant planning, Juan Antonio Ferrater (strategy and operational consultant at Restauraniza.com) says that 90% of the restaurants close due to poor planning and management.
Scheduling the kitchen and dining area staff, and planning the products and merchandise offered by the restaurant, are essential in order to manage it correctly. But without a doubt, it is the face-to-face employees who are in direct contact with the customer and represent the image of the restaurant for them. That is why they are the key to offering a quality service to this new customer profile that is increasingly demanding and looking for unique and memorable experiences.
Poor restaurant planning has a direct impact on your customers’ opinions and profitability.
Avoid being ruined because of poor restaurant planning
In the event “Personnel management: in the centre of the hotel and catering industry” organized by Barra de Ideas and the Confederation of Hotel and Tourism Entrepreneurs of Aragon (CEHTA), it was found that personnel costs can represent up to 40% of the total at the end of the month in a restaurant. Improving workforce management can be handled through problem solving, planning and roles within the restaurant (both dining area and kitchen staff).
But for Fernando del Valle (owner of catering businesses and ex-HR director of VIPS), the secret to optimize human capital is good staff planning.
“Good planning is the secret to optimize human capital, which represents up to 40% of business costs.”Fernando del Valle
A labor cost that not only comes from employees’ salaries, absenteeism or staff turnover, but also from poor planning.
Having the right number of employees (in the kitchen and dining area) at the right time, depending on the restaurant’s requirements, will prevent bad service. For example, lack of personnel, excessive workloads or avoidable labor costs due to having too many employees at a time when there are no customers.
But how do I know how much demand my restaurant will have at any time? Making future predictions of the number of customers who will go to a restaurant based on intuition or experience is not reliable or sufficient. The factors and variables involved are too many and sometimes human perceptions are unrealistic. We need to base our decisions on real data.
There are new tools based on Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, which through the historical data of customer visits, accurately predict the number of future customers and create the optimal sizing of the restaurant workforce at each time.
The key is in the correct workforce planning, as they are the face of your restaurant for the customers.
How good planning helps employee and customer engagement
Customer engagement is achieved through impeccable customer service, a service provided by employees. Having engaged face-to-face employees is the key to getting customers happy and back to your site. And to making your business profitable at the end of the month.
Based on this, what are the main complaints of restaurant employees that lead them to leave a restaurant? According to Roberto Ruiz Rua (business consultant specializing in restaurant business at ‘MontarunNegocio.es’) the most common reasons why restaurant employees end up leaving their jobs are: payments in “black” money (undeclared), no correspondence between the work category and the work performed, bad work environment, rotating shifts, inconsistent schedules, few or no breaks and poor coordination with co-workers due to work shifts.
As we can see, almost all causes can be solved by better employee scheduling and planning. If planning is adapted as much as possible to employees’ preferences, is prepared well in advance and it is easy for them to request shift changes or communicate with any colleagues, employees will have no reason to want to leave. In addition to offering the best customer service to diners, feeling engaged and appreciated by the company. Happy employees = happy customers.
Good planning satisfies employees and therefore customers.
How do you create optimal planning?
As we have already mentioned in a previous section, using tools that are based on data to know the number of customers you will have at any given time, will ensure that the necessary employees are correctly sized.
But these applications don’t stop there. Using this information together with employee-related data (such as profiles, positions, skills or hourly performance) and taking into account variables and constraints, it creates an optimal work schedule for each employee.
In addition, some of these intelligent planning tools take into account workers’ preferences and always seek to combine 3 main objectives:
- Employee Satisfaction
- Customer Satisfaction
- Restaurant profitability