Running a restaurant is the most overwhelming, yet fulfilling job. As a restaurant owner, you are constantly dealing with multiple tasks at any given time. From training staff to ordering supplies and equipment, to keeping a close eye on your cash flow, you are working relentlessly to ensure your restaurant is operating smoothly.
These are internal influences that you have full control over. But what about something you can’t control, like the weather? Your restaurant’s sales can fluctuate significantly due to the change of the seasons. That’s why it’s important to understand how seasonal changes can impact your restaurant and come up with ways to maintain your business’ success during those months.
Here are some tips to set you on the right path to seasonal success!
1. Hire seasonal help
Before jumping right into it, you should take a step back and ask yourself a few questions. This is to determine whether or not extra help would be beneficial for you during that time. Some of these questions are: Are we busy around the same time every year? Do we have enough time to train new staff?
Once you have decided that seasonal help is indeed necessary for your business, you must carefully go through the recruitment process. This is because you’re only hiring for a short amount of time, and it would be a waste of time to interview and train someone who doesn't work out. So here are a few things to keep in mind when going through the hiring process:
- Keep your expectations and job description clear
- Look for someone with a positive attitude and a good work ethic
- Start the hiring process before the season changes
- Look into referrals from your current staff
2. Change your menu
This may seem like a daunting task but it will pay off once the season changes. You might even think you will lose customers, but you won’t. As long as your restaurant is delivering the same awesome experience throughout the year (with seasonal variety offered) you will most likely even gain new patrons!
All fresh produce for consumption change as the season changes. So you can play around with seasonal offerings. For example, bell peppers is for summer time, squash is for fall, and spring is known for artichokes. Once you change the menu, train your staff on why some changes were made and what they are. This way they can upsell and answer any questions your customers might have about the new dishes. And lastly, market your new offerings! This can be done either through social media posts, website, word of mouth, or front window display.
3. Keep track of your inventory & manage it
Keeping track and managing your inventory is important, as you don’t want to run out of supplies mid-service! You want the process to run smoothly. So you need to start collecting data. You should aim to take your inventory around the same time and day of the week. This ensures that your data is accurate and reliable based on your needs.
Taking inventory isn’t an easy task, albeit necessary. There is a lot of work involved and that’s why there are specific softwares out there to make the process easier for you. For instance, WISK has an awesome inventory management system with menu costing and ingredient-level tracking. By using this tool, you can anticipate your future inventory needs accurately, optimize food and drink prices, create deals and do much more.
At the same time, your restaurant should be equipped with alcohol (make sure you have your smart serve license!) in order to meet customers’ needs. Now, the question is, how much liquor do you need? There is a relatively easy formula to figure out how much alcohol your restaurant has previously used, and how much you need to order for the future. But, who wants to do all the calculations manually? The answer is no one. That’s why our bar and inventory management software will help you manage your restaurant and beverages more effectively.
4. Consider financing for supplies
In order to run your restaurant successfully during different seasons, you should consider hiring new employees (based on how busy you might be), change your menu accordingly, and invest in an inventory management system. All of this, of course, requires a good amount of working capital. There are banks and other traditional financing institutions that will provide you with the business loan you need to cover these expenses. But their application process is usually slow and tiresome. That’s why online lenders like Lending Loop exist! As the first peer-to-peer lending platform in Canada, Lending Loop offers fast, easy, and affordable loans to small and medium sized businesses. Also, before applying, ensure you have a good business credit score and can afford to repay the loan on time.
Post contributed by Sheida Azimi