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How to maintain standards during the holiday season

As we swing into the holiday season, the hospitality industry is no doubt experiencing some mixed emotions.

While a collective cheer goes out for all that increased business/ revenue, there’s also an audible groan at the thought of everything that comes with the Christmas/New year period – long hours, temporary staff, bookings and rotas to juggle, new menus, décor to get right, stock levels to manage and more.

With so much to think about, it can be easy for bars, restaurants, hotels and others in the hospitality sector to overlook some of the basics – particularly around the quality and standards that your clientele has come to expect.

So, alongside all the special touches you’re adding to your business this Christmas, here’s four things to keep a focus on.

1. Quality/availability of food

When it comes to maintaining the quality of the food you serve, it seems obvious to say the buck stops at the chef’s door, but it’s not as simple as that.

Of course it helps to have a professional, skilled kitchen team. However, alongside the actual taste of the food, customers will also judge it by how well it meets their expectations from the menu description and that relies on all the necessary stock being available at all times.

Using an inventory management process that’s built in to your POS system enables you to run a tight ship when it comes to stock control – drilling right down to ingredient level and easily adding in any variations you may need to consider (e.g. food allergy replacements).

2. Speed of service

When dining out, most people don’t like to feel rushed, but they do want to be greeted and seated quickly. Once they’ve ordered, they want prompt delivery of their food and beverages. And, when it comes to settling the bill, they don’t want any hassle or hanging around!

Achieving all of this will partly depend on how well you’ve managed your staff rotas in relation to bookings but there’s also some great ways your smart POS system can help. For instance, you can speed up the ordering process by taking mobile tablets to tables which then send orders automatically to the kitchen and bar. You can also take advantage of your till’s payment integrations to enable customers to pay via their chosen method swiftly and even to simplify the split-bill conundrum!

Related blog: Making table turnover work for you and your guests

3. Quality of service

With temporary staff and holiday season specials to deal with, maintaining the quality of your service goes beyond the ‘service with a smile’ approach. As well as being friendly and accommodating, it’s crucial that staff are knowledgeable and come across as true representatives of your brand. When it comes to your festive menu, for instance, they should be able to answer questions on ingredients, health/allergy information, variations and accompaniments.

Use your seasoned staff to help train others and once again leverage your smart POS in the process. As it’s so intuitive to use, training can be completed really quickly and, as it can store every piece of additional information about your menu, staff can use it as a quick reference tool while they’re still learning.

4. Efficiency of the business

While upholding standards at the front-of-house is vital in terms of meeting customer expectations, maintaining standards at back office level will keep your business at its peak of efficiency.

Even if the holiday period puts a strain on your resources, with a data-driven POS system at your disposal, you can quickly get all the business insights you need and use that information to increase efficiency. That might include creating better purchasing schedules based on inventory data; streamlining your menu based on accurate sales reports; or scheduling your best staff to work at peak times using analytics around staff performance.

The takeaway

Before signing off, we’d like to leave you with an example of how things can go wrong when standards are not maintained:

A member of our team recently stayed at a small hotel with her family for a few days. On the first day, they dined at the hotel’s restaurant where the waiter did a good job of explaining the menu, the food arrived promptly and tasted delicious.

Because of this, on their last night at the hotel, the family decided to dine again in the restaurant. Although the food was still good, this time it took longer to arrive, they were witness to an argument between the kitchen staff and, towards the end of their meal, their request to order a dessert was totally ignored! Their lasting impression was that it was all a bit chaotic.

So, what’s the takeaway?

Well, serving great food alongside exceptional service and efficiency is what gets people talking about your establishment and, once they’ve enjoyed a certain standard, your clientele will expect it every time.

At this busiest of seasons, we know it can be difficult to keep on top of everything, but sustaining those standards will not only help you to keep existing customers happy but also improve the possibility of turning newbies into regulars.

Call us at the Good Till to find out more about how our smart iPad-based POS system can support your business this season.

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