(How to better manage your time in hospitality)
It’s is often cited as the most valuable resource we have but, for anyone running a busy restaurant or bar or café, making the best use of TIME can be harder than it might sound.
At the busiest of periods (like right now), managing your time well might even seem a complete impossibility. With the focus naturally falling on staffing and covers, it’s all too easy for managers in the hospitality sector to get stuck into the daily grind – at the expense of managerial tasks like meetings with suppliers, sales reviews, performance management and everything else that ultimately contributes to the bottom line.
Time slips away and the business is left running in a spin!
The big problem is that the vast majority of time-management strategies just don’t cut it in hospitality. With variable hours that are often misaligned with other industries, the traditional ‘to do’ list can wind up being just an unhelpful reminder of everything that never gets done! That’s not to say there’s nothing you can do to ensure you’re managing your business in a way that makes the best use of your time. Here’s five tips:
- Categorise and break things down – A ‘to do’ list is only going to be helpful if it is organised so, first of all, divide it into categories (e.g. bar, kitchen, stores etc). Then, break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable items that can be ticked off as you go. Make tomorrow’s list the last thing you do each day!
- Prioritise – All too often, we look at the task list and begin with the thing we enjoy doing the most first, delaying the harder tasks even if they’re far more pressing. It’s called ‘productive avoidance’ and it’s human nature – but that’s not really the best approach for running a business! One tip for prioritising is to look at the ‘to do’ list and pick out just 3 things that stand out as the most important, then focus on them.
- Know your peaks/ lows – If you’re running a bar, café or restaurant, you’ll undoubtedly have a pattern of busy and slow times. There may be some element of unpredictability but, if you’re operating a smart POS system, it should be able to help you identify these peaks and lows, which in turn helps you to schedule your tasks and improve productivity. Step out at front of house to ensure staff are coping with the busiest moments and but schedule office time at slower points to get on with management tasks that require your attention.
- Use tech to streamline operations – Modern technology has made our personal and business lives more organised and streamlined, cutting the time it takes to fulfil a range of tasks. Just think of how something as simple as a calendar integrated with your email account and mobile technology has changed the way you organise and run meetings.
For the hospitality sector, smart POS systems like the Good Till can offer all kinds of efficiencies which eliminate time-consuming tasks and duplication of effort. Waiters can take handheld devices to tables; orders can be sent straight to the kitchen or bar; integrated payments mean sales are automatically transferred from the card reader to POS; discounts or other promotions can be pre-programmed; and data from the till can be fully integrated with your accounts system. While your POS system does all of this, you can focus your time on areas of the business where your expertise is most needed.
- Delegation – The one thing that stops a manager offloading tasks to someone else is a small issue of TRUST (or lack of). The boss thinks he/ she is the only one that can do the job and doesn’t want to risk passing it on. The problem with this is that the manager winds up undertaking all kinds of jobs below their pay grade while other fully capable staff are left feeling devalued and overlooked. It makes no sense! Among other things, you could use the data your POS provides to monitor staff performance, then invest in some training for those who deserve the opportunity to step up.
We’re not going to lie to you – managing a hospitality business will always be a bit of a juggling act and following these tips alone won’t solve all the challenges you face. But, take on some of these tips and we think you might just be able to reduce the amount of times you say ‘I haven’t got time for that’!
The Good Till is helping hospitality business owners discover their lost time through a POS system that includes many of the features mentioned above. Give us a call to find out more today.
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