BeanScene Magazine

Sailing into the new year unscathed

From the January 2016 issue.
Sailing into the new year unscathed

Silverchef's Andy Reeves offers his top five business tips to make 2016 the best year yet.

With the Christmas rush now behind us, Silver Chef’s National Franchise Manager Andy Reeves shares his top five tips to help small businesses re-evaluate their business goals and sail into 2016.

1) Start with your people

Getting staffing right is one of the biggest challenges for small business and franchise owners when managing the fluctuations before and after Christmas. Factoring in penalty rates, increased hours, and labour costs for any additional staff can quickly blow out the budget.

There are roster planning tools available which can help you with this process; many leading software providers link with your accounting system to formulate historical trends and forecast anticipated rostering needs based on previous sales demand. When looking to fill any staffing gaps put some thought into the age and experience mix of your staff to maximise the efficiency of your wage costs.

2) Celebrate the small things

Remember that with more people coming through your door during the holidays, it is a great opportunity to give customers a memorable experience and encourage word-of-mouth promotion that will last long into the new year.

To compete with the big players all year-round, capitalise on your strengths and stay true to your small brand proposition. Keep connected with your customers on social media, and think of unique ways to make the in-store or restaurant experience memorable such as complimentary offers, rewards, and personalised services.

3) Invest in new technology and equipment

Look to improve your financial-tracking systems to enhance your data capture potential. With hospitality businesses generally making more than 25 per cent of their yearly trade in December and January, this is an opportunity to collate more information about your customers that will inform your business decisions in the year ahead.

It’s crucial that you are able to serve customers efficiently over peak periods. If you have been putting off upgrading temperamental equipment, consider the potential sales lost if that piece of equipment breaks down during your busiest sales period. It is likely that the loss of sales will be amplified during the peak period compared to any other time, so ensure you have the best equipment available going into the New Year.

One of the fastest solutions may be to hire the equipment you require to cover this busy period. Silver Chef’s Rent-Try-Buy option means you don’t have to worry about putting up the upfront capital expense or pay for a depreciating asset.

4) Reset your New Year’s resolutions

Summer is a critical period to ensure you are in a good position to hit your goals come June. Maximise your potential over this time by working smarter, not harder. The free “Quick Guide to Boosting Restaurant Profits" e-book available on the Silver Chef website covers many tips and tricks to help you on your way.

5) Reward your team

After the storm of Christmas passes, it is important to take time out and reward your staff. The biggest asset of a small business is the people who work as part of your team, so take time at Christmas to celebrate their contribution to your small business success. Look after your people, and they will look after your customers – it’s the single best marketing investment you will make.

With sales in the retail and hospitality sector typically dipping come February, it is also a fantastic time to offer supplementary training to refresh the skills of your staff or give them new ones.

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