Navigating the staffing challenges in the hospitality sector for a smooth festive season

As we approach the holiday season, the hospitality industry stands at a pivotal juncture this year. Restaurants, pubs, and bars are eagerly anticipating an increase in visitors looking to celebrate with family and friends. Jobs site, Adzuna, has noted a 25% surge in openings for temporary festive positions in preparation for this expected influx.

However, the past 12 months has seen significant changes across the hospitality landscape. Hybrid working continues to influence footfall patterns in urban areas, and uncertainties surrounding the cost-of-living crisis has cast a shadow over booking numbers. Therefore, businesses face challenges in accurately predicting demand, making it crucial to plan ahead while maintaining flexibility. Here are essential considerations for this critical time of the year:

Strategic booking systems and staff scheduling

Ensuring success during the lead-up to Christmas begins with a robust foundation – a reliable booking system. Real-time data solutions like OpenTable offer insights into customer footfall, reservations, and event schedules weeks in advance. This foresight allows businesses to allocate resources efficiently and anticipate the flow of customers.

Technology plays a crucial role in improving staff schedules based on projected demand. Sophisticated workforce management systems, utilising predictive analytics, help businesses adapt to changing footfall patterns. By analysing historical trends and booking levels, machine learning algorithms offer insights for precise forecasting demands and to accurately modify staffing levels. This enables businesses to optimise their workforce, curtail overtime expenses, and improve staff contentment.

Employee satisfaction through control and flexibility

The festive season can be stressful for employees, with long and unpredictable hours leading to potential burnout. Restaurants can address these issues by employing social staffing and scheduling apps to improve flexibility. These platforms empower staff to offer, accept, or swap shifts seamlessly, mitigating last-minute scheduling gaps. Real-time communication features ensure swift coordination, maintaining optimal coverage during peak hours and reducing disruptions.

Diversifying the recruitment pool

To cope with seasonal variations, businesses can build a pool of temporary staff, such as students or part-time employees, readily available during peak seasons. Establishing relationships with flexible employees creates a reliable talent pool that can be tapped into during busy times.

Upskilling staff

To address staffing challenges, hospitality businesses are cross-training employees, enhancing their flexibility and versatility during high-demand periods. Additionally, employees who possess a wider range of skills are far more likely to experience greater job satisfaction due to the potential for professional advancement and personal improvement.

Given the uncertainties this festive season, investing in staff training to upsell and boost revenue is crucial. By suggesting premium menu items, recommending special drinks, or offering additional services, employees can contribute to the overall revenue of the establishment with the appropriate training.

Leveraging technology for greater efficiency

Implementing advanced point-of-sale (POS) systems and cloud-based reservation and seating management systems can streamline operations, reducing reliance on manpower. Self-ordering via QR codes or app-enabled menus enables guests to independently browse, order, and pay from their smartphones, further easing the burden on staff.

In summary, as the festive season commences, the hospitality sector faces unique challenges in an uncertain landscape. Achieving a harmonious balance between efficient staffing and outstanding service is pivotal, and being adaptable is the key to success. By demonstrating a dedication to their employees and adopting a strategic plan, enterprises can guarantee a remarkable and prosperous festive season.

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    Posted in Blog, Hospitality & leisure