Business and Operations
Forecasting for maximum profit
By Carmen Vogel-McCombie
By Carmen Vogel-McCombie
March 1, 2012 – Before you even open your doors for the day, you make
decisions that affect profitability: what to prep, what staff you need,
and what promotions you plan to run. If you make the right call, all
goes smoothly, but if you miss the mark, you can lose money to wasted
food, idle staff, or dissatisfied customers.
March 1, 2012 – Before you even open your doors for the day, you make decisions that affect profitability: what to prep, what staff you need, and what promotions you plan to run. If you make the right call, all goes smoothly, but if you miss the mark, you can lose money to wasted food, idle staff, or dissatisfied customers.
All of those hurt your business. So why fly blind? Take the guesswork out of planning with an accurate sales forecast. The sales history and forecasting tools in your point-of-sale (POS) system can help you make decisions that will increase profits and cut costs. Restaurant operators who tap into their sales forecasts to build more accurate schedules can see labour cost reductions of as much as 10 per cent. The most effective plans are based on real numbers, so the better you understand your historical sales, the better equipped you will be to plan efficient food prep, appropriate staffing, and profitable promotions.
Accurate planning doesn’t need to be a tedious manual process. Modern POS systems include intuitive tools to generate realistic forecasts automatically based on your historical sales. Some systems even recommend detailed food prep plans based on your forecasted sales for the day. More accurate numbers significantly reduce the risk of under- or over-prep and waste.
Accurate scheduling is essential to keeping labour costs in check. Modern POS systems feed forecasted sales into a labour plan and schedule so you can staff to meet labour targets. An integrated sales forecast allows you to predict the volume of business you can expect each day, by the hour – even breaking out your forecast for delivery, carryout, and dine-in. Your POS system can then take the guesswork out of scheduling by easily identifying when and where you need staff, and where you can make cuts.
A detailed sales forecast provides an ideal view of your sales history that you can use to spot trends. That’s valuable information for planning daily or time-restricted promotions. Slow on Tuesdays? Boost sales with a happy-hour special or a Tuesday-only loyalty reward.
A restaurant operator or general manager who’s in the shop every day gets to know sales patterns and lulls. But even the most experienced operator can plan more accurately – and more efficiently – with the automated forecasting and planning tools in a modern POS system. Looking to save some money? Plan for profit: prep, schedule, and market by the numbers.
Carmen Vogel-McCombie is a marketing and trade show
co-ordinator at SpeedLine Solutions, Inc., and a contributing editor to On Point: The
Restaurant Technology Blog.