5 pro tips to improve bar management operations for hospitality businesses

Justine Baker, Chair of the NTIA and Advisor to Quantaco provides her top 5 tips for operational excellence

The last two volatile years have eroded cash reserves, profitability, and confidence for the hospitality industry. Now in light of a depleted and tight labour market, businesses need to be thinking about how they can streamline operations without compromising the customer experience. 

This means considering areas in bar management like how you manage your key person risk and back-of-house processes, delivering a consistent and engaging customer experience, and leveraging technology in the best way. 

To build a sustainable business for the future, here are the five key areas we recommend you review at your venue:

1. Avoid Wage Management ‘Copy and Paste’

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Focusing on areas with the most upside like managing wages with a consistent, well-documented process is integral. As a variable expense, wages should be monitored throughout the day with your most effective staff rostered at key times.

To do this you need to: 

●      Review rosters to adjust start and finish times

●      Daily approval of timesheets

●      Planned breaks to avoid overtime 

Forecasting daily sales with data on key events, weather, and reservations allows you to accurately plan rosters with sales and expenses in mind. Rather than just copying and pasting each week.

2. Standardise Back-of-house Processes

When you lose a key staff member you also lose business intelligence. Standardising and documenting key processes will help close the knowledge gap and maintain consistency in your venue.

Think about processes like: 

●      Opening and closing 

●      Cleaning checklists and audits

●      Function room set-ups

●      Technology set-ups like music systems

●      Waste reduction processes 

●      Security checklists

●      Cash up 

●      Game room checklists 

●      Effective inventory management checklists

3. Leverage Industry-specific Technology

Using technology that is designed to tackle the specific challenges of the hospitality industry will speed up processes and deliver better insights for decision-making. Before you assess a technology solution, make sure you’re clear on the decision-making criteria. 

Key areas hospitality businesses should consider include: 

●      Integration capabilities with the rest of your architecture

●      What is the scope of the product (and what is not!)

●      Product maturity 

●      The level of skill required to use it in-house

●      How secure a solution is

●      Cost

Remember that attitudes towards technology in hospitality have shifted since the pandemic which means both employees and customers expect technology to underpin their experience. Implementing bar management solutions that cater to both sides will not only increase sales and customer loyalty but help attract and retain talent as well.

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Source: Australian industry and skills committee

4. Invest in Staff Training and Development

The number of training program enrolments and completions in Australian hospitality has been in a decline, reaching a new low in 2020. ​​But unless staff are adequately trained, no number of best processes will lead to excellent performance. 

The reality is investing in staff training and development leads to a successful bar or restaurant team. Training that uses documentation, in-house videos, and external courses can decrease staff turnover and the associated costs with it. In fact, 42% of new employees are likely to stay when they get the training they need. Of course, training doesn’t just end once a new employee is onboarded but having documentation and best practices in place ensures everyone is on the same page long-term.

5. Create a Customer Feedback Loop 

If you want to know how to continually improve your customer experience, then communicate directly with your customers. But, this is more than just talking to them during their visit and asking about what they would like to see. Instead, create a feedback loop that is objective through reviews, surveys, and online testimonials. 

Integrate this as part of your marketing so that customers are rewarded for their engagement, and online reviews are monitored with feedback being taken on board into the business. It’s an excellent way to follow up with a customer and provide an incentive to return, whilst creating a continuous improvement culture internally. 

The reality is that now is the time to look at ways your hospitality business can run the most efficiently and effectively. Doing this on a granular scale, starting with the areas we mentioned above can lead to a much bigger return long-term.  

If you need help improving bar management operations or unlocking the potential in your business, get in touch with a member of the Quantaco team to discuss your needs.