Ahhh, summer. Long sunny days, relaxing at the beach, going camping, drinking a cold one while watching the sunset … all those things you’d rather be doing than working in and on your food business.
Unsurprisingly, many of your staff like doing all of that stuff too - and often it impacts how much they can work.
Many food businesses find summer challenging staffing-wise, with lots of casual staff being unavailable, lots of seasonal staff coming to the end of their contracts, some people not turning up for their rostered shifts, and some starting new roles. Add to this the likes of public holidays, uncertain patronage and suppliers going on holiday, and you’ve got all the ingredients for a topsy-turvy few months.
Staying on Top of Staff Management
During your initial staffing processes, it’s important that you understand what your applicants’ priorities are. The nature of casual summer work in the hospitality industry is that many people want jobs to fill in time before they go back to uni, or to earn money so they can go travelling. If the majority of your applicants just want to earn some extra cash, it might pay to hire more of them. If there are plenty of applicants in the pile who are looking for long-term positions, perhaps choose them over the more casual types.
Also, ask applicants what their plans are for the summer. For example, if you know that a third of your staff are heading to Rhythm and Vines (28-31 December), you’ll be able to plan your roster accordingly and hire more casual staff if need be.
If you can predict that some of your seasonal staff will be heading on their way (perhaps because they’re overseas tourists who put their travels on hold for a few months so they could earn some more money), plan to back-fill them well in advance, not on their last day.
Experience vs Numbers
Part of your staffing management needs to cover how much experience you have on the floor versus how many people you have on your books. If the majority of your staff is new and inexperienced, your business is more likely to slip when it comes to compliance, especially around your Food Control Plan (FCP). Training your staff is important especially during the peak time of the year as it increases both productivity and profitability.
The reporting of your FCP is your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the one who does it all. Entrust parts of your compulsory reporting to various people in the team to spread the load. Swapping paperwork for digital software like Safe Food Pro will improve efficiency and performance too.
Fitting in Time for Staff Training
One problem many food businesses face during summer is completing staff training for newbies (in particular, casual staff) when work is already really busy. Having bodies on the floor (and your payroll) isn’t helpful if they don’t know what to do, particularly when it comes to food safety and their role in your FCP.
One way around this is to buddy newbies up with more experienced staff to run through expectations around both their role and their obligations. If they ever manage food, ask chefs and senior staff to explain protocol around, for example, food rotation in the chiller or how to handle plates when presenting them to customers.
In the off-season, it’s probably easier to commit a few hours at a time for all of your new staff. During summer, though, you can sometimes be so busy managing patrons that staff training becomes a very distant priority. Don’t be afraid to undertake ad-hoc training if need be, until demand settles down.
How to Improve Your Food Business’ Compliance in 2019
Summer isn’t just about sun, sand and surf. For many people, it’s also about New Year’s resolutions. Forget generic resolutions like ‘earn more’ and ‘eat better’; one that could take your food business to the next level is to find out how Safe Food Pro could benefit your organisation. Safe Food Pro’s advanced software lets food businesses across a wide range of genres manage their FCP obligations digitally, saving time, improving efficiency and increasing compliance in the process.
Book a demo with the team today and start 2019 the way you intend on finishing it.
What are your tips for managing your staff during the summer period? Let us know in the comments below