Improving Forecast Accuracy Across Several F&B Outlets
Large Resort Property
Several years ago, a client told us that the difference between good customer service and excellent customer service is all in the planning; and while there seems to be an endless number of customer service philosophies out there, we believe there is a lot of truth to this statement. For many of our clients, the right amount of forethought puts them in a position to anticipate their guest’s needs more effectively than if they were operating on the fly each day. Whether it’s having the right supplies on hand or striving to be perfectly staffed at the right time, a little planning goes a long way in terms of smooth performance.
One of our clients was an expansive resort property in Florida that was experiencing some planning difficulties in their Food & Beverage division. Forecasting inaccuracy in the resort’s numerous restaurants was often an issue, making it difficult to plan the correct staffing and production levels from day to day. Staffing guidelines were also subjective and broad, which made it even more difficult to properly plan according to guest mix. Finally, inadequate layout and organization caused storage issues and procedural breakdowns that diverted attention away from the sort of value-added guest interaction that differentiates good customer service from excellent customer service.
The program strategy involved four distinct initiatives: First, extensive regression analysis was performed to better understand the volume drivers for each restaurant and improve forecast accuracy. Second, labor standards were reevaluated to account for the nuances associated with various guest types (i.e. group vs. leisure vs. business transient vs. off-site, etc.). Next, managers and supervisors were provided with tools to measure and react to actual labor standard performance versus their plan within each shift. Finally, the preparation and staging activities in each area were studied to help correct process breakdowns – especially those that involved unnecessary travel across the sprawling property.
The following changes were installed to improve planning and ultimately put the correct resources in place each day:
- Used statistical analysis to improve F&B forecast accuracy by 16% and more effectively plan staffing levels and production according to expected volume
- Created accurate standards for each position based on observation, historical data and workload analysis
- Improved labor standard achievement by introducing intra-shift visibility for managers and supervisors; resulted in an overall 13% productivity improvement
- Created daily assignment tools to improve planning and staging throughout the F&B division
- Standardized banquet setup/breakdown procedures to reduce unnecessary steps and rework before and after events; resulted in a 14% productivity improvement
- Reduced travel across the F&B division by optimizing delivery and storage across the property
- Streamlined the steps of service to both increase the focus on value-added guest interactions and increase server capacity; resulted in a 16% productivity improvement
By correcting process breakdowns, creating dynamic labor standards and increasing forecast accuracy, we found that area leaders were far more effective in planning the production and staffing requirements of their areas. Whereas leaders had previously prepped and staffed to a statically high level to compensate for process and system-related shortcomings, they were now flexing production and staffing levels more consistently with expected volume. By increasing the rigor of the property’s planning exercises, the areas we partnered with came in 9% ahead of payroll budget.
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