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We are open ...now what?

by Mike Holtzman
Published: 
01 April, 2009

As a food & beverage manager or owner, you have worked very hard the last two months to recruit, train and prepare your team for the start of the season. Thousands of people are coming through your gates looking forward to a great time. What do you do now? This is a list of items that you want to complete during the season:

1) Hold and follow the standards you set in training with your team. Focus on the customer service standards you have set. As the season goes on, staff will begin to get comfortable, and this can begin to effect the operation. Follow up with the staff on a daily basis to maintain the standards that were set when you opened.

2) As we evaluate our crew, we will want to see which staff members are showing leadership qualities. This is when we start developing our leads, supervisors and staff for the future. We want to show them the ropes of the operation while it is occurring. If a high school student just joined and is comfortable and happy, they could become an employee for the next few summers. This saves on training. If there are a few “superstars,” offer them additional responsibilities such as opening and closing duties and supervision responsibilities. Show them how to order product, schedule staff and give breaks. This employee could be a future manager if you train them properly.

3)  As I highlighted in my previous column, keep watch of the details in invoices from vendors. You want to make sure that the prices they agree to continue to hold. You do not want to suddenly see transport costs or imaginary surcharges appear. There should be no major jumps in price without any warnings from your representative. Make sure vendors continue to openly communicate with you to assure the level of service you deserve.

4) Focus on maintaining your labour controls. Do not let your efforts go to waste. Analyse labour costs daily to ensure you do not exceed the 25% cost of sales. We do this by simply taking the number of payroll hours each day. Say we ran 53 hours, multiply this number by $10.00 per hour (or your equivalent – including payroll taxes) and divide this number by the sales. So if we had a busy day with $2,000, and we ran 53 hours of payroll, the calculation would be: 53 hours X $10.00/hr = $530.00 / $2000 in revenue = 26.5% payroll cost for the day. Not good!

5) Audit the food and beverage team. Taste your food to assure consistent quality. Simple recipes will ensure the team will know them. Ask them the hold times and cook times for prepared products like pretzels. Ask them what needs to be thawed each day and what items we check in the afternoon so you don’t run out. This reminds the staff of what they need to know and makes sure they understand the operation.

These simple steps will have a huge impact. Making time to audit, develop and train your staff and operations,will result with you seeing higher profits throughout the season.

Mike Holtzman is president of Profitable Food Facilities, a US-based hospitality and consulting firm for family entertainment outlets. mike@profitablefood.com








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