Need to streamline your hospitality operation?

15 August 2017

Jessica Radich, Information Systems and Business Manager |

Hawkes Bay’s economy is steaming ahead.  This can largely be attributed to the region’s tourism boom.  According to statistics New Zealand, The Bay saw the second greatest increase in visitors for New Zealand during summer 2016/17.  The latest tourism spending data has shown Hawkes Bay is up 8 per cent compared with May 2016.  Combine this with the influx of out of towners moving here, there is a great opportunity for local businesses in the hospitality industry to cater for these growing appetites. 

While the stats all sound positive, winter months in Hawkes Bay have always been tough for the Hospo industry.  Trying to use time and resources as efficiently as possible is a must while having the right mix of your two key ingredients – labour and food, to keep your business running smoothly and your customers coming back for more.

Finding this balance, while juggling so many facets of your business can be a drain on resources. The majority of your time might be spent planning staff rosters, not to mention processing payroll, keeping inventory in check, planning purchases, and so on. This can leave little time for other important areas, like engaging with your customers and team along with coming up with fresh ideas to market your business during the quiet period.  An equally important task is staying on top of GST, PAYE, provisional tax and your general monthly accounting and it seems you have no time left to review your cash flow forecast, budget or profit and loss report, things can very quickly get away from you.

Real time accounting software and other business applications can help run your business and make your life a whole lot easier.  The overwhelming increase in industry specific add on applications which integrate with accounting software enables business owners to create their own customised accounting platform.

Here are some key apps to consider in order to streamline your entire hospitality operation – while giving you back time to focus on the things you love about your business.

Staff management to minimise labour costs

While the price of fruit and vege in winter is largely beyond your control, your labour costs is something you can manage.

In a busy café, bar or restaurant staff rostering can be a nightmare.  Dealing with casual employees and ensuring permanent staff have enough hours can be seriously time consuming.  A cloud based payroll software that also deals with staff management allows rosters to be created quickly.  Multiple customised seasonal templates can be created as a starting point each week.  Being able to view your weekly roster in time as well as dollars enables you to accurately budget for the week ahead.  These schedules can be quickly shared to all staff members online giving them a snapshot of their upcoming hours. 

Many apps even allow you to make adjustments to schedules in real time or view your labour cost at any point during the day from your smart device if it has a timesheet function.  Having staff clock in and out not only enables you to pay them for only the hours they are actually working but also enables managers to make judgement calls at any given time on whether there are too many or too little staff on the floor.

One of the most popular staff scheduling/payroll applications is FlexiTime.  The ‘Shift’ functionality allows staff to clock in and out by taking a ‘selfie’ on a tablet.  Not only does this create a fun collection of snaps of staff members but ensures staff are paid accurately for the time they are working.  The clock ins and  clock outs creates the payrun each payroll period which then syncs automatically with a range of accounting software such as Xero and MYOB – reducing the need for time consuming and error-prone data entry.  Reports can be viewed to show actual vs rostered labour costs as well as being able to create graphs to identify trends daily, weekly or monthly.  It’s great for employees too - manual time sheets becoming a thing of the past and they can apply for leave and view their payslips from a smartphone. 

Take reporting to the next level

Reporting add on software can provide core KPIs and enable bench marking for your hospitality business in a way that can be easily visualised and understood, without the need for any kind of financial training.

Futrli application, serves up all of the crucial need-to-know metrics to help your business thrive.  Seamlessly integrated with a raft of accounting software, financial data is automatically pulled into the app allowing you to view your business financial information in beautiful and easy to understand real time graphs and tables.  Furtrli knows each business is different so allows you to create your own KPIs, benchmarks and forecasts.  You can break down revenue streams, calculate food and beverage gross profit percentages, wages to sales ratios and average spend per head and many more.

This kind of visibility can help you plan for the future and reduce risk to grow your business.  Giving key staff members access to certain reports can incentivise them in setting and achieving targets for themselves and the company.

Point of Sale

Reliable point of sale (POS) system is vital for operations in the hospitality industry.  You will want an easy to use system that ensures minimal downtime.  A good system can do more than just process transactions.  Being able to track sales, manage inventory, automate ordering, and get the pricing right are just some of the benefits of a good POS system.  Again, integration with your accounting software is key so that you can identify where you are making a profit and where you may need to re-evaluate.

The Vend app provides powerful back-office tools that will give you new insights into every aspect of your business, allowing you to streamline your processes and align your staff and product supplies with demand.  The front end is easy to use and works on any device.  If your business needs to operate off site, you can process sales from a tablet offline which then automatically syncs when you are back online.

No more data entry

Even though we live in a tech savvy world, there still seems to be an awful lot of paper.  Invoices to be processed and paid can quickly pile up, while disgruntled suppliers wait in the wings.  A lot of business owners take care of this themselves, when in actual fact it is far more efficient and cost effective to pay someone else to do it.  Being the face of your business will pay off far more than sitting in the back office mulling over accounts payable data entry – especially if this is not your strong suit!

An easy to way to get all your invoices processed quickly is by using the app Receipt Bank.  Email, take a photo or scan in an invoice or receipt into the software and Receipt Bank does the rest.  Its technology extracts all relevant data from the document and automatically enters the key components into your chosen accounting software along with the source document electronically attached.

All businesses today should be utilising the wide range of information systems business solutions available to them.  The age old adage of ‘stick to what you know’ rings true in these situations.  Apps such as FlexiTime, Futrli, Vend and Receipt Bank ensure that you work smarter, not harder in your business.  Now during the quieter winter months, it is the perfect time to trial and implement new systems in preparation for the summer rush.  You will thank yourselves for it when you’re spending your Sundays (or more likely Mondays) at the beach!