February 2014 Hot Topic: Marketing to “Millennials”

28 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , ,


Everywhere you turn you hear about “Millennials” and how they are so different from previous generations. So who are they and how do you market to this new unique portion of the population? We’ve done all the research and here are some great tips to targeting this demographic in your marketing efforts, no matter what industry you are in.

“Millennials” are comprised of a portion of the population born between 1981 and 2004, and currently tops 92 million with an expected annual spending power of over 2 million dollars in the upcoming years. So why is this generation so different from the past generations and what do you need to do to market to this large segment of the population and get a piece of the pie?

The “Millennials” generation grew up in the technology age world and they are extremely tech savvy and on top of all the newest trends. Not only do they have a deep understanding of technology, but use it through the majority of their days. They use social networks to stay connected; they shop online, read reviews and generally have a strong reliance on word of mouth marketing. They are also extremely socially conscious, doing extensive research into the business practices of companies before making purchasing decision, resulting in this group being extremely choosey when and where they spend money.

So now that you know who they are, what are tips to marketing to this general portion of the popularity? We all know that you need to have an online presence, including a website and social accounts on at least Facebook and Twitter. And for this group it isn’t just about having an online presence, but what you do with it. This generation looks to see how you handle customer feedback and what “rewards” you will offer if they select to spend their money with you. And they will share their feelings through social media and online review sites based on their experience, be it good or bad.

This unique generation places a large value on quality and service, as well as feeling that they should “have it my way,” when they spend money. They are jaded by big promises in advertising and base expectations are that they will get what they pay for… an example is not entering your credit card for a free trial. If it is free why must they give you a credit card number?

Click here learn more tips on marketing to Millenials

In addition to where Millennials spend money, is also where they earn money. They’re turned off by companies that haven’t adopted the needed technologies to communicate efficiently in their highly connected lives. One of the most important technologies a company can have is online scheduling software from WhatTimeDoIWork.com, which offers a 30 day no obligation FREE trial! There’s no hassle to get started and no need to enter a credit card number. Try it out now to see the future of scheduling, a perfect solution for all generations.

Ten Tips to Success for Restaurateurs

27 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In any direction you look there are hundreds of restaurants ranging from fast food and national chains to your local neighborhood hangout. So why would anyone walk through your door? Simple, they are looking for a solution to a problem and that solution is a good food and great experience.  In a world where there are uncountable numbers of options, we have combed the internet for the best tips that will help your restaurant be successful in a few simple steps.

10. Curb Appeal

We have heard more and more about curb appeal in the real estate industry, but the same principles transfer to your businesses. Everyday hundreds of people drive by your establishment and get their first impression of your business before even stepping in the door, so curb appeal holds a lot of power on your success. If you have a Five Star restaurant, your exterior should be equally well maintained.

9. How do you fit in?

Unless you are located on a busy interstate, most of your patrons come from your local area and therefore you should match your pricing and offerings to cater to those types of groups. If you are in a location with mostly families, a trendy or high class restaurant is not going to be a good fit and limit the potential success.

8.  Inviting Environment

Once you have your customers through the door, you want to reassure them that they came to the right place. The impression you give your customers upon walking through the door is subconsciously telling them about the quality of your food and drinks. Their first impression of your staff is through their host and server, and with great service comes repeat business and higher tips for the staff.

7. Create Signature Cocktails

In this very competitive market you have to stand out from your competitors, by offering a signature drink, dish or dessert you are able to offer what your competitors can’t. These items can bring customers to your restaurant- but while they are getting their favorite drink that only you offer, they are also ordering appetizers, dinner and possibly dessert.

6. Advert Your Eyes Here

We all know that advertising is important to every business, but for restaurants these are more critical. The advertising efforts and promotions for restaurants do not have to be significant portions of a monthly budget. Here’s a few of the best ideas (although the list is endless):

  • Happy Hour drinks and special pricing
  • Two for One Specials
  • Buy two meals get a free desert
  • Family Discounts
  • Early Bird Specials

5. Defrost your Capital

While it may seem like a good idea to buy your ingredients in bulk and store the extra in freezers, you are actually losing a large chunk of money that you may not see for weeks or even months. Not only do customers value fresh ingredients and are willing to pay a little extra for them, with fresh ingredients you are also not holding such a large inventory in the expectation of future sales.

4. 86 the 86’s with Inventory controls

A fast way to lose money in a restaurant is through missing inventory, and there are many different causes. For inventory control you need to keep track of your inventory, and calculate weekly because inventory is affected by many different factors such as portion sizes, waste, etc. Knowing what you have in inventory will help your purchasing decisions and needs. On top of this knowing what you are losing based on the above factors can help you see holes in your processes that could make you more profitable.

3. The Customer is Always Right

Everyone has heard that the customer is always right, and that is true. Why is it true- because the customer is buying your solutions/services based on their feelings and likes. The best way to improve any business is to be open to customer feedback, address it immediately and work to develop a solution to avoid other customers from providing the same feedback if possible.

2. Change with the Seasons

Just like fashions, customer’s tastes change with the seasons and trends. Menus should always be checked and adjusted to fit the current season and updated to include new “trendy” offerings. You don’t want to feature stew and other hot meals in the summer and you want to cater to new trends, such as “juicing” to keep in touch with the interests of your customers.

1.  Who’s on First?

Scheduling can be one of the most stressful, yet important things to happen in your business. You need to ensure that your restaurant is adequately staffed for all shifts throughout the day. When doing this by hand you could be scheduling too many employees for a shift and/or too much overtime. What Time Do I Work.com online employee scheduling software was designed by industry experts with many unique features and benefits to make scheduling a breeze. With automatic labor cost calculations available as you create the schedule and overtime alerts, you’re sure to have complete control of your labor costs.

Try a 30 day no obligation free trial of What Time Do I Work.com today and see how much money you could be saving.

New Wage Laws – are you in compliance? If not the stakes are high.

24 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , ,

This year we are seeing a lot of news about wage laws and currently politicians in Congress and the House of Representatives are discussing increasing the minimum wages and other updates to our national wage laws. Do you know the current laws? If you aren’t in compliance, the repercussions can be severe. A Philadelphia sports bar has recently agreed to pay 6.8 million dollars in back wages and damages for violating these wage laws.

Current wage laws for servers require a minimum wage of $2.13 per hour, IF the server’s tips bring their gross pay up to $7.25 (the federal minimum wage). If the server’s tips are too small and do not raise up their hourly pay, the restaurant is legally required to increase the server’s hourly wages to meet the federal minimum wage.  While overtime pay is a regular occurrence in most industries, many restaurants don’t know that legally, if an employee works more than 40 hours in a week, they must be paid time and a half. The Labor department is also coming down hard on tip policies, as federal laws bar employees and manages from taking any portion of a waiter’s tips. Click here to read about labor laws.

What Time Do I Work.com scheduling software is more than an employee scheduling template. The program has many features and benefits that aids and manages creating conflict free schedules in less time and to easily and efficiently communicate about scheduling in real time. One of the most used features of the program is labor calculations. When entering employee information the system stores the employee’s hourly pay and will calculate your labor costs per day or week, as well as automatic alerts to overtime hours. In the first month one client saved more than $2000 in labor costs for the first month.

Try the employee scheduling software from What Time Do I Work.com free for 30 days.

How to increase Employee Productivity in the Service Industry: Leave the Past Behind and Move into the Future!

21 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In almost every industry, except for the service industries, when it comes down to efficiency companies are looking to produce more products/solutions in less time with fewer employees and in turn increase profits. In the service industries this is unrealistic and will ultimately provide a lower level of service and affect the customer experience. For those of us in the service industries, the real productivity challenge is to provide quality with quantity. If you can maximize efficiency of your staff to help the highest number of customers without sacrificing customer satisfaction you will be successful.

There are many steps you can take as an owner or manager to help improve the efficiency of your employees and there are a number of factors to consider, such as:

  • Training of employees and setting them up for success (including policies and procedures)
  • Modernization of technology (electronic medical records programs, hotel registration systems, restaurant and bar POS systems, kitchen order printers, scheduling software, etc.)
  • Monitoring employee performance and skills to accurately schedule your employees to the positions

There are also little improvements to the work environment that can easily make staff more efficient with very little additional effort from your employees. First look at your floor plan, are employees taking too many steps to accomplish their tasks? In a bar or restaurant you want to look at the layout of the back of the bar- each bartender should be able to reach everything they need to help your customers from their service station. If you cut down the amount of walking your bartenders must take, you can easily increase the number of customers they can serve. You can easily set up stations that will handle orders on the floor and leave the bartenders better able to assist customers at the bar.

An important piece to the puzzle starts with prep before work beginnings. Before customers start coming through your door or at the start of every shift stations should be checked to ensure they are fully stocked and prepared with the tools they need to complete their jobs. With What Time Do I Work.com scheduling software you can assign these tasks to individual employees during their shifts. In fact, you can schedule your employees to different stations/jobs throughout their shift through the program.

What Time Do I Work.com online scheduling software goes beyond straight scheduling and includes many feature to help you improve the performance of your business/employees and increase profits. With schedules created and posted on the cloud, employees are able to view the current schedules, swap shifts with employees and enter their time off request right through the program. With this comes the elimination of all the daily calls from employees with questions and requests about scheduling, giving you and your staff more time to devote to the customers.

There are numerous other benefits from What Time Do I Work.com and we are so confident that you will love our software; we are offering you a 30 day free trial. After you sign up there is a help wizard that will help you get running as easily as possible. Try us out today.

Plagued by over- and/or under- staffing issues?

20 Feb, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn how to solve this problem in under 350 words.

If your answer to this question is yes, then this article is for you. Over- and under- staffing can both significantly affect your bottom line, whether you realize it or not. If you are over-staffed, you are carrying a high labor cost for that shift, not to mention that you have staff standing around looking for something to do.

On the flip side, under-staffing may harm your customers’ experience, by inadvertently lowering the level of customer service your hardworking employees are available to provide. So, how can you solve this problem?

The answer has two parts: first you will need to pull together a report showing your sales by hour/day/week/month so you are able to determine the pattern of business you experience on a regular basis; some POS systems can pull together these reports for you. Once you have this information, you should use previous schedules to determine what shifts had an accurate staffing level. What Time Do I Work.com has built-in features that will help you make these decisions. Once you have the right number of staff on for each shift, you will see a more balanced labor cost and better customer experience.

There are 3 steps to creating an employee schedule to provide you with the best staffing levels:

  1. Know the productivity of your staff members – how many customers can each employee handle with a high level of customer service?
  2. Review your sales history to determine upcoming needs
  3. Create weekly schedules incorporating upcoming information (reservations, holidays, events, etc.)

Here is a short list of What Time Do I Work.com online scheduling software features that will help you with your staffing needs:

  • Automatic conflict alerts as you create the schedule
  • Automatic overtime alerts as you create the schedule
  • Calculate your labor costs as you create the schedule
  • Time-Off request populate automatically in the schedule
  • Post and communicate new and/or update schedules with the click of a button.

Try What Time Do I Work.com free for 30 days and see the difference it makes in your business.