The financial crash of 2008 hit the restaurant industry hard, and in cities, towns and villages throughout the world, shops, restaurants and bars felt the full force of the lack of disposal income that households found themselves with. The financial crash lead to business closures, downsizing and mass redundancies, and nobody saw it coming.

However, there were a number of establishments that kept on trucking and made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. They are now thriving as the fortunes of the worldwide economy changed for the better, and in many cases, this was because they had a business forecast in place so they could take the hit and survive when the tough times came.

What is Forecasting?

Forecasting is the way of predicting business based on a number of factors, which are set into two methods:  Qualitative and quantitative. The latter tries to predict the levels of business based on factors outside of human control, such as unemployment rates, housing prices and the state of the economy in general. Qualitative methods are much more short-term in their predictions, and are based on market research (including how their competitors are doing) and other factors including industry and expert opinion.

When creating a forecast, business owners pull their data from both sides together and forecast future business and expenditure so that they don’t just find themselves in trouble during difficult times, but they don’t overspend and overstaff themselves during quiet periods and waste money there either.

Business forecasting can be used to predict the following circumstances:

  • Busy periods – including the run up to the Christmas period, specialBusiness Forecast calendar dates (Mother/Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day), special events (sporting events, tournaments, Royal Wedding, etc.), school holidays, and more.
  • Quiet Periods – including Thanksgiving, periods of extreme weather, the post-Christmas period, times of financial instability, etc.

Scheduling Employees with Business Forecasting

As anybody who has worked in the restaurant business knows, there are all kinds of events, dates and unforeseen circumstances that can have an effect on your finances, and that is why creating a business forecast should be an essential part of any restaurateurs workload. One of the major benefits of having a business forecast is that it allows you to schedule your employees effectively and efficiently, so that you are not overstaffed during quieter times and you are fully covered at times when business is booming.

Being able to plan for the future of your business – including any sticky patches you might have to pull your restaurant through – can be the difference between your business staying strong for the long haul or fizzling out when the going gets tough. It also lowers the risk of redundancies having to be made, or a sudden rush to recruit because your restaurant is understaffed during a busy period.

In order to use your business forecasting to schedule your employees effectively, you need to have exceptional knowledge of all of your staff, how long they have worked there, and their job title. This is important because you wouldn’t want to be wasting a lot of money on labor during quieter periods. At the same time, you would want experienced staff to be working when your business is being forecasted to be a great deal busier than usual.

Scheduling the correct employees for each shift will decrease absenteeism, but be wary that there is still the chance an employee not showing up for their shift, calling in sick, or having to leave in an emergency. Your business forecast should include a Plan B when it comes to scheduling, which results in being able to arrange shift cover without it drastically affecting your labor budget for the time period.