5 Tasks Restaurant Operators Can Do In January

5 Unsexy Restaurant Tasks to Get Done This January

For many restaurants, January is a slow business month. Whether it’s cold weather persuading people to bundle up indoors, bank accounts depleted by holiday spending, or resolutions of new dieting goals, many of your customers are probably eating in this month. But! This means you can take advantage of a less hectic schedule and check some annoying tasks off of your to do list. Here are 5 things you can do during your restaurant’s slow time.

1. Reorganize Your Liquor Room

Some liquor rooms are such a mess that they’re downright scary to look at. If your liquor cabinet is as organized and carefully constructed as a museum gallery, then good on you! You can spend your January doing something a little less tedious.

But for others, this is a great time to wade into your liquor and take stock of what bottles are actually hiding underneath all that dust.

In addition to finding a better way to lay out and organize your liquor storage, it’s also a great time to take a jewelers eye look at your inventory numbers to make sure everything is accounted for.

Setting up a new liquor inventory system, like an Opening and Closing Liquor Inventory, or using a new software like Uncorkd for inventory will set you up for a more successful, and organized, 2018.

2. Review Sales and Distributor Order Data

One way to streamline the organization of your liquor room is to scale back the number of products you carry.

A great way to make decisions on which items 86 permanently is to look at sales data from your point-of-sale system and your distributor order history.

Taking a look at POS sales data is pretty easy if you have access to it. Start by looking at which items have accounted for the least amount of sales and have the least amount of sales transactions. Sometimes, it’s okay if an item has a low number of transactions. If you have a high priced, premium bottles of Scotch or Tequila, then a low number of transaction is okay, because these aren’t items that you expect to pour often.

But if you have a low to mid-range bottle of wine that just doesn’t sell or beers that exist only to take up cooler space, then it’s time to put them on special, sell off the lot, and then wave them goodbye from your inventory forever.

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Order History

Another helpful way to analyze your slowest movers is to see how often you have to order a product. If you have a beer brand that sits in your cooler for months on end, then it’s not worth keeping. That space could be utilized by another beer that sells for and generates more revenue than your bar.

Sometimes looking through your order history can be a pain, or next to impossible if you write out your orders by scribbling items into a note pad or on random bar napkins. If you’re using an ordering service like Uncorkd, that saves order histories, then you can quickly run reports that will give you details on order patterns for items, so you can see how often you need to order any item.

3. Program Planning

One task that is more rewarding and fun than shifting boxes of liquor from one shelf to another is to work with your producers and distributors to conceptualize and plan exciting events for later in the year.

January is a great time to reach out to local breweries, or to talk with your wine reps about setting up events like tasting dinners, tap takeovers, and collaborated events.

The start of the new year is a great time to look forward into your calendar and circle any pop culture touchstones, local festivals, or other community events that you can align your programming with.

Start reaching out to your network to see what events you can collaborate on to draw more people into your restaurant or bar once the weather starts to warm up.

4. Employee Appreciation

January is generally the time that restaurants host a holiday party or other team building event with their staff. And there is no reason you shouldn’t either! It’s important to let staff know that you care for them and appreciate the hard work they put into working for you.

So, give back to them with a cool event this January.

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5. Deep Clean

Okay, now back on track with the not-so-fun-but-definitely-necessary-to-do-list. It’s everyone’s favorite pastime: THE DEEP CLEAN.

Ring out the mops. Unplug the beer coolers. Swab behind the broiler. It’s the time to deep clean and make sure your restaurant is as tidy as a boot camp’s barracks.

In addition to a simple clean up, this is also a great time to rethink how service flows through your restaurant and if your restaurant is set up and organized in the best way to maximize efficiency. A great way to get staff engaged with the grubby task of a deep clean is to get feedback from them on how the restaurant could be better organized.

Maybe someone has a great idea to speed up brunch service by swapping out where the coffee cups are kept. Or maybe bartenders could work faster if the backbar lay out was different. Letting your staff have a say in the decisions that affect their day-to-day work life is a great way to drum up enthusiasm for a task that everyone would rather stay in bed than do.

Kyle Thacker

Kyle Thacker

Kyle handles marketing and PR for Uncorkd. Aside from bartending and restaurant management, he's covered the Chicago dining scene as a freelance writer. He enjoys Miller High Life and getting yelled at by Chicagoans for supporting Boston sport's teams.
Kyle Thacker