A Scientific Approach to Managing Hospitality Operations in Senior Living

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A Scientific Approach to Managing Hospitality Operations in Senior Living

By Cubigo | 11 February 2022 | News

Understanding the distinction between service and hospitality is the foundation of success for senior living operators. Service is the technical delivery of a product or service. Hospitality is providing that service while making the recipient feel special and known.  

Moving from a service delivery model to a hospitality-enabled operating model requires a thoughtful and analytical approach. That includes three steps

  1. focusing on data,
  2. dealing with complexity
  3. taking actions that are driven by rigorous analysis. 

To show you how this can work, we provide two detailed examples — one on staffing your dining venue and the other on optimizing your table reservation slots. 

Building a rigorous operational model based on data helps you be aware of your assumptions and sharing it with your management team allows for knowledge dissemination. The inverse is having all the decision-making factors locked in someone’s head, and using their intuition as your guide. 

Models are better able to deal with the complexities of decision-making. They collect information dispassionately and often show you patterns that were unrecognizable without creating metrics to find them.  

Having data in hand makes charting a course easier.  And maintaining the collection of data after making changes proves your plan was good or shows where it needs adjustment.  

Usecase 1: Restaurant workforce management

The number one challenge for any hospitality business is managing staffing peaks. The issue is how to meet demand in the most cost-effective way. 

Factors that compound the difficulty of making the staffing decisions are: the number of seatings and fluctuations, attrition rates, productivity rates, learning curves, labor costs, costs of hiring or terminating employees, and value gained from alternate task assignments. 

The first step to approach staffing in a scientific way is to capture the dining venue usage data. This can be done using a point-of-sale system (POS) that is integrated with your accounting and HR system. It is essential that the POS system captures data points to be able to track productivity rates and other essential key performance indicators, during each service. 

The second step is to have a functional model that allows you to visualize the data, see patterns, and support decision-making. The good news is that these data-collection models are readily available in POS systems like Cubigo. They can produce metrics immediately. 

Important to note- You will need to train your dining department heads to make the right staffing decisions based on the insights generated by the model. Working together, you can reconsider some of the workflows and embed some resilience in your HR model, this can be done by, for example, by re-examining scheduling with existing staff, or considering adding contract labor to supplement your own team. 

Usecase 2: Optimizing your seat maps

Many operators have a hard time optimizing their restaurant seat maps. The problem is that during peak times all the tables are taken but there are many empty seats at those occupied tables.

This represents a missed opportunity for the restaurant. So, if a restaurant manager wanted to go about optimizing the use of the space devoted to seating residents, how would he or she approach the problem?

If you have a point-of-sale system (POS) that is integrated with your table reservation system, you can extract information on party sizes.

The data model running in the background will inform the team that the best configuration would be 11 two-tops and 7 four-tops. This is the best way to match capacity to demand. Rearranging the dining room furniture is a fast fix. You’ll increase resident satisfaction by seating and serving more people, faster. 

You can add an additional layer of complexity by adding roles to the mix. For example, you want to keep open 30% of capacity for guests, while making sure that residents are always able to walk in for lunch and dinner. Again, this would require a robust operations model, tracking attendance and matching this to capacity.

If you want more good ideas about how to quickly elevate your resident dining experience, reach out to discuss your hospitality needs with one of our consultants. Find us at getintouch@cubigo.com.


Sources used: The Cornell School of Hotel Administration on Hospitality: Cutting Edge Thinking and Practice. by Jack B. & Michael Craig, 2011, Wiley.