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Stay Ahead of the Game with Prep Planning


Are you looking for ways to continually improve operations in your restaurant?  Planning tools in your POS use estimated sales data, plus any adjustments you make for upcoming events, to plan for the future.

With the increase in temperature during the summer, prep planning has become an important function to decrease the possibility of food waste—and ultimately, loss of profit. Prep planning tools help you systemize food preparation so that even your newest staff can prepare efficiently for the day.

Powered by the Sales Forecast

Prep planning, buffet planning, and scheduling all use data from the SpeedLine Sales Forecast to predict future demand. For this reason, you will need to set up the Sales Forecast, if you haven't already, before using Prep Planning. Complete the Sales Forecasting SpeedStart Tutorial (click Tutorials on the Store Manager Help menu) to see how to get immediate access to sales forecasts and sales history data. 

Easy Setup with the Prep Planning SpeedStart Tutorial

Fortunately, SpeedLine not only has the tools to help with planning, but there's an easy to follow 4-step tutorial to help you set up and understand the Prep Planning feature. If you've been making sales with SpeedLine for at least 2 weeks, you're ready to go! For full, step-by-step instructions, on the Store Manager Help menu, click Tutorials, and then click the Prep Planning SpeedStart Tutorial link.

Step 1. Define your "prep parts." These are prep times for each of your "day parts" (meal times). The number of each item to prepare will be shown for each prep part on the prep plan that will be your final product. Tip: make sure your first day part starts early enough to capture sales that occur before meal time, or deferred orders that activate early.

Step 2. Use the Menu Designer Prep Items wizard to define which items to include in the plan and how much time is needed to prepare each one.  If you'd rather not use the wizard, you can enter the same settings on the item's Food Preparation tab. SpeedLine can determine when to start preparing items, based on the prep time you enter and the sales history of the item, or you can choose a prep time manually. 

You can also specify whether or not to pre-sauce your items, such as pizza crust or chicken wings, and the prep plan will show the number of each item to presauce (based on the presauce percentage you enter in the next step). 

Step 3. Enter a couple of general prep planning settings. The first is the Presauce Percentage mentioned above. When it really gets busy, if you have the space, it helps to have items sauced and ready to cook or top. Estimate what percentage of pizzas or wings you sell have the most popular sauce on them, and use that to start—you can always adjust the percentage later. 

The Look X Weeks Into Past setting tells SpeedLine how many previous weeks of sales history to use in the prep plan. While only 2 weeks of data are required, the plan gets more accurate as the number of weeks increases. The recommended value is 6 weeks, as calculation times can get longer after that point.


Step 4. Now that you've entered your settings, go to the Prep Plan tab to see your plan. Pick a date at the top, and the Store Projection Plan columns show suggested prep numbers for each prep time that day. If experience tells you that some of the numbers are a bit high or low, you can adjust them in the Store Plan columns. Print and post the prep plan for kitchen staff, and you are on the road to less waste and more efficient food prep.

The Proof is in the Prep Variance

To help you assess and fine tune your prep plan, use it for a week, and then run the Store Manager Prep Variance report. It's found on the Reports tab in the Operations Planning group. This report will show you the difference between what the plan predicted you would sell, and what actually sold. If you run the report regularly, you can determine how to adjust the store plan numbers to get the most accurate plan. If you've set Look X Weeks Into Past to 6, the plan will be most accurate after you've used it for six weeks.

As a business owner, good planning translates into a reduction in food waste and more control over your food costs. If you haven't tried prep planning yet, now may be the time.


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