Cafe staff at work

How to manage a peak-trading season when staffing your business

Danielle Collard
19 Jun 2024

In fact, we’ve found that businesses in the northern hemisphere will see a significant increase in transactions between June and July. And that certainly boosts the mood of business owners!

Great: the happy days are heading for your business! You should see several months of peak trading and that can only be a good thing. But, it also means increased demands on your staff, more complicated rota management, and at a time when your team will want time off to go on holidays, day-trips, attend weddings, and get out in the sun. 

That’s before you factor in your staff with children suddenly needing to work around school holidays! A few difficult days of holiday requests, and you’ll soon be wondering how you’ll make it through the summer months. 

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s some need-to-know data on summer sales, and a few ideas to help you along the way so you don’t get sun-stroke when sorting out your staff hours!

First up: month-by-month sales variation (making predictions 🔮 )

One of the most difficult tasks for managers of businesses is anticipating and managing workforce requirements. Not only do you need to see the future (a rare skill, at best) to know how busy you’ll be, but you also have to juggle staff availability, illness, task completion, training and morale!

However, there are some tools at your disposal. 

  1. Your Epos Now system has historic reports on your sales which you can split by date to know what you experienced in previous Junes, Julys and Augusts, and allowing you to make adjustments accordingly. 
  2. You can also view more recent product performance to see which products have been selling well and encourage your staff to drive sales with upselling, promotions, and strategic product placement.
  3. Compare your product popularity with other data on your Epos Now system such as cost-price, sale-price and profit margin to learn what products could be the most profitable this quarter.
  4. Examine your employee performance report and correlate it with your busiest times to have your best-selling staff on when you need them most!

Useful note: Most businesses see a drop in transactions in September and November, while both October and December have good growth rates.

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The variety in these figures evidences the range in demand on your business and staff depending on the time of year and success of the season. That means you’ll need to adjust your staffing to accommodate this shift in demand or risk losing sales and falling behind.

Contract options when changing staff levels (Bringing on new staff 👋 )

Full-timers, part-timers, temps, agencies, zero-hour contracts, overtime: you have many options when you have extra hours to fill on your rota. But finding the right formula that keeps you, staff, and customers happy is no small feat.

Full-time staff

Perhaps your business has a dozen mostly full-time employees. Many managers like a full-time team for the expertise, togetherness, and stronger service that experience provides. 

Potential issues:

  • However, when you need a large team for the summer, you might find yourself demanding more hours from your staff than they are willing to give, leading to fatigue, frustration, and potentially resignations. 
  • On the other hand, hiring extra full-time staff will leave you with too large a payroll when the summer ends and the sales boom starts to wane.

Part-time staff

So how about a few extra part-timers? 


  • They can fill in the gaps when your team takes holidays or falls ill. 
  • These could be temporary staff for the summer or they could become long-term members of the team.
  • Some part-time staff may wish to come full-time if they like the work and team.
  • Currently there is a good recruitment marketing for part-time staff (depending on your location, this may vary though)

Potential issues:

  • Part-time staff require time and resources to train and integrate.
  • Managing part-time employees can be complex if they have other commitments or jobs.

Temporary staff


  • Temporary staff are typically hired for a specific period or project, allowing the business to address immediate needs without long-term commitment. This is ideal for handling seasonal spikes like summer sales.
  • Temps can bring specialized skills and experience that may not be available within the current staff, helping to complete tasks efficiently and effectively. You don't just need to think about the front-desk staffing here, this could help with admin and payroll.

Possible drawbacks

  • Possible higher costs (especially if using an agency)
  • Limited loyalty to the business, which could lead to lower engagement and productivity

Zero-hour contracts


  • Zero-hours offers extreme flexibility to adjust workforce according to demand, quickly and easily.
  • You only pay for hours worked/required, reducing labour costs when demand is low and making it easy to stay within a payroll budget.

Possible drawbacks

  • 0-hour contracts do not mean guaranteed availability.
  • They can lead to job insecurity and low morale among current team employees.
  • They’ve also been known to attract negative attention when used badly, even presenting legal risks including potential claims for unfair treatment or lack of benefits (so be sure to check in with your team when using them!).

Some quick onboarding tips for new temporary staff! 

  1. Talk to your team. Make sure they know the temporary staff will be joining and how you expect them to behave and support others.
  2. Pre-arrival preparation. Prepare all necessary paperwork, access credentials, and training materials before temporary staff arrive. Set up their workspace, email accounts and any required software (such as setting up their role profile on your POS system if you’re giving them limited access). Have a detailed job description that clearly outlines expectations, responsibilities and performance standards.
  3. Welcome package. Provide a welcome pack that includes all the essential info! Have summaries on your company, the team, their role description, key contacts, and company policies and procedures. Introduce them to the team and explain their roles to help build rapport. This goes a long way in making someone feel welcome from day one.
  4. Role-specific training. Provide clear step-by-step instructions and practical demonstrations to make sure they really understand their duties. 
  5. Buddy or mentor system. Pair new staff with experienced employees who can act as mentors. This helps with hands-on learning and gives new hires a go-to person for questions and guidance.
  6. Involve them! Invite temporary staff to meetings so there’s a sense of inclusion. 
  7. Be clear. Check-in regularly with them, answer questions, provide clear performance feedback, and ensure they’re settling in well. If performance isn’t up to standard, tackle it quickly and professionally to ensure they’ve had the training they need.
  8. Feedback loop. Ask temp staff to feedback on their onboarding process so you can constantly refine and improve it for future hires.

Looking after your staff when trade picks up (Making the dream team 🤗 )

When these extra customers come piling through your doors, your staff will have their work cut out! But look after them and they will look after you. But what should you consider when trying to keep chins up and service smooth?


When rushed off their feet day-in day-out, your team gets tired, just as you do. Finding compassionate, efficient ways to keep team energy levels up can be invaluable to both you and them.

You could think about:

  • Encourage breaks (getting them to move if sitting for a long time, or sitting if they’re always on their feet)
  • Offer a series of small breaks, rather than one long break, if staff feel this is more beneficial
  • Providing high-energy snacks
  • Encouraging hydration
  • Rotating high and low-effort tasks between the team
  • Ensuring staff aren’t scheduled in for too many consecutive days


Mood always plays a role in staff performance, especially in customer-facing roles. Keeping morale high when your site is hot and crowded (or when your team wishes they were at the beach) can be a tough job. It’s not just a case of encouraging them to keep smiling and chatty for your customers. It’s about ensuring that your team has good job satisfaction. 

You could try:

  • Make sure staff are suitably trained ahead of the increased demand
  • Involve your team in decision-making processes so they feel a sense of ownership
  • Trust in your team to make decisions (no micromanaging)
  • Encouraging your team to go outside on breaks for valuable vitamin D
  • Arranging events, like a fun summer team-building day, after-work gatherings or team lunches (a close team keeps morale high every time!)
  • Address mood-killers such as improper behaviour and problems in the business head-on (no passive-aggressive comments if staff have booked time off!)
  • Offer support and flexibility when a member of the team is struggling
  • Recognize hard work by saying thank you to the individual and share it publicly in meetings and/or on your company social media (if the staff member is okay with being featured this way)
  • Celebrate those going the extra mile with meaningful rewards like career progression, memberships, bonuses, additional time off, or gift cards
  • Make sure your workplace (especially break areas) is kept clean and clutter-free
  • Be receptive to feedback and regularly check in with staff, actively listening to their concerns


If your team doesn’t come to you with a problem, you can’t fix it. But by fostering strong internal communication, you gain better visibility over your operation. 

Here are a few tricks to get better comms in your business:

  • Hospitality businesses need to make sure that front-of-house staff and back-of-house staff are in sync. Some businesses need to not overbook services or orders due to a lack of communication. So make sure your tech works and everyone knows how to use it! 
  • Agree on your communication tools – your team won’t appreciate you messaging them by email, text, WhatsApp and Instagram DMs to cover additional shifts. Define which channel is used for what (e.g. instant messaging for quick questions, email for formal updates, meetings for detailed discussions, a whiteboard for tracking progress).
  • Set out a regular communication update. It should cover upcoming working patterns, critical information, and recaps of key activities and achievements. Find out what works best—some people prefer daily updates, some weekly - the important bit is to always give as much notice as possible to any changes.
  • Get good at communication. Use bullet points to get to the point. Use highlighted text sparingly to emphasize urgent or important information. You need to make it easy for staff to grasp the essentials.
  • Regular team checking. Have repeating team and 1-2-1 meetings to encourage open dialogue and boost engagement. This is essential to maintain personal connections.
  • Open door policy! Remind your team they can approach you, rather than waiting for meetings, including arranging days-off (your team won’t feign illness if they already have the days-off they want!) This can be challenging during peak times, so you can also set specific open-door hours when employees know they can reach out to you.
  • Ask for regular feedback and listen to it. Be open to making adjustments based on team input.
  • Give training opportunities where you see skill-shortages (particularly in new staff), and praise good performance whenever you see it!

Enjoy this blog? Take a look at our resources page to read up on other ways to manage staff and other parts of running your business.