5 Traps of Fall Sales Forecasting

Predicting your sales forecast for the fall

As summer comes to an end and school comes back in session, adjustments to your sales forecast needs to happen in order to ensure your teams are operating at their optimum levels. Poor forecasting can lead to poor customer service, running out of product, and a higher stress work environment. Below are five traps that your management team should avoid as the Fall season begins and you build your sales forecast template.

You can’t get out of your summer sales mind-set.

As the summer time ends, continuing to use four to six-week sale averages for daily and weekly sales isn’t really relevant. Routines change for most people when the calendar changes from August to September which could cause shifts in daypart sales compared to the summer months. Shift from using just sales history from the past four/six weeks and reference the location’s actual history during the month of September. Track your daily/weekly actual sales to forecasted sales variances, target 5% to 7%. Any variance outside of this range generally starts to affect your operation’s performance.

You don’t have the appropriate calendars.

While the summer months may have been more open and free or jam packed with evening events, happy-hour shows, and more, the change of season also welcomes back a new routine. File a separate calendar that is tracking local events that will affect daily sales forecasts. Consider including events that like school events, school closures, sporting events, and Holidays that affect each of your locations. Another thing to add to your calendar? Time each week for you and your team to collect the tools needed to properly forecast.

Poor assumptions on holiday/special day events.

Manager and employee time off requests should be limited to ensure that the customer’s experience and speed of service is not impacted. Prepare for employee call-outs, have a backup plan in case of short staffing and reference your seasonal calendar so your scheduling is in line with possible increase in visitors during sporting events or holidays. 

You don’t know your history.

Trying to forecast for the fall can be impossible without an archive or history of sales and daily averages for past years. Research your sales history for each day part and adjust your forecasts appropriately. For example, the dinner day part generally begins earlier and ends earlier than in the summer. Your own sales history is your best asset to adjust your sales forecasts. Trust your history and numbers, seasonality has a level of predictability that can be used to your advantage.

Value messages/LTO’s.

Fall is a popular time for limited time offers and promotions. Know and plan for your promotions in order to ensure your staff is prepared in a product and a labor standpoint. Additionally, talk to your team, and get their thoughts and suggestions as menus change and you work towards keeping your customers happy.


Looking for some LTO inspiration? Our team sat with some industry experts to bring new light to your bar menus.

Set yourself up for success as the seasons shift. Use your history and your tracking tools to adjust your sales forecasts to keep your operations running at optimum levels! Plus, explore these free financial templates from TouchBistro.