Forecasts are a basic input for operations managers because they provide information on future demand. There are two broad categories of forecasting tools: qualitative techniques and quantitative techniques. Qualitative forecasting is appropriate when there is the availability of historical data and the relationship among the variables involved is expected to remain unchanged in the future. This kind of sales forecast is based on historical data especially in food and beverages where it requires accurate and well maintained past sales data. Qualitative tools permit information such as human factors, and personal opinions in the forecasting process. These opinions may include executive opinions, sales-force opinions, and even consumer surveys (Dittmer, 2008).
The importance of forecasting to operations managers cannot be overlooked. Forecasting is very important to operations managers and businesses in general as it helps them develop meaningful plans and reduce the level of uncertainty in the future events. Food and beverage managers should match supply with demand to avoid wastage. Therefore, it is essential for these managers to forecast how much space and food they need for supply to each and every demand. These managers will also want to know the capacity that will be needed in order to make staffing and equipment decisions, the budget be prepared, and purchasing information be availed for making supply orders (Dittmer, 2008).
Short-time forecasts are made pertaining to ongoing operations that involve sales of existing products while long-range forecasts can be a tool that is essential when doing planning. Long-term forecasts may involve new products or services, new markets, new facilities, new equipment or something else that will require some longer time to construct of implement. Forecasting is most effective when done over short time. This is because long-term forecasting may become inaccurate due to changes in consumer demand and market trends (Dittmer, 2008).
Paul R. Dittmer, J. D. (2008). Principles of food, beverage, and labor cost controls. John Wiley & Sons.