Restaurant Labor Cost Controls: Volume Assessment
November 21, 2011 | By Ryan McRorie |
Handling restaurant labor cost is a constant struggle for a restaurant manager, but there are ways to minimize this cost center (and the headaches associated with it).
As you know this is a crazy business and you just never know what’s going to hit you at any given time. We are all well aware of those times that you feel will be slow and you staff accordingly, you’ll no doubt get swamped and those busy hours that you staffed up for will be filled with assigning tasks to the people you have standing around because it is dead. There is no fool-proof answer, but there does exist an opportunity to minimize those costs via Volume Assessment.
It’s one of the most effective, somewhat mystical and under-utilized restaurant labor cost controls. Many managers just figure they will need a given number of employees on a given day and shift, but is there any reasoning behind these decisions? Far too often the answer is no, hence under-utilized.
To be effective at forecasting you need to consider what your trends have been and how many labor hours you have been assigning to handle the amount of business you have been doing. The most effective way to do this is by gathering data and then graphically compare like days of the week from past months or even years. We have made this easier for you through our Labor Scheduling solution.
If you are not using our employee scheduling solution yet, there are other ways too. Most computer systems keep historical data so you can look back. Pull the sales data for the past month and enter it into a spreadsheet in a week per week format so you can compare days of the week separately. What you need to do with this data is find your average daily sales for each day of the week.
Now you need to break each day down into meal period if you do more than one service (breakfast, lunch or dinner) for each day. I realize that this involves some work, but fortunately you only have to do it this once if you use our Labor Scheduling solution. Once you have this data your on your way to controlling that restaurant labor cost.
From there, you need to assign a number to those daily shift sales figures, and that is the number of each service or support staff personnel you need for each period. Now take a good look and make sure that none of the numbers are below what you feel is your minimum level needed to just open the doors; keep in mind the work needed to be accomplished (side work, opening and closing duties etc).
The Volume Assessment exercise described above is designed to help you control labor costs without skimping on your service standards. Now that these estimates are made and you feel comfortable with them it’s time to build your upcoming schedule.
Sound like something you can do? I bet it is…if not, give us a ring and we will walk you through the steps (888) 316-8861 using our Labor Scheduling solution.