Restaurant Labor Costs: Why are they so Hard to Control?
There are few major cost centers for any restaurant. Some are fixed, while many are variable. Labor cost is possibly the most challenging variable for managers/owners to control. Think of your major restaurant costs:
- Food and Beverage Inventory
- Real estate
How to improve your labor costs
- Invest in labor saving tools, particularly ones that save administrative time. Every minute your managers are not in the office, is time they are on the floor, relieving hourly staff and running a tighter shift.
- Use a labor matrix. It doesn’t need to be complex, but if you are using staff scheduling software there should be a feature that allows you to input expected sales and determine the number of staff you should ideally have on hand.
- Use predictive sales tools to determine how busy you will be. If your Point of Sale is tied into your scheduling software, you may have the ability to see what your week’s predicted sales will be, while creating your schedule. More on how that can be done here.
- Cross train staff. Staff that are cross trained can flip between roles as needed, meaning you may be able to send someone home during a slow period.
- Compare results over multiple locations and mirror best practices. If you own multiple locations, some are undoubtedly doing a better job at labor management than others. Use your HR software to see all your locations labor cost per sale and then find out what the best performers are doing.
What are your secrets to keeping labor costs under control? Let us know in the comments section below.
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