Take a look at your restaurant’s staff schedule. It’s probably laid out by date and includes the names of your staff with their shift times and roles. Pretty unremarkable and straight-forward, right? Wrong!
While your schedule may appear to play a utilitarian role in your restaurant, it can be a seriously powerful tool for generating insights, saving your business time and money. Here are five insights you can learn from your restaurant schedule right now to empower your business.
Your Labor Costs & Percentage
Labor costs are one of the most important metrics to track, since roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of restaurant operating costs go towards covering them. What most restaurateurs don’t know, however, is that looking at your staff schedule is the quickest and easiest way to calculate your labor costs. Simply take the amount of hours scheduled for all employees in a week and multiply by the wage rate for employees.
For example, if you scheduled 100 employee hours in a week and all employees were paid $12/hour, your labor costs would be $1,200. Once you have determined labor costs you can divide this figure by weekly sales to determine your labor percentage. This same exercise can be used to monitor your daily or monthly labor as well! This calculation can be done manually, or you can let your restaurant scheduling software take the reigns, tracking this information automatically by importing data from your POS directly into your schedule.
Once you have determined your labor cost percentage, you can use the information to help optimize your staffing levels. For example, if you are consistently understaffed on a certain day based on feedback from your staff, have greater sales than expected, or your daily labor percentage is lower than expected, you can easily schedule more staff to meet the increased demand. By using your labor costs and staff schedule as a reference for business trends – such as increased demand when there is a local sporting event – you can schedule staff appropriately and efficiently. Remember, a single percentage in labor cost savings can potentially save your restaurant thousands annually.
Here’s a quick exercise: take a look at your past few weekly staff schedules and look for shifts where staff were absent or no-shows. Do you notice any trends? Perhaps staff who were scheduled for late shifts on evenings were prone to not showing up for earlier shifts the next day. Or perhaps a staff member has a tendency to not show up for their weekend shifts after a big night on the town.
If you use your staff schedule to look for patterns in absence at your restaurant, it will be much easier to discuss the root causes with your staff. For example, is there anything that can be done to better accommodate them in order to curb absenteeism?
While you can use your staff schedule to identify frequently missing staff, you can also lean on your schedule to identify staff who’ve gone above and beyond to pick up dropped shifts or cover for their co-workers.
Set up a spreadsheet at the start of the month and track all instances of your staff picking up coworkers’ shifts. Tally up the pick-ups monthly or quarterly and reward those staff members for their great work. Here are some great low-cost ways to reward them and make them feel valued. After all, valued employees are more productive and less likely to leave!
Use your staff schedule to get an immediate look at whether you are likely to run into overtime trouble, which can be costly situation for your operation. If you are brushing up against the 40-hour weekly limit for employees, try filling open shifts with another employee whose availability and skill level is at par with the originally scheduled employee.
If you run into a situation where you’ve constructed a schedule that has someone on an extra-long shift (> 12 hours), consider scheduling them for shorter shifts the rest of the week, or offer them a day off. You can also proactively reach out to the affected employee to make sure this will not be a problem for them.
There are tons of business uses for your staff schedule beyond the obvious purpose of communicating who’s working and when. With a little digging, you can turn your staff schedule into actionable insights that will help you increase profits, reduce costs, and streamline communication at your restaurant.
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