Lower Labor Costs in 3 Easy Steps

September 12, 2017 Bruce Macklin





The restaurant industry is becoming more competitive, and it can be a lot more difficult to generate a profit. One of the most common ways to increase profit is to lower your labor costs – but how do you do that while keeping great staff?


Analyzing your labor reports, crosstraining your staff, and keeping staff happy are just some of the ways you can effectively lower your labor ratio. Here’s how you can lower labor costs in three easy steps. 





Step 1: Check POS Labor Reports

Check your labor reports regularly against seasons, holidays, times of days, etc. to make sure you schedule the exact amount of staff when you need them – and not when you don’t.


You may have overprojected your staffing needs during last year’s Superbowl event, and your labor report from that time can remind you not to schedule as many bartenders this year. You can also save in smaller ways that will build up over time, such as cutting back on the number of staff you schedule at 5:00pm, when everyone is just starting dinner and only ordering drinks. Scheduling the bulk of your dinner staff just an hour later can save on labor costs in the long run.


Step 2: Crosstrain Your Staff

Crosstraining is one of the most efficient ways to make sure your staff are able to take on multiple types of shifts and feel like they’re advancing their skills.


Training your dishwasher to take on other kitchen tasks can lighten the load when your cooks are in the weeds and there aren’t as many dishes to do. Training your hostess to take on a serving shift when someone gets sick can help prevent many last-minute disasters. You’ll also find that when you crosstrain staff, they develop better relationships with more employees, which can improve your staff morale as a whole.


3. Keep Staff Happy

The restaurant industry is notorious for its high turnover rates, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buck the trend with a great staff retention strategy. Retaining your staff is one of the best long-term strategies for minimizing labor costs. Investing in your current staff can save on the more significant costs of training new staff, and that means investing in training.


Use staff reports to find out who’s selling the most or bringing in the most tips, and reward them with public recognition, a free meal, some cocktails, or – even better – paid time off. When your high performers are publicly recognized, you’ll kill two birds with one stone by making your best staff feel great while letting your other staff know how they can succeed. 



Need more staffing tips?


Download The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Staffing




About the Author

Bruce Macklin

Bruce has been in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years. He started in the dish pit and worked his way up to management, where he helped several restaurant owners cut their costs, effectively manage their staff, and fine tune their operations. Bruce has been working as a software sales consultant for TouchBistro for more than four years, and he’s passionate about setting restaurants up for success with his deep knowledge of the industry and the technology restaurant owners need to run their businesses.

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