A great way to increase restaurant profits is to optimize your team's efficiency. But what does that mean, and what are the key metrics you can adjust to achieve these great results? This article will explore some of the top ways great restauranteurs and managers use tools and systems to build their dream teams, let's dig in.
When it comes to increasing the efficiency of running a restaurant, there are many different metrics that you can measure to help drive positive change. Such as:
- Cost of Goods
- Turnover Rate
- Sales Trends
- Prime Costs
- Traffic Trends
- Server Benchmarks
- Average Dollar Spent
However, the metric that most significantly impacts your profit margin is labor cost, and one of the key ways to impact this? Your restaurant team's performance and efficiency.
Typically sitting around 30% of gross revenue in many restaurants, a healthy labor cost managed with an efficient restaurant team could come down as low as 20% . You can reduce your organization's wage cost by implementing some straightforward practices to grow efficiency in your team.
Inefficient practices amplify labor costs. When an employee wastes time dealing with broken equipment or due to ineffective communication and poor training practices, there will be a drain on your resources and your profit margin.
So, how can you help improve efficiency in your restaurant? Here are eight tips to help your team increase efficiency and save you thousands of dollars on labor costs.
1 - Training, training, training.
A great way to increase efficiency would be with an in-depth training program. Everything from the way guests are greeted to the final payment process should be standardized and each employee trained in the restaurant's way of working. Consistency creates a team that works efficiently.
Almost every process you have in the restaurant industry, from POS technology to mixing drinks to serving food, becomes more efficient the more experience your team has with the procedures.
Whether you are punching an order into the system or making a salad, with repetition, these tasks become part of your muscle memory and can lead to fast execution.
Over time, this will save countless hours when considering how long it takes someone without the proper POS training to punch in an order vs. someone who now has it ingrained in their body. Just think how long it takes an untrained bartender to mix a cocktail vs. a mixologist who doesn't have to reference a recipe card to make the perfect drink.
Establishing the standard practice for every element of the job, then training each team member will set them and your restaurant up for success.
2 - Pre-shift huddles.
Pre-shift huddles are another key component when it comes to increasing your restaurant team's efficiency because of the following:
● They keep your team aligned on priorities. Huddles are a great opportunity to update the team on progress in achieving KPIs and both short-term and general company goals.
● Everyone has a chance to have their voice heard in a team huddle. They can raise any questions, concerns, or suggestions. An engaged team member is one of your greatest assets.
● Huddles are an opportunity to set the tone for the shift. People want to enjoy their work, so remember to keep things light and fun! Shout out some excellent work you have observed on the team, celebrate KPI progression, or highlight individual performances. It makes for a happier team, and a happy team is an effective team!
Developing an efficient team doesn't end with onboarding. Team huddles give managers the space to continue to provide current training, updating, and development to their people.
Information to Relay During a Pre-Shift Huddle
● Menu changes, sold out items, and daily specials
● Staffing challenges and zoning
● Company updates and news to keep your team updated
● Reservations and special events happening in the restaurant later that night
● Alignment of company goals
● Recognition of employee performance to boost morale and improve employee retention
3 - Implementation of SOPs.
Imagine you are a new server working the lunch rush at a busy restaurant on your first day. You're taking orders before you're fully familiar with the menu. Then you have to punch them into a POS system that you have never used before.
This is why standard operating procedures are necessary.
Yes, you are an intelligent person and would figure your way through it eventually, but there would be a lot of time-wasting setbacks. It certainly wouldn't be the most efficient way to run a restaurant.
Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs, create a baseline practice everyone follows. This eliminates confusion on how any given task in a workplace should be executed, saving time and money.
Here are some things to consider when implementing new SOPs to your restaurant team:
- Ensure that the SOP is clear, and your team understands its purpose. What problem does it aim to fix and how does it do that? So, if your goal is to increase efficiency, you may implement an SOP on table bussing that gets tables cleared faster, improving table turnover.
- Consider who the SOP is targeted at. Is it designed to train a new host on the restaurant's layout or is it designed to teach managers about weekly inventory count? Putting yourself in a team member's position will help you better grasp their level of understanding to create a user-friendly experience.
- Ensure the person who develops the SOP fully understands the correct procedures that should be taken with the task. You don't want the blind leading the blind.
- Test out the SOP yourself and on others before you roll it out to your entire team. Walk yourself through it step by step as if you have never completed the task before. Your SOPs will be rolled out to new employees as well as existing ones, so someone with no restaurant experience whatsoever should be able to navigate this on their own.
By establishing standard operating procedures for your team, you are ensuring that the most effective methods for everything from rolling silverware to clearing tables are being followed by everyone.
4 - Set up a great team structure.
Having a solid structure within your organization allows for a more efficient distribution of activities, leadership, and responsibilities.
When problems arise, a chain of command lets people know exactly who to report to, allowing issues to be solved efficiently.
A team structure allows for the logical distribution of tasks and responsibilities. You wouldn't want your servers counting inventory and conducting interviews while also serving guests. It would result in a poor customer experience and ineffective time management.
Adding shift leaders and managers to the team structure frees up the server to focus on what's most important—the guest.
5 - Schedule smart.
Scheduling is one of the most critical tools you have at your disposal when it comes to using your team efficiently. A good schedule takes more than just the lunch and dinner rushes into account.
A well-built schedule has a built-in backup plan in case you find yourself short-staffed on a Friday night. It takes traffic patterns into account so you aren't wasting hours in your downtime that could be better used during your peak hours. It will even consider the skill sets of the people on your team to make the most of your average hourly rate.
Here are some ways you can boost your schedule to increase your team's efficiency.
● Cross training employees gives you more flexibility and security should you find yourself short-staffed. For instance, if your busser calls off work one day, rather than spending hours on the phone trying to replace them, now you've got a host and expediter who are both trained to bus tables.
● Realize that every day is not the same. Having the same number of people scheduled for a Monday night as you would a Friday night either leaves you short-staffed on Friday or way overstaffed on Monday. Check your POS sales reports to determine your busiest times and schedule based on the data. This allows you to create an efficient schedule that meets the needs of the business.
● Use on-call shifts to avoid being caught off guard by an unexpectedly busy day or one too many sick calls.
● Invest in some scheduling software. Unlike your paper schedule or Excel spreadsheet, scheduling software can learn your business trends and create schedules for you that are optimized to fit the needs of your business. Software like this can save you thousands of hours spent trying to formulate schedules from scratch.
An excellent all-encompassing schedule can take a long time to make. There are many things to consider such as employee availability, traffic trends, sales trends, holidays, local events, etc. By streamlining the process, creating a flexible environment, and cross training your team, you can maximize efficiency, saving you time and money.
6 - Automate where possible.
There are many different ways to add automated systems to increase restaurant efficiency. From ordering to payroll, restaurant technology can help you streamline the processes that cost you the most money.
Let's take a look at some of the ways that automation can make your team more efficient.
● In the right setting, self-ordering kiosks can help create a faster, more efficient customer experience. They also allow for quicker turnover giving you the opportunity to get twice as many guests in your seats.
● Mobile ordering allows you to fulfill take-out orders more speedily and increases your customer base on any given night without having to add more staff to your schedule to accommodate the extra business.
● During the customer experience, the payment process can be one of the most exasperating parts of dining out. Automated check-out systems can expedite the payment process by eliminating the need for cash lines and simplifying the process for your team.
● POS or Point of Sale systems can dramatically improve your team's efficiency every step of the way. They allow for seamless communication between front-of-house staff and back-of-house staff, they help track sales and inventory, and they expedite the ordering process.
● Workforce management systems give you the freedom to manage people and sales from one streamlined platform. Giving you time away from the office and back on the floor with your people where you belong.
From eliminating communication errors to creating a seamless customer experience, automated systems can go a long way to increasing efficiency in your establishment.
7 - Invest in good people.
Studies have shown that it can cost upwards of $4000 to hire and onboard a new employee. If your restaurant has a high rate of employee turnover, this can add up quickly.
In addition to the high costs associated with training new team members, there is also the investment of time to consider. By investing in good people and making them feel supported and valued members of your team, you will be saving both the time and money required to hire new people.
Good employee retention rates can make your establishment a desirable place to work. By investing in the training, development, and promotion of your employees, you will attract a better quality of potential employees when you do need to hire someone, making the whole process of hiring, onboarding, and training more efficient.
Additionally, when you invest in your people it sends the message that they are appreciated instead of replaceable. This boosts morale and creates an environment in which people want to work. A happy employee is an efficient employee.
Efficient employees like to get things done quickly, take pride in their work, and endeavor to eliminate mistakes. They are also excellent at helping to identify areas where efficiency could be improved.
A good employee can set the standard for the team and help drive everyone to work more efficiently and effectively. Recognizing these leaders on your team sets the precedent that a person's hard work will not go unnoticed, motivating others on your team to perform at the same level.
That breeds job satisfaction, leadership, and efficiency in your team.
8 - Use workforce management software.
Workforce management software can help you maximize employee productivity, use resources adequately, streamline operations, and grow your business.
Here are some of the ways a great workforce management system can help your restaurant become more efficient.
Grow your business.
By using workforce management technology, you can scale your workforce to accommodate the growth potential of your restaurant.
Manage chains, employees who work at different locations, and the payroll of all your sites through one simplified platform.
But what are some of the key benefits of payroll and hr software, and how will it help you increase efficiency?
You can save thousands of dollars each year by streamlining the scheduling, clock in/out processes, and onboarding of employees. One restaurant even reported saving over $90 000 in one year in time fraud alone.
WFM systems can save you time producing schedules by providing you with essential tools like sales and traffic forecasting, staff efficiency, and more. Additionally, you can save time with self-automated onboarding capabilities for new hires.
Manage all aspects of your business.
By integrating your WFM systems, you can simplify processes like forecasting, scheduling, payroll, training, hiring, onboarding, and HR management. By attending to these various tasks with a push of a button, your time is free to do more of the things you love.
With the proper workforce management systems in place, restaurateurs like you can focus on what matters most—your people.
You now understand that an efficient workforce is the key to a profitable business. By introducing a holistic approach to training, establishing the proper SOPs, having good communication with your team, and implementing some workforce management software, you can improve your team's efficiency and your restaurant's earning potential.
With Push, you can integrate hiring, onboarding, training, time tracking, scheduling, payroll, and reporting into one convenient platform to help grow your business.
Whether you are looking to streamline operations in your restaurant, retail store, manufacturing plant, or construction company, Push Operations has the tools you need to efficiently and effectively manage your workforce with ease.
Book your demo today to discover how Push can help simplify operations, cut costs and increase your team's efficiency.
Want more tips on how to increase your restaurants profit margins? Check out our free guide below!