labor management mistakesInventory and payroll are two of the biggest expenditures a restaurant has and it’s easy to see why — without food or employees, you can’t serve your customers. Restaurant labor management mistakes can take a big bite out of your profits if they are scheduled inefficiently, so carefully tracking these expenditures through your point of sale (POS) system makes sense. An integrated labor scheduling function makes it easy to ensure the right amount of labor is assigned at the right time, to schedule employees to cover shifts, and to make changes to accommodate busier times, holidays, and special events.

Are you making expensive labor management mistakes? Follow these steps to optimize your restaurant labor costs:

1. Assign jobs. Labor schedulers are a key ingredient to your restaurant’s success. They can help you make informed decisions on how many employees to schedule per shift so you are not caught either under- or overstaffed. Many systems can display a quick snapshot of how many employees are working, as well as what jobs they are performing that day. Job Codes tell employees what their responsibilities are for that shift. Employees can only select job codes assigned to them. This ensures that the right employees are performing the right tasks, at the right time, at the right location.

2. Determine the cost. Knowing which employees will be performing certain tasks can help you determine the total restaurant labor costs for each job category, such as food prep, cleaning staff and more. Analyzing this data and knowing where your labor dollars are spent can help you determine if you are making labor management mistakes such as allocating too many hours to some jobs, (which eats away at your profit margins) and not enough to ones that could increase table turnover.

3. Lock it down. Your POS system should include clock in/out functionality to track hourly restaurant labor costs. There are a few ways this can be accomplished, with various levels of security to eliminate the opportunity for time theft.

  • Good: The software’s integrated time clock allows employees to punch in and out of any POS workstation.
  • Better: An ID card or security code helps to cut down on “buddy punching” — employees cannot clock in or out for each other if they are late, leaving early or taking unauthorized breaks.
  • Best: A biometric fingerprint reader increases employee accountability and completely eliminates the opportunity for time theft. This added layer of security helps control who has access to the POS terminal and reduces the opportunity for unauthorized discounts/voids and shrinkage. The fingerprint reader ties an employee to every transaction, easily allowing employers to pinpoint questionable activity and resolve issues before they spiral out of control.

4. Optimize Labor Hours. Comprehensive reporting broken down by the day, shift or hour can help you make more informed decisions regarding how much labor to schedule. This information helps determine which shifts need more employees and which ones should have staffing reductions so you aren’t paying people who are just standing around. Once this information has been determined, you can redistribute hours as needed and then reuse schedules without creating new ones each week.

Restaurant labor management mistakes can chip away at your profit margins, but using your POS system can help. The data your POS system collects is a valuable asset when making scheduling decisions and determining the optimal number of employees. With these insights, you will always have enough staff on provide great customer service while still maximizing profits.