Labor Management: How to Get the Right People in the Right Place at the Right Time
Oct 08, 2020 labor operations management
Labor optimization requires you to have the right people scheduled at the right times and performing the jobs they're best at.
Ask any restaurant manager what's keeping them up at night these days, and most of them will tell you the same thing - mounting labor challenges. Turnover is reaching unprecedented heights and wages are constantly rising, which means it has become increasingly critical (albeit more difficult) to optimize labor costs.
Optimizing those costs requires proper labor management. And at the end of the day, proper labor management is about having the right people, in the right place, and at the right time.
This sounds so simple, right? It's the basic foundation of a well-run restaurant. But while it may be simple as a concept, it's becoming harder to put into practice. Today's restaurant operations are more complex than ever. Off-premises sales have forced restaurants to make significant changes, and at a time where restaurants are facing heavy competition and searching for new streams of revenue, many are experimenting with their menus and different day-part operations.
So what does this all mean? Getting the right people in the right place at the right time will always be the goal of any restaurant manager, but due to operational changes, it may have meant something different in 2019 than it did in 2018, and it likely means something completely new in 2020 (hello COVID). So what's a timeless, pandemic-proof solution?
The Importance of Data
Optimized schedules must be data-driven. When you have a good idea of how much business you'll do in a given shift, where that business will be coming from, and what guests will be ordering, you can better align team members with the needs they'll be best equipped to fill.
There's no other way around it - optimized schedules must be data-driven.
Of course, you'll have to know who the best people are to fill those needs, and that's where management comes into play. Your managers should know who the best servers are, who the best bartenders are, who the best line cooks are, etc. And if certain team members wear multiple hats, they should be ranked uniquely depending on their role.
Your team member skill rankings help immensely during the scheduling process. When you're planning the week ahead and know the bar is going to be particularly busy, you want to make sure you have most highly skilled (ranked) available bartenders working. If your forecasts suggest it will be a slow bar night scheduled your lower ranked people.
While this may sound like a lot of work, it's automatic with the right labor management platform. Your rankings are collected and accounted for via automated scheduling. By defining the best people for every job and automating the scheduling process you save a tremendous amount of time. When you have the right tools to collect and process all relevant data, you can ensure that you'll get the best possible results.
We get that mounting labor challenges are being compounded by the constantly changing restaurant landscape, but getting the right people in the right place at the right time will always be the optimal outcome. With the right tools to rank and organize your team members, you can make this a reality very quickly.