In 2018, states across the nation committed to putting minimum wage increases into practice. Since then, 2/3 of restaurants in affected states have reported a rise in labor costs, with some reporting an increase between 9-12%.
If you are among the affected restaurateurs, how are you offsetting this increase? Do you know that you can bring your labors costs down without necessarily having to turn to drastic measures, such as cutting hours, eliminating positions, raising prices, etc.? Let’s see how!
If you have been cutting employee hours, eliminating positions, and raising prices to lower your labor costs, you are likely doing more harm than good. As a result, it is your customers that will suffer. Before you know it, you will have another problem staring right into your face - empty tables!
With a good labor management system, you can monitor your labor costs while improving business for both your customers and workers.
Restaurants have already reported to saving an average of 2% on labor costs just by streamlining their scheduling tasks via Zip Schedules, a labor management/restaurant scheduling software that also reduces employee late time when used together with a time-clocking system.
Let’s do some calculations; for example, if your restaurant generates $500,000 in revenue annually, saving 2% on labor costs means you could save an extra $1,000 every month, give or take a few dollars. Let’s say your annual revenue usually sums up to $1 million, this translates to roughly $2,000 saved every month. So, how do these savings add up? Let’s see!
Integrating a labor management tool or employee scheduling app with a point of sale system (POS) is one of the most effective strategies restaurants are using to lower labor costs. By integrating a scheduling app with your POS, you can start making labor decisions based on actual sales data.
Say you've noticed weekday afternoons have been slow over the last couple of weeks. Observing this pattern, your scheduling app will match your staffing levels to your projected sales, that is, tweak your schedule in a way that leaves you with the headcount you need at least until the crowd returns. Seeing how much of your sales go to payroll, the savings you make by ensuring your shifts are not overscheduled can be impressive.
If you have been operating your restaurant for a while now, you know exactly how the weather can impact sales. With high-quality scheduling software like Zip Schedules, you will be able to get daily weather forecasts based on your exact location. If you notice that you are likely to experience inclement weather at any given day or time, you can cut labor ahead of time.
Unemployment rates in the industry happen to be at their lowest, and as a result, restaurateurs are having a hard time retaining talent. The good thing about high turnover rates, however, is that they can be controlled through a number of measures, one of the most effective ones being offering flexible schedules. Yes, restaurant workers love when they are offered flexible schedules as it allows them to achieve a better work-life balance.
Good employee scheduling software allows employees control of their schedules to an extent; therefore, it improves their morale, which in turn leads to fewer turnovers. So, how does a labor management tool like Zip Schedules, give employees control over their schedules? With a mobile scheduling app, employees receive the most recent schedule via their mobile devices ahead of time. A scheduling app also gives employees ample time to swap shifts, request time off, claim available shifts, or adjust personal plans to accommodate their work schedules.
Time is money, or rather, time wasted is money lost. Let’s see how a scheduling app frees up time, not only for you as the manager or owner, but for your employees as well.
1. Improve Communication With an Employee Scheduling App
If you are still using manual methods to schedule your employees, how many hours a day do you spend addressing employee requests and availability needs? Manual scheduling typically means all availability and time-off requests reach your table in the form of calls, emails, short notes, and text messages.
Now, how many such notes, emails, texts, and emails do you contend with each week, not to mention those that get lost in the shuffle? Suppose dealing with scheduling issues ceases to be your responsibility, what could you possibly do with all those reclaimed hours? A lot, I bet!
A quality labor management/employee scheduling app comes with various functionalities, among them being the capability to send, receive, and approve employee requests. With such an app, text messages, sticky notes, phone calls, and other manual ways of passing quick messages become a thing of the past.
Since employees can access the scheduling system via a mobile app, they can make requests and submit their availability from any location. In the same way, managers can access the app via their mobiles phones and will be able to receive and respond to all submitted requests from any location. Scheduling software saves valuable time for both parties (the manager and the employee), and it also eliminates any chances of employee requests going unmet or answered because they got lost in the shuffle.
2. Streamline Shift Swapping With an Employee Scheduling App
Not only does labor management software allow employees to send in their requests via their mobile phones, but it also makes it easier and much faster for them to swap shifts whenever they can’t work their allocated shifts. To do this, all they need to do is chat with fellow workers through the app and once they have found someone to swap a shift with, you, as the manager or person responsible for employee scheduling, evaluates the swap, approves it if applicable, and it immediately reflects on the schedule. Also, through the same app, the manager can create a shift pool to give employees a chance to claim any available and unassigned shifts, which they will also be able to do from their mobiles.
3. Streamline Communication With Employee Scheduling Software and Apps
Implementing labor management software streamlines communication in more ways than we have already discussed. For example, employees are able to create a group chat to share and receive information or updates from each other via the app. Managers and other team leaders don’t have to make phone calls, send texts and emails, or call whenever they need to pass important updates to the rest of the team, as the software provides a direct channel of communication to all involved parties.
The software can also be programmed to send push notifications to employees once their shift has ended. In turn, employees can leave feedback for their supervisor or managers.
4. Show Blackout Days via Employee Scheduling Software
Every restaurant has days when all-hands are needed on deck, especially during holidays and game nights. Employee scheduling software can be programmed to blackout days, making it clear that no time-off requests will be approved during that time. Since employees can view all blackout days or shifts via their mobile devices, no one will waste time fielding and rejecting requests already addressed via the scheduling system.