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Top Tips for surviving a staff shortage

Top Tips for surviving a staff shortage

One of the most significant costs involved while running a restaurant is the restaurant staff. The percentage of restaurant labor costs to sales average at 22-40%, and in some cases, it can be almost as high as 75%. Especially if you are working on a tight budget, high human resources cost coupled with a high attrition rate can bleed your restaurant dry. Find out how to reduce employee turnover in your restaurant here. However, it doesn’t mean you need to spend a bomb right at the beginning of your restaurant venture. In this article, we will tell you how to run a restaurant even with a limited staff, and still, rake in profits. 

Running a restaurant with a limited restaurant staff is an art, that most restaurant owners fail to comprehend. Have no fear, we’ve gathered some tips on how to run your restaurant with a short staff. 

1. Cross-Train Your Staff 

Cross-training is an advantageous method that you must implement before you start a restaurant. This will help employees to learn new skills and be ready to take up new roles. Instead of hiring a large number of employees you can go ahead and try taking leverage of your already existing internal staff talents. Cross-training and restaurant management training will enable all your employees to take on any role when other employees are not present for various reasons like injuries, illness, family emergencies, or some other issues. For example, when the hosting staff is not present, the wait staff or the manager can try taking up the job of welcoming the customers. Similarly, if you have in-house serving staff, they can be asked to take care of other duties like putting the tablecloth and refilling the water during slow hours. 

Once a week, you can arrange for a pre-shift meeting over lunch that will help you to build a relationship with your employees. 

Well-trained restaurant employees who have a feeling of belongingness will work more efficiently, and there are higher chances that they will stay longer in your restaurant and provide a more consistent level of service to your customers. It is a good idea to specify your restaurant service standards in the form of a ready reckoner that your staff can consult at any time. 

2. Manage Your Restaurant Staff Well, Especially During Rush Hours 

You should allocate work to your staff depending on your sales per hour. As sales fluctuate, it is necessary to maintain the labor cost that will allow you to churn out more profit. Keeping a large staff force during a slow sales period will unexpectedly reduce the quality of their service at peak times. There are many scheduling tools that will help you in the scheduling of restaurant employees and will ensure that you distribute your staff as per your business hours; this will keep the performance of your staff at peak. Learn how to manage your restaurant employee shifts effectively here. 

You should also remember that rush hours tend to change from season to season. Hence, you need to adjust your plan and the schedules of your staff accordingly. For example, during festivals and holidays, restaurants see a sudden influx of customers. 

For such instances, you can hire seasoned employees who will assist the permanent staff and will ease the operations of your restaurant. 

3. Use Technology, Equipment, and Machines 

The use of technology can reduce your dependency on manual labor. In addition to this, restaurant management software nowadays has features like a server app, stock, and inventory, recipe management, and table order that will allow your customers to place orders directly through an app, and all such related features will reduce your dependency on the staff force. Proper kitchen equipment and machines are also fundamentally important. You must keep in tune with the new kitchen equipment innovations and bring them into your kitchen that will help you run your operations and surprise your customers with new menu items. The machines deliver a consistent product, increase speed phenomenally, never ask for leaves, and are there before anyone else arrives at work and after everyone leaves. 

Not only will it help you to run your restaurant in a more diligent manner, but you will also be able to save yourself from the unnecessary hassles that happen among the staff on various occasions. 

4. Hire Seasoned or Part-Time Staff 

You can hire seasoned staff in times of festive seasons that will help you to cope with the high rush that you might encounter during this time of the year. Part-time staff can be hired not only during the festive season; they can also be employed on a daily basis during the busy hours of the day as well. Hiring seasoned and part-time staff will not only enable you to reduce the cost that you incur on labor, but it will also help you to manage the working of your restaurant well. Now various types of staff are required to run a restaurant. This article will tell you how to create an efficient human resource structure in your restaurant. 

5. Outsourcing Intermediate Products 

Trying to make everything from scratch in your restaurant not only takes a lot of time, but it will also incur a lot of expenditure in addition to this you would also need to have a large staff force to carry on with the operations. Hence, outsourcing intermediary products is a great way to carry on with the process. 

We hope you found these tips on how to run a restaurant with only a few hands useful. Remember these tips the next time a waiter takes an unexpected leave during the peak season!