Smart restaurant owners keep their costs down. However, there are some costs that even the most frugal of restaurateurs can’t avoid, namely those of food, beverages, utilities and labour.
Labour, in fact, is the single greatest expense for many restaurants. Without being strategically managed, the costs of hiring, training and paying your staff can easily spiral out of control. In the UK, managing labour costs carefully will only become even more important as the minimum wage rises this April, and strict post-Brexit immigration policies come into place, further worsening the existing labour shortage.
In light of these changes, what measures can you take to keep your restaurant labour costs low and ensure your business stays profitable? Here are our 4 top tips you may not know already.
1. Differentiate on culture
As a business owner, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that paying your staff more than others is a sure-fire way to increase retention and save yourself money in the long term. Although paying competitively is certainly worthwhile, research has shown that ‘personal reasons’ are quoted more often than financial reasons for changing roles. In other words, it’s the culture that you maintain, and whether your employees feel valued and empowered, which will more likely determine how long they stick around for. Rather than throwing extra money at miserable staff members, try investing in training and culture-building activities instead, which will both help them do their jobs better and make them genuinely happy to stay.
2. Give your staff the tools they need
Picture this: it’s the first day of your new office job. A friendly member of HR welcomes you and walks you to your desk, presenting you with a ten-year-old CRT computer. It takes two minutes just to open a web browser. It crashes when you check your emails. Working with slow, outdated equipment is painful - don’t make your staff do it.
Technology is rapidly being accepted in the restaurant world, and a good POS and kitchen management system are increasingly recognised as the digital essentials. The Vita Mojo restaurant Operating System is a step further, streamlining your key restaurant operations for increased efficiency end-to-end. All orders from online, self-service kiosks and your POS are funnelled into a single KDS system, making it easier to manage fulfilment, drastically reducing the risk of human error, and increasing the efficiency of your labour.
3. Forecasting and tracking
To avoid unnecessary expenditure on labour, it’s key to accurately forecast footfall and sales, to schedule labour accordingly. One of the greatest benefits of bringing technology into your restaurant is the massive increase in transparency which it provides. A fully integrated digital system like Vita Mojo OS lets you collect data across all areas, including customer trends, operational statistics, order preparation times and seasonal variations, bringing everything into one place.
Increased accuracy and volume of data means better forecasting, so you can carefully plan your labour schedules ahead of time, and never have more staff on shift than you need. Once you partner with Vita Mojo, our in-house data experts support you in gathering and processing your data, advising you on the strategic implications; we cover the technical side of things so you can focus on running your restaurant.
4. Digital Ordering
Most modern restaurants allow their guests to order digitally in one way or another. Maybe you have a Click and Collect platform, or a POS instead of a till; chances are, you are yet to realise the full potential of digital ordering. Digital ordering not only transforms your customer experience, it also automates stages of the order process, freeing up staff time to add value elsewhere.
Traditionally, taking customer orders requires a lot of staff involvement. Digital ordering channels such as self-service kiosks, Click and Collect or Order and Pay at Table reduce this involvement massively, letting the tech do the monkey work. In quick service concepts, where customers just want to grab and go, the transaction interaction is well suited to automation. In other styles of restaurant, where customer service is more of a feature, staff can be up-skilled into hosts and brand ambassadors, with less pressure to perform menial tasks. In this case, technology enables the same level of staffing to add increased value to the restaurant experience.
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An omni-channel digital ordering platform with Vita Mojo provides your guests with a sleek and consistent ordering experience, no matter what channel they use. Once customers are familiar with your digital ordering brand they are more likely to return to you for home delivery or Click and Collect. They are also shown to spend more, as the digital menu experience allows for up-sells and AI-powered recommendations, increasing average transaction value by up to 15%. Digital ordering reduces queueing and improves the flow of your restaurant, allowing an increase in throughput of up to 20%.
The best way to implement digital solutions will be unique to your restaurant. That's why we don't just give you our software, we partner with you. Our Client Success team works alongside you, understanding deeply the challenges and opportunities for your business. They then provide ongoing support and consultancy, ensuring you find the ideal solutions and applying them effectively to benefit your bottom line.