By Niall Keane, CEO of SynergySuite Restaurant Management Software
A recent study by the National Restaurant Association found that one in three quick-service and one in four fast casual job openings go to people getting their first work experience in hospitality. Anyone who’s worked in the foodservice industry knows that employees are the lifeblood of customer satisfaction and repeat business, but lack of experience can negatively impact your business.
You may be running a well-structured training program for new staff in the hopes that they’ll learn quickly and become more productive, but you might be missing a critical piece in your evaluation of staff growth — the impact new staff are having on sales and profitability.
There are four key metrics restaurants need to track when onboarding new staff to evaluate their impact on operating profit.
1. Sales per labor hour
According to the NRA, for limited-service restaurants, the median total sales per full-time equivalent employee is $45.33 per hour ($68,571 per year). The sales per labor hour metric gives you insight into the productivity of your staff. Is your staff reaching $45 per hour in sales? The best way to track this metric is through a cloud-based restaurant management system. Having a single platform to manage this data that integrates with your POS is the first step to improving your sales per labor hour. Then you’ll be able to see as you teach and nurture new staff your sales per labor hour will rise during their shifts.
2. Average cover
Table service restaurants need to track a slightly different measurement — average cover, which measures how effective each employee is at maximizing sales for each tables in their section, as one server may have a bigger section than another server. The easiest way to measure this is through a cloud-based system that integrates with your POS. You’ll start to see the best servers sell more to each person and average cover accurately measures this.
One of key reasons new staff may not meet their sales targets is that they are not up-selling. Good training on the menu and specific descriptions of key items is important. You need to maximize selling time when there is a guest in the seat, and tracking up-selling by employee will identify the servers leaving dollars on the table.
4. Food costs
For limited-service restaurants, new staff can have a huge impact on cost of goods sold. Many restaurants lose profit from new cooks due to incorrect portioning, waste, and unrecorded sales. A daily prime cost report measures these problems and identifies the root cause of an issue quickly. You can identify shifts where waste is higher than average or food cost for a particular item is above the norm. Armed with this intel you can start asking your managers the right questions.
Once you've identified an issue in your operations, you can start fixing it with new training programs or specific one-on-one training. The hardest part is actually tracking the metrics. Modern back-office software gives managers access to these metrics on their mobile devices in an easy-to-use format. Data can be pulled from multiple POS platforms and updated in real-time via the cloud, so you always have accurate, current analysis at your fingertips to measure and manage staff productivity.
Cover photo: iStock