1. You must have a labor percent goal established. All through this article I will use the same set of numbers for the examples. In this case the goal will be 14%. Your goal must be based on reality. Can you really cover your business with this labor?
2. You must have a proficiency chart. This tells you who can do what position and how good they are at that position. My suggestion is cross training. Have your entire staff knowledgeable in every position you have in your business. This will make covering a call off easier, as well as breaking up boredom.
3. You must have an availability chart and written request off procedure. This tells who can work at what times. If Joe can only work 11 to 2 and you write a schedule of 12 to 3, you are either going to be short handed at 2 or Joe will now have a reason to not like his job. This type of negativity is not good for your staff or the business. Also use a calendar system to allow your staff to make requests for off days. A written system will allow you documentation of requests, the ability to notice an abusive patterns and a centralized place for the staff to record the request.
4. You must have a realistic projection for sales broken down hourly (at least). Base your projection on reality. If you are up 5% from last year don’t project 15% increase and hope for the best. Also have at least hourly projections so you will have people there when you need them and scheduled to leave when you don’t need them.
5. Know your average wage and convert this to man-hours and figure your sales per man-hour (SPM). A real projected sales of $35000 with the 14% labor goal divided by the average example of $9.88 equals man-hours of 496 (rounded). Taking the sales of $35000 and divide it by 496 leaves SPM of $70.56. Meaning on average it takes $70.56 in sales to pay for 1 man hour worked. Now understand this is an average and does not define your productivity. In your busiest times the synergy of your staff will move this number up greatly. A staff of 8 may be able to easily handle SPM of $140 while the average of $70.56 is really impossible for one person to handle.
6. Figure your minimum and max staffing. This is the number of people you need to operate regardless of sales. For example if you have 2 positions that must be covered to give adequate service your minimum staffing is 2. That means if you are open 18 hours a day 7 days a week, your schedule will have a minimum of 252 hours on it before the first sale is made. You max staffing number is based on what your staff can produce during your busiest time. If your biggest daily hour is $900 and a staff of 8 can handle it perfectly, you now know you will have 8 scheduled every hour that is $900. Count the number of hours that are $900 and multiple that by 8. For the example let’s use 7 hours times 8 equals 56 hours. Add that to your 252 and your schedule has 308 hours on it. Take this 308 and subtract it from the 496 and that leaves 188 hours to staff the remaining hours you are open.
7. Use a bar graph system. A bar graph is a computer program that uses the information above to assist you in developing a schedule that will be profitable and cover the needs of the customers. There are a number of programs that you can purchase just search bar graph scheduling in your favorite search engine. You can also use EXCEL or another spreadsheet to write your own.
John W Moore, better known by friends and associates as “Bill,” has thirty plus years in the restaurant industry. Having worked for the leading corporations as well as consulted for local family owned and ran restaurants, he understands the opportunities facing owner/operators in today’s tough markets. His website http://www.thecon2nental.com is all about providing leadership in today’s restaurant.