Labor goals are objectives that businesses set in order to improve their workplace productivity. By setting and achieving these goals, businesses can increase their output and improve their bottom line. There are a variety of different labor goals that businesses can set, but some common ones include reducing absenteeism, increasing employee retention, and improving employee satisfaction.
In a restaurant business, labor cost is often one of the highest expenses the owners have to incur irrespective of sales, profits and revenue numbers. Even if it's a lean period with only a few tables occupied each day, the servers, chefs, managers and bartenders need to be paid their salaries. So not matter how good or bad the balance sheets are looking, the payroll should be rolling because without the staff and their service.
On the other hand, with the wages for hourly workers on the rise in the U.S., labor costs for restaurants are also on the rise. At such a juncture, you would want to have better control over your labor costs and also ensure that your workforce is meeting all the important goals, all tasks are completed on time and the quality of your restaurant's service is bettering itself. So, before you start running the payroll, you might want to go through some hacks that could help you meet your labor goals, keep the wheel turning and optimize your business to get the best results. Here goes-
Let's admit it, as managers and restaurant owners, we may have sometimes set a few goals for the staff that were a little too difficult to achieve on time. This not only sets back the work in itself but also the office culture, employee engagement and the motivation to work with an aim in mind. If your chefs and servers, bartenders walk into their workplace with the mindset that they have been tasked to fail, they will lack the drive to make the restaurant sales fly.
Instead, discuss the goals with each staff member at the goal-setting stage to make sure both sides are on the same page. If the chefs, servers and managers have doubts or concerns regarding the achievability of the tasks, talk to them freely, understand where the problem lies and work together to make these goals look attainable. One way of doing this can be following the mantra of setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals. Each of these conditions will help you make the goals more realistic and also fulfilling for your business.
While you should have the bigger picture say serving 10,000 customers, creating 1 million impressions on your horizon, the large numbers and targets may seem daunting at first glance. Try not to intimidate your workforce with these huge numbers at the very first step. Divide the goal of 10,000 customers into 10 smaller, achievable goals and assign these to the team.
Such smaller targets will help the team reach the bigger goal in a slow and steady pace and also allow you to keep track of the progress in a systematic and efficient manner. When the monthly and daily targets are met, you will automatically see the bigger goals inching closer. At the same time, it will add less pressure on the team and help them stay engaged and involved with their tasks.
A recent survey by Gallup has shown that companies that are in the top 25% of employee engagement ratings are in fact 22% more profitable and productive than their competitors. These businesses have also experienced a much lower rate of employee turnover, absenteeism and workplace hazards such as injuries. An engaged employee acts like an owner of the business, takes ownership of the work and productivity of the restaurant and thus helps achieve goals without external push.
Also, involve and engage the staff members in the goal-setting, employee scheduling processes, seek their inputs and expertise as they are the on-field workers and may have some valuable insights to share regarding your goals. With more involvement, they are likely to work better towards achieving the goals they helped you set up.
While you may have divided your bigger goal into numerous smaller tasks, you as the restaurant owner or manager must always keep an eye on it. Keep track of the work progress, daily task achievements to ensure that the business is inching closer towards the final goal, say reaching the magic number of footfalls, sales or online impressions etc. Allow all individual team members to also track their work progress on a weekly or daily basis so that they are kept in the loop.
This way, if any of the tasks are not completed, you can immediately take corrective measures to set them on the right path towards goal achievement. You will also have the chance to make changes in your employee scheduling, task management or project management plans if needed and make sure the work gets done. With both the restaurant management and staff members keeping track of their individual, team and also long-term, short-term goals, chances of not meeting the labor goals can be reduced further.
Remember when you used to win a movie night or a box of chocolates upon finishing homework on time? That was your parents incentivizing the often boring and tedious task of doing homework. The same can also work wonders for your workforce, just that your team members are full grown adults, and chocolates may no longer have the same effect. So what can you do with your team to make sure they reach their labor goals and helps your restaurant's productivity go up? Financial incentives is the conventional and easy answer.
It is true that employees who earn bonuses are far more engaged and better at their work compared to those who have no financial incentives to work harder. A 7Shifts study has found that 67% restaurant employees in the U.S. would want to get bonuses in recognition or appreciation of tasks that they do well. Think about the huge number. Financial incentives also make employees take accountability of their work and also worry about the bottom line. Bonuses and financial benefits motivate workers to put in extra hours, brainstorm, foster growth and leadership within the team to pull each other up and push the growth trajectory.
Foster a healthy workplace environment at your restaurant, stand by your employees, support their needs and listen to the issues they may bring up. Sometimes addressing their concerns may end up bettering your customer service or help the team in general. Also, a healthy work environment, good competition and a fun-filled restaurant floor will keep the spirits up and help them get the productivity up.
Apart from making the job only about targets, customer service, goal achievements etc, try to introduce some fun practices such as ringing a bell every time a staff member does something thoughtful, helps out someone, or a customer leaves a handsome tip for one of the servers. Make little traditions like ringing the bell that will encourage the staff members to have the same for themselves as well. Such little rewards and competitions will not only keep up the spirits but also get you closer to your goals.
A little exchange of words can go a long way. Really. So try to communicate and share with your workers as much as you can. For example, if there is a change in a work schedule, a certain task or the monthly goal, speak about it in advance instead of dropping it as a surprise. Your workers will appreciate your effort and transparency. Also, it is important to make sure the communication happens both ways. Do not let it become a one-way lecture session where the managers speak and servers nod and disperse. And make team meetings, discussion sessions, taking feedback a regular habit. You can even think of scheduling team meetings on certain days to openly discuss different issues, goals, achievements and feedback from both sides.
Effective communication will make sure you are not jolted with a rude shock or mishap at the end of a task schedule. If you hold regular communication with your team, you will stay in touch with the issues, keep getting their feedback on the goal progress and so on.
So that was a list of things you as a restaurant owner can do to make sure your workforce is meeting their labor goals before you start with the payroll process at the end of a month. At the heart of it, you need to remember to motivate your labor force by letting them in on the why factor. Why should they care about your business? Why do they need to achieve these goals you are setting for them? Involve them in the business growth, the path that you have chosen to boost revenue, productivity and sales. Explain it to them how each small goal will help the team achieve something bigger and why each of their contribution holds immense power to make that happen.
Talk to them about why each of the smaller goals are important and how each staff member will be personally impacted by the goal achievements and the ultimate business growth. Focus on their skill development during the whole process of achieving the smaller milestones.