Management | 5 mins
Boost productivity & cut labour costs in restaurants.
by: customer success team
Also known as getting sh*t done.
Productivity is our favourite thing. It’s what makes our businesses work. Once you get to know it, and get it working for you in your business, it’ll be your favourite thing too.
Great productivity is the best way to make better profit, crush your targets, keep your team fired up and accountable, and grow your business. It's not easy to achieve and its even harder to measure (if you're doing it manually). But peak productivity is good for every part of business.
Great productivity means people are happier, they work harder, more gets done and more cash comes into the business. And measuring productivity allows all of that to happen, plus layers on the accountability, so everyone knows their targets ... and is motivated to achieve them.
What is productivity?
It’s that all-powerful feeling you get after you totally crush a work day. You get so much done in so little time you’re basically feeling superhuman. That’s productivity at its best. In fact, if you’re working at peak productivity, every day should feel a little bit superhuman. (Like, you know you’re not a real superhero, but you’re pretty awesome and you use technology to your advantage. In fact, you’re kind of like Bruce Wayne.)
In food service, that looks like: doing the best and most efficient work with the smallest team possible. It’s getting rid of wasted time and energy, creating streamlined systems for all operations and using all the people power you have most efficiently.
Why do you need better productivity?
Productivity = More Time
You’ve heard that age old saying, ‘time is money’? Read on …
Productivity = More Money
Ah, that old chestnut. But you’re in business — really it’s all about money. When so much of your revenue cake gets eaten up by wages, you’ve got to make damn sure you’re getting the most out of your team. Of course that means getting a team that doesn’t muck around. But it’s not only about them. Their productivity is also about your roster, how you manage their time, the incentives you offer, and how much they respect you. When you get this things sorted, and get your wages budget under control, you’ve got more cash to reinvest in everything from higher salaries to nicer napkins to marketing.
Productivity = More Morale
Productivity feels good. That’s rooted deep in our human psychology. The things we hate about work are all just bad productivity in disguise. Working hard but getting nowhere? You’re unproductive. Bored? You’re probably wouldn’t be if you felt more productive. Whether that’s a gym class, or cleaned and fed children, a DIY project completed, or even a beer annihilated, it simply feels good to have a thing to do ... and get it done.
For a manager or owner, productivity shows in the bottom line. More money, more happy.
For a team, productivity (and a better profit) makes working conditions better. A productive workplace can afford to pay proper overtime and offer incentives, which is never going to hurt morale. But more than that, it offers a challenge and reason for staff to work hard.
We’ve seen businesses where lack of productivity at management level feeds down to the staff, jeopardising the entire business. Motivated, productive bosses simply get more respect and create a motivated, productive workplace. We’ve seen that in action in our own businesses.
Productivity = More Incentive
Being more productive attracts the right staff to your business. We all know the struggle of finding good people in Hospo. Even if keeping staff spirits high isn’t your thing (btw, it should be) you can’t argue with the bottom line. And honouring the bottom line means more money. Optimising productivity means having the opportunity to give bonuses or pay above minimum wage, making your store attractive to the best workforce in the business. The best part? Great people who are paid well and driven to succeed will make a business even more productive.
Productivity = More productivity
Productivity breeds productivity. See More Incentive above.
Productivity = More Accountability
We can’t talk productivity without talking accountability. Once you begin the task of measuring productivity, suddenly everyone is accountable to the numbers. That goes for the bartender and the executive chef, the kitchen hand and even the owner. With measurable productivity, you can create a culture of accountability, where every team member knows what’s expected of them and whether they’re meeting that expectation, in black and white numbers. Like good money and great morale, accountability is a great way to motivate the team to achieve and keep striving for productivity and the inevitable rewards it offers.
How to improve productivity in cafes and restaurants
So now you see how life-changing good productivity is, we’ll tell you how to achieve it.
Everyone will tell you that measuring productivity is hard. They’re not wrong. The maths is time-consuming and fiddly if you're doing it right. To measure productivity in a food service environment, you have to look at how many people you have, how skilled they are, and how long it takes them to complete tasks.
The best way is to measure effort (team) against revenue (sales) in incremental time frames. So, breaking down the segments of the day into revenue in vs cost of effort out. How much does your team generate per hour against their cost?
But once you've measured this data, how do you use it to actually achieve better productivity? You need to predict revenue into the future, in the same increments, with a high degree of accuracy and measure the trends in productivity across wider periods of time.
It’s a big portion of maths served with a generous dollop of risk and a garnish of guesswork.
A few years ago, we decided we just can’t waste time doing it. Manual calculation is absolutely not productive — it doesn’t use our time efficiently — so that defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place. Luckily, this is 2022, so we can make technology do it for us.
Using unique heat mapping, Viability looks at benchmarks, your business model and your unique numbers — everything from revenue history to wage distribution and future rosters.
It highlights where you’re achieving great productivity with a simple number, and where you’re failing to be as productive as you can. It forecasts periods of low productivity so you can avoid them. It shows you where you could afford to have more staff to improve service. It monitors in small windows of time so you can see exactly what’s going on throughout different services in the day.
Having a software constantly crunch the number in live time allows your staff to see the numbers behind your decisions, and keeps them accountable for their work. Basically, it does the measuring for you so you can spend your time improving.
Because once you can measure productivity, you can improve it.
The big conclusion...
Productivity makes everyone happy. And happy people work better. Then, better work leads to more workplace productivity. That makes everyone even happier, and they work even better. It’s a glorious feedback loop of extra-productive happiness!
Because we know workplace productivity is the key to profit, we’ve channeled all of our experience into Viability to make it possible for every business to achieve optimum productivity.
We want to help you get that superhuman feeling.