Measure productivity in your restaurant or cafe


Master it to see your business thrive. Productivity means getting the most out of the resources you have at your disposal. In most cases, these resources are: time, money and teams.

What is workplace 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 like, a really cool vigilante that's in it for their own reasons. 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 more efficiently.

Why do you need better productivity?

>Productivity = Less Waste

Good productivity is simply the art of not wasting anything. Not wasting time or money. Using the time and money you have most efficiently. If you can use time and money wisely, a whole army of other benefits will follow.

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 — so really it’s all about money. When so much (~30-40%) 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 social media marketing.

>Productivity = Better 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 task to complete at work, 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. Money can't buy loyalty, but a super productive workplace can afford to pay proper overtime and offer cash incentives for great performance, which is only going to boost morale and enthusiasm for the task at hand. The team comes to work for money, after all. Good incentives offer a challenge and a cold, hard reason for staff to do their best work.

It's common for a lack of productivity at management level to feed 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 Money = More Appealing Workplace

Being more productive can also help attract the right staff to your business. We all know the struggle of finding good people in hospo. Even if keeping the team's spirits high isn’t really your thing (btw, it probably should be) you can’t argue with the bottom line. And honouring the bottom line means more money around. Optimising productivity offers 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 Appealing Workplace 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 the team is meeting expectations, in black and white numbers. Like money and good morale, accountability is a great way to motivate the team to achieve their goals and keep striving for productivity and the inevitable rewards it offers.

How to achieve better productivity

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, depending on what data you have at hand. To measure productivity in a food service environment, you have to look at how many people you have, how skilled and expensive they are, and how long it takes them to complete tasks. You have to measure this against revenue in given time frames. You have to understand the industry benchmarks and appropriate revenue distribution.

Then, to use this information and actually achieve better productivity, you need to predict revenue into the future with a high degree of accuracy and put all of those other factors into play. It’s a big portion of maths served with a generous dollop of risk and a garnish of guesswork.

You simply can’t waste time doing that. It is absolutely not productive — it doesn’t use your time efficiently — so that defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place. But luckily we're in the 21st century so technology can do it for you.

Here's the pitch: get tech that does the work for you.

Using unique heat mapping functionality, looks at industry benchmarks, your business model and your unique numbers — everything from revenue history to accounts, roster, real staff time and hour-to-hour POS data.

It shows you where you’re achieving, and where you’re failing. It forecasts periods of low productivity so you can avoid them. It shows you where you could afford to have more staff to improve your service in busy times. It monitors in small windows of time so you can see exactly what’s going on in a unique heat map. It 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 less of your time doing math, and more of your time improving your team's productivity.

The important thing is: once you can measure productivity, you can control it.

TL;DR 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 hyper-productive happiness!

Productivity is the best way to make better profit, crush your targets, keep your team fired up, make everyone accountable, and grow your business.

We know workplace productivity is the key to profit. So we’ve channeled all of our knowledge into algorithms and put them into Viability, to make it possible for every business to achieve optimum productivity. Basically, Viability is the most productive way to be productive. We want to help you get that superhuman feeling, every day of the week.

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