Out of the three areas effecting payroll- front of the house, back of the house and management, the last is frequently the most difficult to get a handle on. To keep it within targeted payroll percentage points- preset by the very management that has to control it is almost impossible.
That’s why someone usually has t manage management.
On a recent evening dinner jaunt to a small contemporary pizza café in
Management was not paying attention as it should have been on this particular evening and if they were paying attention, they wee missing the foundation of a well run restaurant. This is a slight point to make as most employees have drinks stashed somewhere on the dining room floor. However, if the management can’t see the problem with free drinks allowing as though they cost nothing, how can the same person be responsible for cutting staff, trimming hours, and being the boss to friends who they have known for decades.
Promoting a server, who may not have the skills or ability to a management level is one of the mistakes owners make on a regular basis. I did this more times than I would like to admit, and, not learning from my mistakes, time and time again, the move usually turned into a costly experience.
Unless you have a management plan that calls for assistant managers that can be groomed for an upper-level position it is best to hire outside of the dining room to find a manager that can transform a restaurant into a well run profit machine. Plus, unless you have your eyes set on only one location that you will live in for the rest of your culinary life, strong management is a necessity if growing your empire or having time off is something you plan on in the future.
This unfortunately brings us to the cost of management. It is one of the most costly line items in your budget. Often it is looked upon as a priority in the beginning, but if position is not trained well, and guided to fit your needs, the position can turn into owner pain overnight.
I spent many Friday afternoons writing payroll checks to my managers leaving nothing but lonely lint in my pocket since I had run out of funds by the time one of my GM’s had his name on the” Pay To” line.
Of course, I did feel on some occasions I was being cheated, sine the manager was doing the same job that I could do and he was getting paid while I had little reward to show at the end of my work week.
This wasn’t the managers fault- I am the guy who hired him. Over the years I learned that if I begrudged a manager a check, it was time to talk to them about their responsibilities and the way they were handling them. If I begrudged the check to pay periods in a row it was time to replace the manager.
While management needs to keep their eye on payroll percentages, do not ever forget that a week cannot go by without the owner looking at the percentages and making sure they fall in line. As soon as they stray outside of the line, you immediately need to pull back the schedule and check it before anyone sticks a pin in it and puts it up on the board.
Payroll perfection is the true success to a well run restaurant. It also paves the road to profitability.