Recent pictures on the national news of rats partying after hours on the countertops, deep fryers, tables and cutting boards of a KFC location in New York certainly placed a crimp in that manager´s plan for corporate advancement. The video should also be a reminder that effective cost cutting can only be accomplished after analyzing the entire picture.
When the rodent video went public, management scurried to cover their tracks claiming the restaurant had immediately closed for remodeling. Employees claimed the infestation was due to the "quick close edict"- balance the register, turn off the lights, lock the door that management passed down attempting to cut costs. The decision to trim staff was most likely made in the company´s financial offices miles away from the location by management completely unaware of the outcome.
Granted, keeping payroll in line is one of the most efficient ways to control costs. However, you need enough staff to open the restaurant and close it effectively. The theory that the morning crew can clean up after the previous night´s closing shift seldom works. Nobody likes to clean up another team member´s mess. That´s how the dirty dining room carry over is perceived. Also, as proven in the video, lingering messes attract unwelcome guests.
Staff costs should always be in line. If they are, they never need to be trimmed to the point of catastrophe. There are some simple guideline to use and questions to ask when preparing to trim labor costs. If your payroll is out of line and you think you can implement some cost-saving measures ask yourself these questions-
1). Is everyone working to their full capacity?
2). Is per-shift management top heavy?
3). Is your kitchen overstaffed?
4). Is the weekly schedule- both dining room and kitchen- reviewed by a manager and an owner each week?
5). Is staff being cut on slow nights?
6). Is there an allocated time for closing and opening duties?
7). Can sections be expanded to include more seats?
8). Does your payroll percentage reflect increases and decreases in business?
9). Do you calculate your payroll costs weekly?
10). Do you alter a throughout the week depending on the business cycle?
Trimming payroll is a rapid way to cut costs. Set your goals and trim methodically. If you don´t it could cause bigger problems than anyone could ever imagine.