In numerous restaurants, labor has become a topic highlighted by the economical environment of the service industry. It is necessary for owners and managers to take on additional responsibilities in day to day operations and/or cut the number hours available for the team. Often, this means that key employees are responsible for doing more as well. The work normally completed by a specific position that is no longer being scheduled has to be distributed among the remaining employees that are working…without using more time to do it. This can lead to decreased morale, resentment, and a “grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side” effect, where employees begin looking for employment elsewhere for a 2nd job or even to replace this one. Of course, this isn’t true everywhere. Some restaurants have begun to see increases in sales and guest counts. For a multitude of reasons, some companies were shining stars throughout the lowered consumer spending or gained ground on the previous leaders. Even with these top performers, it is necessary to adequately control labor and continually maintain or improve the bottom line.
The primary control of labor is scheduling. Recall the restaurant you described when you introduced yourself. Using that restaurant, discuss the Four-Step Labor Cost Control System described on page 461. Describe and evaluate strategies that you would incorporate in your restaurant as a means to control labor costs. Each step in the four step model will need to be addressed.
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