Blog Post / November 21, 2018 / Industry Voices

How To Use Workforce Optimization Technology To Grow Your Bottom Line

by Ana Cvetkovic

Today, workforce optimization at a restaurant is key to increasing a restaurant’s bottom line. With a 2.5% increase in the number of restaurants in the United States in 2017 and an inability for restaurants to increase wages due to low profit margins, a labor shortage is plaguing the entire industry.

The best way to increase profit margins is to increase efficiencies and decrease resources required.  Cloud software created for the restaurant industry enables restaurateurs to do this by making data-driven business choices. Here are four ways you can use cloud technology at your restaurant to overcome work shortages and grow your bottom line:

Read on to learn how to implement these revenue-driving strategies to overcome the labor shortage.

workforce optimization

1. Use Direct Reservation Software to Optimize Guest Management

Rather than recording reservations on pen and paper or making complicated spreadsheets, you can streamline your reservations by using a cloud-based online reservation system. Online restaurant reservation systems make it simple for guests to “RSVP” to your restaurant for the evening. However, most of these systems take hefty fees from you for taking reservations from your guests. The average restaurant spends $1-7 a cover to third-party online reservation systems just to take reservations from their regulars.

Direct reservation systems like SevenRooms are different. They enable restaurateurs like you to white-label their reservation technology so that you can collect reservations through your restaurant’s website, email, or even social media, decreasing fees to third party reservation systems.

With more touch points to get reservations (and fewer cover fees), you can more accurately predict how many guests you will be serving each day.

2. Use Labor Forecasting Software to Optimize Scheduling and Labor

The more information your restaurant has about its labor spending and habits, the better you can optimize your restaurant worker scheduling to help your restaurant thrive despite an industry-wide labor shortage. Cloud-based restaurant scheduling and labor forecasting software makes it easy to track your restaurant’s labor spending habits.

7shifts, for instance, helps restaurateurs to increase their bottom lines by automatically tracking your labor spending in real-time. This helps you make data-driven scheduling decisions rather than acting on guesses.

With features like auto-scheduling and free mobile apps, 7shifts reduces time spent creating staff schedules, freeing up time for responsibilities that truly require your attention. This time saved translates to 1-3% savings on labor costs.

3. Use Guest Management Systems to Create Exceptional Guest Experiences

When all of your competitors are struggling with the labor shortage, you have to stand out in other ways. Creating a memorable guest experience will transform casual visitors into regulars and evangelists who will rave about your restaurant to others.

Cloud-based restaurant software that collects data about your guests empowers you to give your guests a memorable, personalized dining experience. SevenRooms is so much more than just a restaurant reservation system. The platform also helps restaurateurs like you gather data on your guests, like reservation history (below_ as well as food allergies and anniversaries, to build customized guest profiles.

workforce optimization - guest profiles show previous visit history

This information helps servers to better understand their guests and to personalize their order suggestions. When a server is able to point out a gluten free meal to a guest who has celiac disease, this tailored note delights the guest. This increases the likelihood that he or she convert to a repeat guest as well as your restaurant’s recurring revenue. Ultimately, when you grow your bottom line with more regular guests, you can increase wages at your restaurant to attract and retain top talent to beat the industry-wide labor shortage.

4. Use Workforce Optimization Software to Streamline Operations

Knowledge about your restaurant’s operating costs is powerful. The more information you have, the better you can make decisions about your spending, especially when it comes to the most costly expense: labor.

Cloud based technology created for restaurants is most powerful when it’s working with together. By integrating your staff scheduling tool, guest management software, and restaurant point-of-sale (POS) system, you’ll be equipped to make smart decisions about who works when.

workforce optimization - tools that integration

When you integrate your POS with your staff scheduler and SevenRooms for reservations, you have a very powerful tool at your disposal. Your reservation system’s guest data profiles will help you know who is coming into your restaurant so that you can schedule staff who will be able to best accommodate your regulars.

upcoming reservations report

Beyond knowing who is coming to your restaurant on any given day, an online reservation system can also show you how many guests to expect. Tuesdays may be a slow night for your restaurant, so you typically save on labor by having a minimum number of servers and cooks working that night. If you get a 20-person reservation for a birthday party on a Tuesday, you’ll know to schedule an extra server and cook to ensure that your guests will get the attention they deserve, and they won’t have to wait long for their food.

Every guest encounter is an opportunity to make your guests want to come back to your restaurant - or stay away. By using your POS in conjunction with a restaurant reservation system and staff scheduling software, you can make sure you’re properly staffed to give your guests an experience that will keep them coming back for more.

An industry-wide labor shortage has made it difficult for restaurants to employ an optimal number of front-of-house and back-of-house staff. Workforce optimization software like reservation systems, restaurant scheduling software, and POS have taken the guesswork out of staffing decisions and enabled data-driven strategies for overcoming the labor shortage. These cloud technologies have empowered restaurateurs like you to optimize guest reservations, make employee scheduling more efficient, deliver a memorable guest experience, and streamline operations to overcome the pitfalls of a labor shortage and increase their bottom line.

About the Author

Ana Cvetkovic is a freelancer and content producer for 7shifts. She is also the CEO of BLOOM Digital Marketing, a Boston-based creative marketing agency that helps the hospitality and tourism industries reach new audiences online.

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