July 7, 2023
Lauren Platero

Staff Optimization: 7 Ways to Reduce Labor Dependency

Staff optimization is absolutely necessary to maintain a successful company. Every business can run the risk of experiencing work overload. Maybe you’re feeling the heat from the recent labor shortage. Or, perhaps you’re understaffed each time a busy season rolls around. 

If these issues seem all too familiar, there’s no need to worry. There are numerous staff development and workforce management tools available. In this blog, we’ll cover seven ways to reduce labor dependency in the workplace–primarily within the restaurant industry. But first, let’s break down what staff optimization is all about.

Staff Optimization: Definition 

Staff optimization is the process of implementing strategies to improve the workplace. It refers to the idea of making the most with the team and resources you currently have. So instead of raising the cost of labor, companies can simply optimize the workspace. 

There are many goals that can warrant staff optimization. Some might want a more efficient and productive work environment. Others may do it in striving for financial success. Regardless of your hopes and dreams, there are many ways to achieve an optimized workspace. Keep reading for all the details!

7 Ways to Reduce Labor Dependency 

Ready to reduce the labor cost in your business? What about making the space more innovative and productive? Or, how about all of the above? Check out these seven ways to implement staff optimization right now:

1. Cross-Train Employees

One of the most common and traditional staff optimization strategies is to cross-train the whole team. This is especially doable for restaurants. For instance, hosts and servers can fill the opposing role. For more casual dining eateries, the chefs and dishwashers could swap positions, too. 

Having a team of employees who can wear multiple hats is essential for staff optimization efforts. The inability to find coverage is actually one of the biggest stressors in restaurants. But when colleagues know each other’s jobs inside and out, this issue is a much lesser risk.

2. Invest In Labor Saving Devices

Many digital solutions have the ability to reduce labor dependency. The way it works is that online and cloud-based labor solutions can put tasks and processes on autopilot. Then, the employees who would normally handle such tasks can focus on other things. When you’re able to do this, you’re multitasking in the most efficient way possible. 

Some common examples for restaurants include integrated POS systems, tabletop devices, and self ordering kiosks. Just ensure that they fit your business and aim to solve one or more of the challenges it faces.

3. Automate Frequent Processes 

Use the tech solutions mentioned above to automate time-consuming tasks. For instance, use a restaurant inventory app to conduct demand planning and take inventory. Or, use a restaurant reservation system to coordinate tables and seating arrangements. The way you leverage restaurant tech will solely depend on your issues and goals.

Innovative restaurant technology can deliver endless options when it comes to multitasking and staff optimization. Over time, this will reduce labor dependency. In fact, it might even let you reduce the size of your team. 

Restaurant Labor eBook

4. Digitize the Menu Types

Using digital menus, QR codes, and tabletop devices are ideal for staff optimization. They allow the team to make as many changes as they want. After logging into an app or the restaurant’s POS system, all changes will be available across all digital menus. 

These kinds of elements can also make the eatery more streamlined while saving money. Instead of printing new menus, cloud technology lets all updates stem from one place. Plus, it eliminates any confusion amongst the customers regarding what is or isn’t available.

5. Use Scheduling Tools

Invest in a user-friendly scheduling solution to delegate shifts to your employees accordingly. What this means, is assigning more team members to work during shifts that you know will be busy. You might wonder how you’ll determine these times. Luckily, there are two foolproof ways to do so. 

First, simply observe each shift. Is there a certain time or day of the week that your staff experiences stress and burnout more than others? That’s a major red flag to get more people aboard during those times. If your team has it together a bit more, just look at the point of sale report to determine the busiest periods. Knowing this information will surely help you make the most of your current team before needing to recruit more employees.

6. Outsource Talent As Needed 

There are some professionals that would be valuable to a restaurant. Roles like a restaurant marketing manager or PR consultant might generate a fairly high ROI (see: ROI meaning). However, hiring additional team members can escalate labor expenses quite a bit. Luckily, there's a cheaper option. 

Going the route of hiring contractors and temporary employees from third-party firms might be your best bet. First, you don’t lose money on things like training and benefits. Plus, these professionals maximize the time they have with their clients. So, it’s a win-win for all. 

7. Prepare Ahead of Time 

Staff optimization can take place just from planning for the future. In the restaurant space, doing so can let the staff dedicate much more of their time to more pertinent tasks. For instance, many aspects of the recipes can be prepped the morning of or day before. This would allow the sous chef to maximize their time each workday.

Or, the hosts and restaurant manager can prep the restaurant seating before busy shifts. This is especially helpful  before there’s a lot of restaurant reservations. It would also be a valuable thing to do for holidays and other special occasions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Staff Optimization

One of the most effective keys to success in any business is staff optimization. However, it can involve a number of factors. For instance, such a strategy can apply to one of many styles. It can also take on numerous step-by-step processes. It’s safe to say that before jumping into a staff optimization strategy, you should understand it completely. Read on for extra details:

What Is Staff Optimization?

Staff optimization is the process of making the most of the team you have in your business. For instance, you might choose to delegate shifts based on sales data. Or, you might choose to cross-train everyone to make each workday as efficient as possible. It all depends on your business, industry, and specific goals.

What Is Staff Optimization In Restaurants?

Staff optimization in a restaurant consists of the actions taken to streamline operations and serve great food. It aims to speed up table turnover rates, produce accurate orders, and provide great customer service. Without such strategies in place, it can become difficult to manage. Plus, it'll enhance the guest experience.

What Is An Example of Staff Optimization?

An example of staff optimization would be if you were strategically scheduling shifts during busy seasons. This would be a prime scenario to make the most of the team you have. In doing so, you will avoid the risk of burnout and poor customer service.

What Are the Four Staffing Strategies?

The four staffing strategies are:

  1. Short-term staffing analysis 
  2. Defining staffing expectations and requirements
  3. Determine future staffing needs 
  4. Ideas to improve staffing effectiveness

What Are the Five Staffing Models?

The five staffing models are:

  1. Full-time employees
  2. Hybrid models
  3. Staff augmentation resources, also known as temporary employees
  4. Professional services, which often consists of consultants
  5. Outsourcing, which is the act of hiring staff members from third-party entities, such as PR firms or marketing agencies
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Optimize the Staff for Optimal Success 

As you can see, there are many innovative ways to reduce labor dependency in the workplace–especially within the food service industry. Want solutions that can streamline operations for your staff? Book a demo with Revolution Ordering today! Our advanced suite of tech solutions can allow your employees to do more with less. In turn, this is a sure way to maximize profits and maintain long-term restaurant success.