3 Simple Ways to Reduce Labor Costs in Your Restaurant in 2023

As restaurants and coffee shops reopen following the pandemic, many are finding that they can’t hire enough staff. It's hard to find the people they need to operate at the level they did before the pandemic.

In the National Restaurant’s State of the Industry Mid-Year update, 25% of restaurant owners reported hiring and retention as their greatest difficulty. And the average wage of restaurant workers has risen above $15 an hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the reasons for this are highly debated, the fact remains that it’s now harder to hire employees and labour costs more.

If you’re having issues staffing, use these tips to reduce your employees’ workload to a more manageable level.


1. Automate Simple Tasks

Take a look at all your restaurant’s processes, and consider how they can be simplified, or even automated.

For instance, if you receive an order through your online ordering site, is it going to your POS automatically? Or, do you have an employee looking at the order on a tablet, and manually re-entering that order into your POS system? If it's the second scenario, take a look at the integration options that your POS system offers. Automating order entry from online orders will allow your team to be more efficient.

Take advantage of tools like kitchen display systems that route orders to the correct prep station. Look through every part of your restaurant’s day-to-day operations. Is there anywhere you can eliminate steps without impacting the customer experience or food quality?


2. Encourage Customers to Order Ahead

Every order you receive through a mobile app or online ordering site is one less person in line. That’s one less person that your staff need to be at the front counter entering orders for. Instead, you skip over the order entry process and go right to pick up or delivery.

As mentioned above, ensure your orders get sent to your POS system through an integration. Then, ensure that orders are automatically sent to your make-line. This reduces the opportunities for mistakes and saves your employees’ time.

“Before the app, at really peak times, when a lot of people are walking in we had two people on the register. Now, more transactions are happening outside of the point of sale system and through the app directly. That’s one less person needed to interact at the customer level that can be making coffee, or managing, or directing traffic in the store. There were real efficiencies earned there.”

- Marc Hindman, Director of Brand Strategy with Rook Coffee

Don’t have an online ordering site or a mobile app for your restaurant? Schedule a demo with our team to find out how you can implement a mobile ordering app for your cafe.


3. Outsource Your Prep

How much time do your back-of-house employees spend slicing mushrooms and dicing onions? Are there local suppliers that provide pre-sliced mushrooms? What’s the price difference, and how much are you paying that employee? Is there a quality difference?

With the staffing shortage, now is the time to re-evaluate your options. Consider replacing high-prep ingredients with those that come pre-prepped.

Take the time to reevaluate your restaurant and see where you can make things more efficient. Don’t be afraid to ask your staff either—they may have a better method for performing some tasks.