Labour cost?

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by leeniek, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. leeniek

    leeniek

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    So today the owner comes and finds me in the kitchen and asks if I'm ok for a Monday meeitng with him, his partner, the KM and our head office person.  He is not happy with the BOH labour cost and we have to do something.  Some days it's over 20% and yes I know that's high but the FOH is just as high as us if not higher on some days.  We had two really high days two weeks ago that we can account for .. it was almost 35% on both days.   The first day it was because we had hired a new guy and he was in on a very slow day as an extra that day for training and we have to spend money to train people, there isn't anything we can do about that.  The second day was because we were told by head office that we had to donate fruit cups to a local festival so I had to bring in staff to prep fruit cups as they had to make 300 of them and there was no way one person could do that plus run the fruit station and make sure the cups he had to prep for service were ready to go.  It varies from day to day but we have to staff properly and until today I thought we had a good thing going. 

    Now the owner wants our head office person to approve the BOH schedule before it is posted.  WTF is that??  Someone who has NO idea how our kitchen works or how we do things is now going to be stupervising how I staff the kitchen?  I don't think so and I know the KM will have kittens when he hears that one.  If that is what they are bent on doing I am going to ask that she work my rotation (thurs-mon) for eight hours just like I do in the kitchen so she can see what we need where before she can even look at one of my schedules. 

    I don't even know where I can cut.. we are down to bare bones as it is...

    This is what it looks like day by day (close is at 3pm)

    Monday

    530am-130pm  opener

    7am-close KM

    7am-close me

    7am-close fruit station

    On call.. one line cook

    Tuesday

    530am-130pm opener

    7am-close  line cook

    830am-close KM

    7am-close  fruit station

    On call one line cook

    Wednesday

    530am-130pm  opener

    7am -close Km

    9am-close line cook

    7am-close fruit station

    on call one line cook

    Thursday

    530am-130pm opener

    7am-close me

    7am-close fruit station

    9am-close line cook

    10am-close prep person

    on call one line cook

    Friday

    530am-130pm opener

    7am-close me

    7am-close fruit station

    9am-close line cook

    9am-close prep person

    11am-close line cook

    on call one line cook

    Saturday

    530am-130pm opener

    7am-close me

    7am -close fruit station

    8am-close line cook

    8am-close fruit station

    8am-close KM

    830am-close line cook

    9am-close line cook

    930am-close line cook

    On call  one line cook

    Sunday

    Same as Saturday

    We have five stations.. meat, eggs, crepes, fruit and lunch.  One person can handle them most of the time but on weekends we need two on fruit and a floater to help when a station gets smoked.  I have no idea how we are going to cutt 50 hours without the quality and service suffering. 

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    Is this Coras Leeniak? Am I right...from a previous post?

    My daughter worked at the one in Newmarket over the summer a few years back in high school as a hostess.

    It was crazy busy there. I remember going for brunch once.The food was excellent. High quality freshness.I don't know about you but this type of quality can only be kept up with good sfaffing.

    All I can gather from previous posts is maybe less turnover? High staff turnover is a sign of decline. And will raise red flags at head office

    That's all I got

    Gypsy
     
  3. leeniek

    leeniek

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    Gypsy yes it's Cora's.  We have pretty low turnover for this business.. it's the owner who wants the meeting and he brought in the head office person.
     
  4. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Hey Leeniek, If I was back working the line, I would just be happy to have a job in this economy. It kills me when I see people in this business take a lackadaisical approach to their job. This is a business that, the harder you work you will get rewarded. I hired two Chefs this week, the first thing I told both of them was, I expect a lot, make my business come first, and take good care of my customers, I expect quality. They both have 25 years of experience, we shall see how it works out. If they show me they care, I'll show that I care, its a two way street................Take care...............Chef BillyB..

    Update: 6 hours later, One Chef down, one to go.......I'm moving to Canada,,,,,,GGEEEEEEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZ
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2010
  5. leeniek

    leeniek

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    We chatted a little more with the owner yesterday.. he wants to bring down labour both in the FOH and the BOH.  The person responsible for the FOH scheduling is going to be having the same chat on Wednesday that the KM and I are getting on Monday as the owner wants to bring down labour across the board.  The KM and I worked out the schedule yesterday and we did some cutting.  Priority was given to the full timers and the part timers are the ones that have been cut. 

    Bill.. move to Canada!!  I would love to have you in my kitchen!!
     
  6. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you really need that many closers?  Just asking.
     
  7. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    what's up with that?

    I always let my high priced employees go first and had a couple well trained light weights close

    good observation Kuan
     
  8. leeniek

    leeniek

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    While we have it to close on the schedule we start cutting people as soon as business dies down, starting with the opener and whomever is in (or opened if we have two people) on fruits. It's been that way on the schedule since the KM and I took over.  We both noticed that last summer people would be scheduled from 9am-2pm and when 2pm came they'd drop everything and leave even if we had a rush at the time, so we changed it so people know they're expected to stay until closing if we need them to.  The ones who were doing that no longer work with us but we've kept it that way anyway.   We still cut people before closing on most days but if we need them to stay until the end they do.  
     
  9. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Leeniek, Run the kitchen as if the money was coming out of your pocket every hour. All operations could be cut, the problem is, most don't know how. You need to look and see when some areas could be manned by one person. I cut my operation from 10 employees to 4 daily. I have my employees better trained and able to pick up double the work. Don't look at what your doing now, look at what is needed to run the kitchen efficiently. The problem is we are so used to doing it one way, we can't see how change could happen. I always hear from my employees, there is no way we could do that, two months later they are doing it with ease................ChefBillyB
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  10. leeniek

    leeniek

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    We had the meeting today with head office and it went really well.  I like our field consultant alot.. unlike her predecessor she has real life experience in the business and that makes all the difference with her approach.  She gave us some hints to cut a little further and she even said herself.. try it for a week or two if it doesn't work, change it.  She asked us about every staffer and we had to be open and honest and I think some of what we said came as a surprise to the owners but we were being fair.  I know they want us to use students as much as we can but we have only one student worker I am willing to give priority to and I said that in the meeting.  The rest can fill in when our full timers are on days off and that's the best I can give them.  She found fault with one thing.. the scheduled on call people.  I use on calls to cover bailed shifts (been stiffed too much these days) and now that it's summer we're getting more reservations for big parties so if I have someone I can bring in for three hours to get us through the rush that is better than scheduling someone in and having to pay them when in fact they were not needed. 
     
  11. leeniek

    leeniek

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    We did see who can man two stations and put the person we knew could hack it onthe schedule  and the other.. to replace them on their two days off.  Fruits we have to have one person and while last year we had two people always on fruits this year we don't as the KM and I can both do it and we step over and help when fruits is backed up.  You're right.. I went into this not thinking I could make any more changes and the consultant showed me how I could do a little each day that would add up over a month.  I have staff I can count on to pick up the slack and that's what I need. 

    Funny thing.. our former KS came up in conversation today and I was the one who brought him up. They were on about how the FOH slacks etc and I said.. guys..did you want to know why I cut the former KS as early as I did every shift he worked with me??  He was in the back on his phone and I was on the line doing all the work so.. why am I paying him to play on his freaking phone when obviously he was not needed???   I didn't get alot of answers .. there was alot of animosity between me and the former KS because of his lousy work ethic but his sucking up abilities were spot on and that was how he got to be KS in the first place.  They now see that I was right when it came to him and now.. when I comment on an employee they listen and take note of it. 

    Bill you're right and we have to make them do it.. thanks for that!  I'll keep you posted as to how we manage but I think we can do it...
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Key to saving is not by eliminating, but by getting more production out of the staff you do have. This way you do not have to hire more or bring in extra to make fruit cups. And instead of bringing in STAFF to make only 300 fruit cups, bring in one good person 2 or 3 hours earlier
     
  13. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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      Hi leeniek, You are looking at things a bit different than months ago, you are managing with more of a "Can Do" attitude....I like it, and I'm proud of you.....................Chef BillyB
     
     
  14. cabotvt

    cabotvt

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    Hello, seems this issue is getting a lot of playing time, the old Clinton More with less statement.

    As far as the office manager working the BOH, work with her not against. We culinarians are a tough bunch. We can always learn from others things we never see.
    As far as efficiencies in the work place ask your staff, see who has the best idea for XYZ. Have kudo's for your team to participate, free knife, aspic cutters (get them from your  purveyors). I watch Cake Boss..I know.. and as the popularity of that show increased so did the bagged lunches. I mean the pre-made product. I've been flirting with some myself and I always look at the pro's, for me it's Hilz. His website has some great pre-made products that do cut cost. breadHilz.com.

    Just my 2 cents
     
  15. leeniek

    leeniek

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    Thanks, Bill!  That means alot.   I have learned alot since I joined this site and I have people like yourself to thank for helping me see things that I just didn't see a few short months ago. 
     
  16. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    One way to do it is to go by headcount.  You know how many people you can do per cook hour.  Say you can do 20 per cook hour.  So say you expect 120 ppl. for the day you can schedule 6 hours total.
     
  17. leeniek

    leeniek

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    Kuan, I was going to PM you with a couple of questions but then thought I'd just post it here that way if someone else is having this situation they can learn from it too.

    I cut the bodycount and still that isn't quite enough to get our labour to just where it should be.  We are definitely getting closer but we have a little farther to go yet.  I had one high day last Friday and that I put in the owners laps as they made me bring in someone that was not needed and I had no say in the matter so whatever... water under the bridge this time. 

    I'm going to do the headcount method and if I'm correct I need to look at the sales per hour and staff to that level  and then cut people as business dies down.   Is that the best way to approach it?  I know headcount varies from day to day so if I know for example that every Thursday the hours between 7am and 10am are crazy I would bring in someone at 7am, then start cutting when things die down starting with the first person who came in.  I'm still keeping the on call shifts because they just take the worry away from me when it comes to replacing a shift. 

    The other thing I want to do and please feel free to comment is remove the -CL from the schedule.  So instead of being 0530-CL the opener will be 0530 and the understanding is still there that I may need him to stay until close but I think in the end it will be easier for me to send people home if there is no end time on the schedule. 
     
  18. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    The nice thing with hours is that it's something you can control.  You cannot control how much a person gets paid but you can control hours.  So when someone comes to you and says the labor is high you can say "look.  We did 1,911 covers on 211 hours this week."

    Anyway I don't know your kitchen if it's prep heavy or how many people you run on the line.  I always scheduled based on total number of covers per week and then looked at the schedule and see where I could save a bit on labor. 

    One thing you can do is to fix the dishwasher schedule.  There are always going to be dirty dishes.  You can either leave the dishes at the end of the day and have the dishwasher do them at the start of the next day or have the dishwasher come in later.  I like the kitchen clean at night so I always had my dishwashers come in later.
     
  19. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    Hi Leeniak,

                     I always like to go with a small amount of core full-timers and heavy on the part-timers.Part-timers if you have a lot of good trained ones can be one of your biggest assets. I know it's a big deal when it comes to juggling the schedule but it pays off in the end .....(which is why we make the bucks)

    Actually Kuan had a valid point on the dishes....you can cut back there...if these part-timers really need there job ,can they not jump in when things die down and bring your dish crew in later?