Looking at Your Restaurant Payroll Too Late Is Costing You - Part 3

how to lower restaurant labor cost restaurant labor cost
Looking at Your Restaurant Payroll Too Late Is Costing You

Is your restaurant struggling with rising labor costs that are eating into your profits? Do you feel overwhelmed trying to manage these expenses? You're not alone, and I'm here to help. Welcome to the third part in my special seven-part series about lowering labor costs head-on so you have the tools to regain control.

Each post in this series covers a crucial step to help you effectively manage and reduce your labor costs. From auditing timekeeping to cutting down on unnecessary overtime and optimizing your schedule, we've got you covered. Stay with me as we solve this problem together, one step at a time.

Ready to get started? Let's dive into today's tip and take the third step towards controlling your labor costs.

Let's talk about how to prevent staff from getting paid at higher rates when they're not supposed to.

Are you keeping an eye on your payroll? Often, it’s only when it’s too late. It's time to put your numbers in and send them to payroll. Whether you're typing them in, faxing them in (like us old-school folks), or using another method, the person handling payroll often has no idea who worked any shift. They must assume management has already verified the accuracy of these numbers.

Audit your timekeeping

Verify that your staff is not punching in under the wrong job codes on a shift-by-shift basis. Mistakes at this point can lead to unnecessary expenses and skew your labor reports. Employees often work multiple positions with different pay rates—such as server and server trainer, prep cook and line cook, dishwasher and busser, or barback and bartender.

Imagine a scenario where I'm a server, but today I have no training duties. If I accidentally punch in as a trainer, I might get paid a higher wage, costing the restaurant more money. If management doesn’t catch this mistake, it results in higher payroll expenses unnecessarily.

To prevent this:

  1. Daily verification: Each manager needs to write down when people are coming in and their job codes. They must then verify in the POS system that employees are punching in with the correct job codes.

  2. Address mistakes promptly: When a manager finds an employee has punched in incorrectly, they should address it immediately. This not only corrects the current mistake but also puts employees on notice, reducing the likelihood of future errors.

Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips.

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Create Freedom from Your Restaurant