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Labor- Getting More Bang For Your Buck

Finding quality, affordable, dependable labor is a major concern with the foodservice industry today.
According to the National Restaurant Association, the average cost of wages and benefits for foodservice workers is 34% of total sales. So, how can foodservice operators control their labor costs? The first thing that comes to mind is to improve productivity among existing workers.
By designing your restaurant's kitchen to be more efficient and save steps for employees, you result in longer employee retention, better job satisfaction and increased productivity levels.
Methods of saving steps can include arranging equipment so prepared food moves logically toward the dining room. Compact refrigerators under worktables reduce trips to the walk-in freezer, and thus worker fatigue. Streamlining operations on one level, including the kitchen, storeroom and loading dock also saves valuable time.
Purchasing kitchen equipment that automates tasks and reduces the amount of manual labor needed is a time saving solution. Many manufacturers produce smart equipment that even the most inexperienced employee can operate. Equipment such as food processors, slicers, microwaves, steamers and a host of other items can save employees lots of valuable time.
A variety of cooking equipment will allow you to program a number of cooking functions. All kitchen staffers need to do is select the proper number for the food they just placed in the cavity. Programmable equipment also enables operators to reduce the amount of training required to produce uniformly consistent, quality meals.
Using equipment such as blast chillers allows the chef to prepare a dish, then quick-chill it down to near freezing. This process maintains the food safely for days. Then when a customer orders a particular dish, even if the chef isn't present, his apprentice or another kitchen worker can rewarm it for serving.
Workers who are physically comfortable are happier and more productive and many manufacturers have addressed this by offering ergonomically designed equipment and supplies. These products also reduce the number of repetitive stress injuries incurred on the job.
Proper training is also crucial to increasing productivity among employees. Although the initial time investment may be great, your return on investment will be quickly realized. Employees who have been properly trained will make less mistakes, feel more comfortable and have more job satisfaction.
Making smart choices when choosing equipment for your operation coupled with proper training of employees will not only make your operation more efficient but it will save you time and money.