Canada Statutory Holiday Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Provincial Statutory Holidays

Canada Statutory Holiday Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Provincial Statutory Holidays

In efforts to make general holiday calculations easier for you and your team, our team of payroll experts have put together a quick guide on everything you need to know about statutory holiday calculations!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. British Columbia Statutory Holiday Eligibility and Calculations
  3. Alberta Statutory Holiday Eligibility and Calculations
  4. Saskatchewan Statutory Holiday Eligibility and Calculations
  5. Manitoba Statutory Holiday Eligibility and Calculations
  6. Ontario Statutory Holiday Eligibility and Calculations
  7. Conclusion


Introduction

General holidays, also known as statutory holidays, are fun – for the most part. They’re occasions for family and friends to come together to celebrate something; and these outings usually consist of a big holiday meal. Meaning, holidays don’t quite mean the same for restaurant businesses. To make matters more difficult, statutory holiday eligibility rules, and calculations vary from province to province. As payroll experts, our team here In efforts to make general holiday calculations easier for you and your team, we’ve put together a quick guide on everything you need to know about statutory holiday calculations.

Want to keep your own guide on hand? Download your own free copy below!

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British Columbia

First things first: what constitutes as a statutory holiday in BC?

The holidays that do qualify are as follows:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day*
  • B.C. Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.

So, who is eligible for statutory holiday pay?

For normal non-union environments, employees:

  1. must be employed for at least 30 days prior to the statutory holiday, and
  2. have worked at least 15 out of 30 days,  preceding the holiday.

However, if an employee is working under an averaging agreement or variance at anytime before the 30 days prior to the holiday, they are not required to meet the 15 day requirement.

Now how do you calculate statutory holiday pay?

Eligible employees (who work 15 out of the last 30 days preceding the holiday) are entitled to general statutory pay, which is equivalent to an average day’s pay.

Here’s the equation:

  • Amount paid ÷ number of days worked = general statutory pay

The amount paid or “total wages” refers to:

  • Wages earned in past 30 days preceding statutory holiday.
  • This includes: regular wages, commissions, statutory holiday pay and annual vacation pay and excludes overtime.

Days worked refers to:

  • Number of days worked or earned wages within 30 calendar days
  • This includes: days on paid annual vacation, paid statutory holidays

For example:

Peter worked 22 days, earning $5,280, including $480 in overtime, in past 30 calendar days preceding the statutory holiday.

To calculate his statutory holiday pay:

  • ($5280 – $480) /  22 days worked = $218.18 in statutory pay (average day’s pay).

If Peter is given the day off on a statutory holiday, he is still entitled to $219.18. But if he works on the statutory holiday, then he is also paid:

  • 1.5x regular wage for the first 12 hours worked
  • Or 2.0x regular wage for hours worked above 12 hours

For example, if Peter works 8 hours on a statutory holiday, he will be paid:

  • (1.5 x $30) x 8 hours + $219.18 = $579.18

For those who do not qualify for statutory holiday pay, but work on a statutory holiday, they will be paid their regular earnings, without any additional pay.

If the employee was not scheduled to work in the last pay period (0 days worked & $0 regular wages), the employee’s general holiday pay entitlement will be $0.

In efforts to simplify the complication of BC’s statutory holiday pay  calculations, we’ve put together a free excel template on statutory calculations in BC. Download your free BC statutory holiday pay  calculator below!

Download the Template

Alberta

So what days qualify as statutory holidays in Alberta? Only the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Alberta Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day*
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.

And exactly who is eligible? There are two factors that an employee must have to qualify for statutory holiday pay:

  1. They must work scheduled days before and after the stat holiday.
  2. They must also work on the stat holiday if they are scheduled.

Working on a Stat Holiday

If an employee works on a stat holiday, they are entitled to one of two options.

  • An average daily wage (stat average pay) AND 1.5 x employee’s daily wage for hours worked (premium pay) OR
  • Their regular hourly wage including OT (if applicable) PLUS a future day off, with pay of their average daily wage and before their next annual vacation.

If an employee does not work on a stat holiday, they are only eligible for stat average pay.

Calculating Stat Average Pay

Here is how to calculate stat pay:

  • Regular wages, vacation pay, and general holiday pay earned during previous 4 weeks to the holiday x 5% 
Here’s an example:

Joe earned $4,320 in the last 4 weeks. He has worked his scheduled shift before the holiday, and will work the day after the holiday.

To calculate his stat pay:

  • $4,320 wages earned x 0.05 = $216 in statutory holiday average pay.

If he is working the stat holiday, he is entitled to premium holiday pay in addition to his general holiday pay.

Therefore:

  • $4,320 wages earned x 0.05 = $216 in statutory holiday average pay.
  • PLUS ($20 x 1.5) x 8 hrs = $240 in premium holiday pay

In total, Joe earned $456 when he worked a statutory holiday.


Saskatchewan

If you haven’t noticed already, different provinces can have drastically different statutory holiday rules. In Saskatchewan, everyone is eligible for general holiday pay! The following holidays are observed as statutory holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day*
  • Saskatchewan Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.

Stat Pay Calculation

Stat holiday average pay is calculated by taking an employee’s wage (including commissions and vacation pay but excluding overtime pay, bonuses, and tips),earned in the four week period (28 days) prior to the holiday and multiplying it by 5% (0.05).

Again, all employees are eligible for stat pay even if they don’t work the holiday. However, their statutory holiday pay must be paid in the same pay period that the holiday lands in.

The equation for regular stat holiday pay is:

  • Total wages x 5 percent(0.05) = stat holiday pay.

An employee’s total wage refers to:

  • An employee’s salary, commission, and any other form of monetary compensation, work or services, excluding overtime pay, paid in the last four weeks before the holiday.

Here’s an example:

  • In the last four weeks, Joe earns a regular wage of $500 per week. He also makes $200 in commission, and takes a paid one week vacation of $500. He does not work the holiday, but the holiday falls within the same pay period.

To calculate his earnings:

  • ($500 + $200 +  $500) x 5 percent (0.05) = $60 in stat holiday pay.

All employees, including managers, who work on a public holiday, are entitled to both stat holiday average pay and a premium holiday pay.

The equation for premium statutory holiday pay is:

  • Hourly wage  x 1.5 = premium stat pay*

Here’s an example:

  • John works an 8 hour shift on Victoria Day. He has an hourly wage of $12/hour, and in the last 4 weeks he’s earned $1,920.

For his stat holiday pay, he will receive:

  •  $1,920 (total wage) x 5 percent (0.05) = $96 in stat holiday pay.

In addition, to his regular stat pay, the premium stat pay he’ll receive is:

  • ($12 x 8) x 1.5 = $144

In total, John earns:

  • $96 regular stat pay + $144 premium stat pay = $240


Manitoba

Holidays observed in Manitoba’s General Holiday are the 8 holidays below:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Louis Riel Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day (the Monday preceding May 25)
  • Canada Day*
  • Labour Day (first Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (second Monday in October)
  • Remembrance Day**
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.

**Most industries are not allowed to operate on Remembrance Day but restaurants are an exception. It is not a requirement to pay all employees regular stat pay. Only eligible employees who work the holiday are entitled to at least half of a normal work day at 1.5x their regular wage. In addition, they are also entitled to general holiday pay of an average day’s wage or 5% of their gross earnings in the 28 days preceding the holiday.

Employee Eligibility:

All employees are eligible for statutory holiday pay unless: 

  1. They are absent from their last scheduled workday before the holiday*
  2. Do not work their first scheduled workday after the holiday*
  3. And do not work their scheduled shift on the general holiday

*without the employer’s permission.

Stat Pay Calculation:

Those who consistently work the same amount of hours on a weekly basis receive a regular day of pay.

For example: if John works 40 hours a week, 5 days a week, for 8 hours, at $20/hour. He is entitled to:

  • 40 hours ÷ 5 days = 8 hours (1 regular day of work)
  • 8 hours x $20 = $160 in General Holiday pay

For employees who work hours that vary, their general holiday pay is calculated at 5% of their wages over the course of 4 weeks, preceding the Stat Holiday.

For example:

in the last 4 weeks, Jessica has worked  120 hours prior to the stat holiday at the rate of $15/hour.

To calculate her stat pay:

  • $15 x 120 hours = $1800
  • $1800 x 0.05 % = $90 of general holiday pay.

For eligible employees that work their scheduled shift on the actual day of the stat holiday, they are also entitled to premium pay of 1.5 x their hourly wage. However, they must also attend their scheduled shifts before and after the holiday.

For example:

In the last 4 weeks, Tom worked 140 hours at $22/hour. On a stat holiday, he works a scheduled 8 hour shift. To calculate his general holiday pay and premium holiday pay:

  • (140 hours x $22) x 0.05 = $154 general holiday pay
  • PLUS
  • ((1.5 x $22) x 8 hours) = $264 premium holiday pay.
  • $154 (general holiday pay) + $264 (general holiday work pay) = $418 Tom’s total general holiday pay

Alternatively, if employees receive regular wages on the holiday, they will be provided with a day off with general holiday pay (within the next 30 days) in return. If there is an agreement between the employee and employer, employees may also choose to take their day off at a later date.


Ontario

Ontario’s general holiday rules have been amended as of January 1st 2018. Though employee eligibility has remained the same, the method of Ontario’s statutory holiday calculations has been changed. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about Ontario’s general holiday rules.

Did you know? Ontario is the only province in Canada where Boxing Day (December 26) qualifies as a statutory holiday! Here are the additional 8 holidays that are observed as statutory holidays in Ontario:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Family Day
  3. Good Friday
  4. Victoria Day
  5. Canada Day*
  6. Labour Day
  7. Thanksgiving Day
  8. Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.

Employee Eligibility

To be eligible for stat holiday pay in Ontario, employees simply have to follow the “first and last” rule – there are no restrictions on how long an employee has worked an employer.  Employees must work their last scheduled shift before the stat holiday, and the first scheduled shift after the stat holiday, unless they have permissions to miss their shift due to reasonable cause or have their employer’s consent.

  • For example: Joe works Monday to Friday, and the next stat holiday falls on a Friday. Joe is scheduled to work on the Thursday before the holiday, and the Monday after the holiday. He must work these entire shifts  to be eligible for stat pay.But Joe has requested Monday off to extend his weekend. His manager approves his request, therefore Joe is still eligible for stat average pay.

However, if Joe’s request is not accepted, and he does not show up, he will only be paid premium pay for the hours he has worked on the stat holiday.

Stat Pay Calculation

As of July 1st 2018, the method of general statutory pay has been amended. The new calculation will be reverted to how it was calculated previously. The calculation is as follows:

  • Total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay four work weeks before the work week in which the public holiday occurred, divided by 20.

The four weeks before the public holiday is based on the employer’s work week. For example, instead of a Monday to Sunday work week, it could be a Sunday to Saturday work week.

Here’s an example:

In the last 4 weeks, Peter is paid $14/hour and worked 30 hours. As he also worked his last scheduled shift before the holiday, and will be working the first shift after, he is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.

  • Regular wages earned in the last 4 weeks = $14 x 30 hours = $420 + $16.80
    (vacation pay, paid out per cheque)
  • $436.80 / 20 = $21.84 in regular stat payIn total, Peter will be paid $133.84 in regular statutory pay

Stat Premium Pay Calculation

In addition to stat holiday pay, employees who work on the day of the statutory holiday, are also entitled to premium pay. This is calculated by multiplying their regular hourly wage by 1.5.

  • For example:

    Last pay period, Jane is paid $12/hour and works four 8 hour shifts. She also works an 8 hour shift on a stat holiday. She is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.  As she also worked her last scheduled shift before the holiday, and will be working the first shift after, she is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.

    To calculate her total stat pay:

    • Regular wages earned in the last 4 weeks = $12 x 32 (8×4) hours = $384 + $15.36 (vacation pay, paid out per cheque)
    • $399.36 / 20 = $19.97 in regular stat pay
      PLUS
    • 1.5 x ($12 x 8 hours) = $144 in premium pay
    • In total, Jane will be paid $163.97 in statutory pay


Conclusion

After that long read, your thoughts on calculating statutory holiday could only go two ways:

  1. “wow, I get it!” or
  2. “… I need to read that again”

If you’ve got it – awesome! If you haven’t, payroll automation may be the solution that you’re looking for. But not just any payroll software solution. The restaurant industry is complex. With an influx with labor laws and an abundance of hourly employees, a non-flexible payroll system that primarily deals with salary employees isn’t going to work for you. When looking for a payroll software solution to automate your statutory holiday calculations, Push Operations is a payroll software platform that is crafted for restaurants.

Running a restaurant is stressful enough with minimum wage consistently being raised, food cost increasing, and continuous tight labour vs sales margins. Technology in the workplace can be disruptive but when it comes to stat holiday calculations, the pros of payroll automation heavily outweigh any potential cons.

Automating payroll not only eliminates human error and unnecessary costs but it also gives you peace of mind. When it comes to statutory holidays, you must be meticulous which is extremely time consuming. Manually calculating statutory holiday pay requires double, and sometimes even triple checking calculations but it’s a necessary step to avoid potential fines for underpayment or even overpayment. Statutory holiday rules vary province to province and it can cost you thousands if you aren’t careful.

To do the math:

  • if a BC company overpays $200 in statutory holiday premiums every holiday, they lose $2000 yearly with 10 annual statutory holidays.

This is where payroll automation comes into play. Let us do the heavy lifting of the mundane task of payroll calculations and it’ll allow you to do more of what you actually love.

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. (“Push Operations”) for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.

Ready to automate your payroll? Book a free demo today!


THE SCIENCE OF SCHEDULING

The Science of Scheduling

The Science of Scheduling

Proper scheduling is one of the key ingredients contributing to restaurant success. With the emergence of data analytics and online scheduling software, managers now have an abundance of tools and resources at their disposal to help them streamline and optimize their scheduling process.

You, your staff, and your customers will all benefit from smart, efficient scheduling.

Rely on the right tools and the right people

Smart scheduling is dependent on 3 key factors:

Good staff

No matter how organized and well-thought-out your schedule, if you don’t have an enthusiastic and skilled staff to assign shifts to, you’ll end up with unnecessary inefficiencies and labor costs.

A great staff makes scheduling easier and provides a better experience for your customers. Smart hiring practices and proper training are prerequisites for developing an efficient, effective schedule.

Big data

Big data is transforming the way managers make decisions. The right software and tools can help you track time and attendance, labor costs, productivity, customer behavior, and point-of-sale information to help you make better, more informed scheduling decisions.

Having access to guest counts, payroll data, and other key metrics allows you to optimize your schedule to efficiently meet customer demand and maximize profits.

Proper planning

Having big data and a great staff only gets you halfway. You need to know how to interpret the data and schedule your staff accordingly in order to provide the best possible experience for your customers and streamline your operations.

The key is to have the right combination of people and the right number of people working at the right times. For example, if your data tells you that weekday afternoons are slow and Sunday mornings are busy, you’ll be able to allocate your resources and schedule staff accordingly.

Make it easy for your staff to make it easy for you

Scheduling is all about communicating with your staff to ensure things run smoothly:

Centralize shift requests with software

Using online software to facilitate shift requests and post schedules allows you and your staff to communicate easily and plan ahead. Ultimately, your staff is going to be more productive and provide better customer service if they feel like they have some say in when they work.

Giving your employees access to a centralized online system not only helps you keep track of shift requests it also makes your employees more likely to plan ahead and make their requests in advance.

Set rules for your staff and yourself

When it comes to scheduling, it’s a good idea to develop a system and stick to it. Having set times for when you post schedules and when your staff can request shifts or time off allows you to plan ahead and streamline your scheduling.

Not only will these rules help you stay organized they’ll also keep your staff informed and provide structure. It’s a good idea to post schedules as consistently as possible in a centralized online location so your staff knows when and where to check their shifts.

Boost employee retention with smart scheduling

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry suffers from high employee turnover rates. There are a number of reasons for this, but improper communication and scheduling practices can play a big role in an employee’s decision to leave.

Keeping your employees informed and taking their wishes and requests into consideration whenever possible goes a long way in making them feel appreciated and respected. Smart scheduling also ensures that you have enough people working during your busiest times, which prevents employees from becoming overworked.

 

Strategic planning, streamlined communication, and smart scheduling allow you and your staff to stay organized, plan ahead, and provide the best experience to your customers while also cutting costs and increasing sales.


RESTAURANT CULTURE: WHY HIGH WAGES ARE NO LONGER ENOUGH

Restaurant Culture: Why High Wages are No Longer Enough

For hourly employees, wages matter. Offering a higher pay in comparison to your other businesses can give you a competitive edge in the saturated job market. It can help you attract your future manager, head waiter or head chef! But higher wages alone are not enough to increase employee retention. In fact, unless paired by other changes, high wages don't turn bad jobs into good ones and the cost will likely reduce company profits.

Why? Because, with the growth of the millennial workforce, there are things employees value more than money: culture, benefits, and growth.

A good company culture

70% of professionals in the U.S. today would not work at a leading company if it meant they had to tolerate a bad workplace culture. And “good culture” is more than ping pong tables in the break room and free snacks while working. Millennial employees define good culture as flexible, diverse, and inclusive.

To ensure you’re building a work environment that checks these three boxes, put yourself in the minds of your employees: make work as easy for them as it is for you. Put schedules out in advance. It makes it easier for people with less flexible personal lives to find someone to cover for them if needed. Remember to check in with employees. Ask them their opinions on processes, their ideas for change. In hiring and recruitment, make an effort to build a diverse team.

Managers should be accessible, empathetic, and fair. Too often, managers do not listen to their employees, or do not explain why policies exist, why the less attractive parts of the job—doing dishes, waiting on rude customers, etc.—are necessary for the successful business. Poor leadership can cause people to leave. In a study of 7,272 U.S. adults, Gallup found that 50% of employees left their job "to get away from their manager.” Every person on your team builds the culture, but change starts from the top and trickles down.

Better benefits, not more perks

91% of millennials say they are most attracted to a new job by salary and benefits. Benefits—health coverage, paid-time-off, parental leave—matter more than perks. Offering your employees a discount on food while they’re working is great in the moment, but it’s not a long term benefit to their life outside of work. That’s the difference: people want jobs that support a healthy work-life balance. Your policies need to extend beyond their work window.

Investing in long-term benefits can help increase employee retention and boost your culture in a actionable way. Investigate different benefits and create a package to offer full-time employees. You’ll see an increase in applications, a decrease in employee turnover, and, in return, build a more profitable business model.

Growth & leadership opportunities

One of the leading factors when people are choosing a new job is “sufficient training.” In today’s world, workers—specifically, millennial workers—want to grow as a leader. They want to continuously evolve and grow because more and more industries are evolving and growing themselves. In fact, here’s some stats:

  • 71% of millennials who are likely to leave an organization in two years are dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed
  • 69% of millennials aspire to be leaders in the next five years
  • 60% of millennials want training to develop their leadership skills

So when considering where to invest your budget—in higher wages or in more training—think hard. Investing in individual growth means investing in your employee retention. Although wages are important, 67% of millennial workers said they would take a pay cut if it meant more mentorship opportunities. Job shadowing, cross-training, and manager one-on-ones is a great way to instill a growth focus in your culture.


Success Starts With Culture: How Your Restaurant Culture Can Boost Sales

Success Starts With Culture: How Your Restaurant Culture Can Boost Sales

Your restaurant’s culture is a vital component of its identity. It affects how your customers, your employees, and your community perceive your establishment. Essentially, it sets the stage for everything that happens there.

QSR Magazine’s Marketing Guru Denise Lee Yohn writes: “A strong corporate culture attracts customers, engages employees, and enables better decision-making.

A strong company culture can benefit your business and contribute to success in a variety of ways. From improving staff retention to increasing customer loyalty, fostering a positive, service-minded culture is one of the most practical ways to boost sales and keep your customers and employees happy.

Here are 3 ways that a strong restaurant culture can help boost your sales:

Culture sets the tone of your operations

First and foremost, a restaurant’s culture stems from its core values and affects every aspect of its operations. Your culture plays a vital role in shaping your establishment’s atmosphere. It sets the tone for how you engage with your customers and your community.

Investing in a good manager or management team who understands your core values and vision is a great place to start. Good management flows from the top down. A good manager, who is well-trained and skilled at training others, will be able to build and nurture a strong culture—one your entire staff will want to be part of.

From kitchen staff to hostesses, each and every staff member affects your restaurant's culture and the customer experience. By fostering a strong company culture that aligns with your goals, there will be an unspoken standard of expectations.

Culture drives engagement and establishes standards

A strong company culture not only fosters enthusiasm and loyalty among your employees, but it also shapes the experience you offer your customers and, in turn, how they perceive you.

Diners are paying for more than a delicious meal; they’re paying for an experience. Consequently, the atmosphere you create for your customers is the product of the restaurant culture you’ve built and how effectively you’ve instilled that culture in your staff.

Customer service is also a critical component of hospitality. Therefore you want your restaurant's culture to support your your guest experience and, ultimately, boost business. Fostering a culture that makes employees feel welcome and cared about will likely reflect in their service skills. Guests left with a positive impression are likely to return time and time again.

A strong culture establishes standards, and standards lead to better, more consistent customer service.

Culture boosts employee satisfaction and retention

In addition to garnering better results from your staff, a strong company culture also increases employee satisfaction and retention. Happy employees with long tenure are more invested and immersed in their roles and, ultimately, the success of your business.

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry suffers from one of the highest employee turnover rates across all industries, at about 73%. Keeping high-quality, well-performing employees is a challenge for many managers, and high employee turnover can be costly. The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University estimates that turnover costs approximately $5,864 per employee.

Therefore, your restaurant's culture plays an important component of reducing employee turnover and keeping staff happy. Donald Burns (The Restaurant Coach™) suggests “build[ing] a culture where your team is appreciated and given the chance to grow” and succeed. Employees happiness is tightly linked with a healthy and supportive workplace culture. Those who enjoy working in the culture you have fostered and see opportunities for career advancement or development are more likely to want to stick around. After all, happy employees only help your business thrive!

In Conclusion

In short, your restaurant’s culture is a living, breathing part of your business. It affects just about every aspect of its operations, from hiring, training, and managing your employees, to your restaurant’s atmosphere and the experience you provide your guests. That’s why it’s important to develop and foster a strong company culture that aligns with your overall goals, and one that you, your staff, and your customers want to spend time in. 


5 Mistakes Most Restaurant Managers Make when Hiring Employees

5 Mistakes Most Restaurant Managers Make when Hiring Employees

When it comes to the success of your restaurant, few things are more important than your staff. Hiring the right people and providing them with the training, tools, and resources they need to succeed should be at the top of your list of priorities as a manager. However, this is not always easy, especially when you have a lot on your plate.

Here are 5 common mistakes managers make when hiring and managing employees (and some tips for how to avoid them):

1. Going Too Easy on Candidates

When you need to fill an open position, it can be tempting to hire the first candidate that shows promise. However, it’s important to make sure you fully vet each candidate and choose the right one for the job.

Even if a candidate looks great on paper, try not to go into the interview overly optimistic. It’s okay to be picky. Edwyn Kumar from Hart House Restaurant believes you should approach interviews with a healthy dose of skepticism:

Don’t qualify someone for a job. If you sit down with a candidate, assume you’re not hiring them. You’ll overlook so many things because you’re desperate, or like ‘Oh yeah, they were really great this way,’ and you’ll overlook some big flags. It’s their job to qualify themselves for the position—not yours. You know what the position requires and the qualifications have to be proven to you. So when you switch that around, you’re really relaxed in an interview because you’re not trying to make them win. Once they’re your employee, now you can make them win.”

2. Not Promoting Internally

When it comes to hiring, it’s common for managers to rely on external candidates rather than looking at existing staff. While you may not always have someone qualified for (or interested in) the position, it’s a good idea to consider offering promotions to existing employees before looking elsewhere.

Not only does this motivate your staff and make them feel appreciated, it also means you’ll know what to expect in terms of their skillset and work ethic. You’ll also benefit from the fact that they already know your system, business model, and staff. This means they’ll require less training and less time to get acclimated to your way of doing things.

3. Inadequately Training New Employees

When you hire someone new, you want to give them every opportunity to be successful. Especially if you’re busy or short on staff, it’s easy to skimp on training and simply hope new hires will “learn on the job.”

Not only is this stressful for the new employee—it also puts pressure on your existing staff to help them get acclimated. New employees are investments, and it’s important to dedicate the time, effort, and resources necessary to prepare each new hire for the job.

Here are some tips for making the training process run smoothly:

  • Prepare your existing staff by announcing new hires in advance.
  • Schedule a few hours to go over your menu, expectations, scheduling practices, break rules, and other details with each new hire.
  • Assign an existing staff member to mentor each new hire and require a period of job shadowing.
  • Provide regular feedback and ask new hires to come to you with questions.

4. Failing to Communicate Goals to Staff

Don’t keep your staff in the dark about your big-picture goals. It’s easy to keep your long-term vision for your business separate from the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities that make it run. However, you want your staff to contribute to your restaurant’s success, and they need to have a sense for your long-term goals in order to do that.

Keeping your staff informed ensures they’re all on the same page and everyone is working together to achieve a common goal. It also prepares them for potential promotions when managerial positions open up.

5. Hesitating to Delegate

It’s good to be proactive and aware of all the little things that need to be done. However, trying to do everything yourself and focusing too heavily on the details can leave you overworked and distract you from the bigger picture.

You need to trust your staff and delegate effectively in order to achieve your goals. To do this, you need to identify what tasks and responsibilities need to be delegated, and to whom. Hiring the right employees, training them properly, and sharing your long-term goals with them will help you feel confident in their ability to handle whatever tasks you delegate to them.

 

The best way to avoid making these common mistakes is simply to be aware of them. Always keep your big-picture goals in mind, share them with your employees, and consider them when making important decisions.


How to Create a Quality Employee Training Guide

How to Create a Quality Employee Training Guide

Building a quality team should be a primary goal for your restaurant business. But it's essential to have a comprehensive employee training guide. This will be a key tool in perfecting your the onboarding process. 

A quality training guide is an important part of the onboarding process as its the first step of introducing a new employee to your company. According to go2HR, a survey has shown that a "40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year." When employees aren't performing to their best potential due to a gap in training, the onus lies with the employer and their training process.

Turnover is costly in time and in money. Huffington Post reported on a Human Resources Magazine statistic that “companies investing $1,500 or more per employee per year on training average 24 percent higher profit margins than companies with lower yearly training investments."  This means that not only can the development and implementation of effective training programs save money in terms of employee turnover, but they can actually make a company more profitable in the long run. Quality training guides and programs are an investment in your business.

Below are four key considerations to help create the best employee training program possible.

  1. Define Expectations Clearly

    It is important to define clear expectations in your training program and how they align with your company’s primary purpose. Verbally stating these expectations and goals along with providing a printed guide is also very helpful.

    In addition to the expectations, it is important to define the purpose of training using clear learning objectives. This can be done in the beginning of each training session as a way to help transition from one area of training to another. It is also important to have a clearly defined role identification section. This can help new employees to understand each department and better demonstrate how each works together to create a well-functioning team.

  2. Share Goals

    Employees who feel they are part of a larger mission will thrive much more than ones who do not. Make your company’s mission statement known. Sharing goals by explaining the steps to reach them and how they can work on supporting the mission statement of your business is essential. Along with this, employees like to know what’s going on. Make sure to share ongoing, smaller goals that align with meeting your larger mission statement goals. Be available to your staff for help! Make sure you encourage questions to provide clarification on any or all aspects of your goals.

  3. Encourage Collaboration

    Training guides and programs should include more than what the company is about and what is to expected from an employee. A successful training guide will be inclusive and comprehensive. Cross training and promotion opportunities may not be written in an employee guide but make sure employees know that the opportunities are there. After all, growth is a huge driving factor in employee retention!

    Invite employees to collaborate and meet common goals through cross-training and promotion opportunities. Keeping employees in the loop will provide them with the feeling of being part of something larger. Allow training to be fluid and make it a point to seek help from existing employees for mentorship and training opportunities.

  4. Make Training Accessible and Attainable

    This may seem like a no-brainer, but creating a training program that is accessible, attainable and personable to employees is key. This helps employees to feel valued in the training process and leads to increased longevity as employees feel that success is within their reach. Ensure that there are process guides for each department and active roles. Having these types of guides accessible even after the initial training is important. These guides provide a structure to help keep training and managing consistent. Make training documents easily accessible online and/or in print.

    Training programs may take on many forms in order to meet these goals of accessibility and attainment. There are likely to be educational components with self-assessment markers of success. These could be short quizzes or group discussions at the end of a training session. Certified trainers to help guide employees and meet the different adaptive learning styles of these employees is essential. In addition to educational (either classroom, one-on-one, or online learning style) components, shadowing is another helpful component.

    Pairing new employees with existing employees for shadowing opportunities is most effective if these employees are certified trainers in their areas or have successfully met certain knowledge guidelines. Direct demonstration and hands-on training with supervision are two other ways to incorporate successful training programs. The key is to have a variety of opportunities to invite learning.

 

In short, remember that training never officially ends after a training period. By providing ongoing professional development and training opportunities, employees will continue to be successful long after their initial training phase. Allow for continuous mention of company goals and collaborate with employees on setting and meeting certain goals. Remind them of the mission statement and encourage your team to professionally develop by creating cross-training and promotion opportunities. Creating a great employee training guide and program takes careful consideration and allows for a wonderful return in investment.


How Big Data is Changing the Restaurant Industry

How Big Data is Changing the Restaurant Industry

Around 48.4% of Fortune 1000 companies are achieving “measurable results” from investing in big data and 80.7% of executives described the investments as “successful.”

Big data is extremely large data sets that may be analyzed to uncover patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. In short, it’s a lot of numbers—millions and billions of numbers—that can tell you more about your customers.

But these numbers provide information you can use to improve your restaurant's operations. Big data is changing industries across the world and the restaurant industry isn’t an exception. You can learn things from how your different target audiences really behave to better market and serve them, to the amount you're spending on scheduling, and the factors that play in generating profit.

Big Data is changing the restaurant industry by allowing the opportunity to objectively analyze data and influence business strategy decisions. It allows restaurants to collect information on long-term trends. It helps build a foundation for strategies. Restaurant chains have begun exploring this more in-depth.

With objective insights, big data can help restaurants improve customer service, operational efficiency, and marketing efforts.

Elevating customer service

With more information, you can make better decisions. Customer surveys can provide both quantitative and qualitative data. With feedback, you can easily recognize pragmatic issues in your processes and adjust your practices to better serve your customers.

One company that is leveraging big data in this way is McDonalds. They have been introducing a data-driven culture by using trend-analytics to better understand patterns occurring at the national, regional, and individual store level. Big data insights were leveraged to improve drive-thru and to roll-out their self-serve kiosks at specific locations.

Maximizing operational efficiency

Mass amounts of data are possible at every touchpoint in a restaurant’s business process—for not only customer behavior but also employee management. Payroll and HR involve a lot of data. Information like sales data, employee feedback, and customer surveys can help you better understand where you can improve. For example, with months and months of data on sales patterns, you can analyze when your restaurant is busiest, adjust your scheduled staff, and handle the spike in demand.

Enhancing marketing efforts

Applebee’s invested in big data research, surveying over 5.7 million customers. With their findings, they were able to dispel stereotypes about their customer demographics and rethink their upcoming relaunch of Applebee’s To-Go. After their investment in big data, the revenue went from 9% to 18% in 2017 and optimized the brand’s digital strategy.

In short, big data helps uncover trends. Restaurants can use it to “zoom out” and see the bigger picture of their analytics.

To get access to big data, there are different places you can go. One provider is ToastPOS, a point-of-sales system that streamlines your processes while collecting analytics.

Toast POS is giving restaurants what they want.

Toast POS software is built for restaurants to increase their profitability. They offer mobile tablets and terminals to make ordering easy for customers and processing orders easier for your staff.

But, it also provides big data. Toast POS software stores guest information at every interaction. Servers are able to better engage with their guests, whilst increasing your revenue with upsells. In addition, you’ll have a instant list of customers to send targeted campaigns to and help grow your marketing efforts!


Understanding the Importance of Labor Costs: 3 Tools to Save Money

Understanding the Importance of Labor Costs: 3 Tools to Save Money

Those in the restaurant industry are well aware that labor is one of the highest costs in running a restaurant. However, simply cutting hours is not always the solution in cutting costs. It may seem an easy fix to cut hours but there's possible chance of decreasing morale and inciting job security fears.

But there are other proactive ways to combat labor costs whilst allowing your employees to excel, and for you to save time! The answer here? Technology and automation. Though technology doesn't solve all questions, we think these tools below can help save your restaurant money via decrease your overall labor costs, increase profit margin, and decrease employee turnover.

Employee Onboarding and Training Software

Restaurant managers and owners should invest in quality onboarding and training software to improve employee retention and training processes. When your employees are well-trained with a thorough onboarding process, which can be executed with help from an  effective human resources information system, productivity is likely to increase and turnover is likely to decrease. Engaged employees are happy employees; and happy employees don't quit! Restaurant owners should make the effort to make the onboarding and training process to simple for new hires. The transition will in turn help improve work culture and work to keep morale high. All of these things add to an increase of employee retention and decrease in turnover.

Scheduling Software

Scheduling software is another effective tool that can also help with the understanding and managing of labor costs. Schedule software is not simply used to schedule shifts. You can use this software to overtime optimize employee schedule  based on the date of sales and labor forecasts. You can also use scheduling software effectively by considering factors like food costs. Find out how much it actually costs you to make, prepare, and serve your food and then consider how much you are paying your employees. This way you can also evaluate staff productivity by grouping different positions or sections together for review of this productivity. Scheduling software and other similar tools can help to make sure your labor costs are efficient in these areas. Additionally, by monitoring scheduling and profit (essentially your labor costs) on an ongoing basis, you will be able to make appropriate scheduling changes well in advance and prevent unnecessary costs including meal break times or overtime.

Payroll Software

Tools that help with payroll will also assist in maintaining labor costs and keeping them in line with your restaurant’s growth. It is important to evaluate your compensation plans on a regular basis to ensure you are staying competitive, but also keeping costs relative to your industry and competition. Payroll software can help with automating payroll calculations, keeping track of and managing overtime, and tracking meals and breaks in an effective way. Payroll software will help you stay compliant and pay the appropriate, applicable, and accurate premium like overtime and meal period premiums. This kind of tool may also help you to stay up-to-date with minimum wage increases or changes which allows for planning schedules according to increasing or decreasing revenue.  

 

Understanding labor costs will truly help you run your business more effectively and efficiently. While the human connection factor in all of these processes and tools is important and must not be forgotten, it is a no-brainer to take advantage of these tools. Owners and managers of new (and existing) establishments can work to improve their workflow using these types of tools. Ultimately, it comes down to hiring and keeping quality help, maintaining workflow processes, and keeping up with changes in order to accommodate evolving economies.

 

 


Restaurant Highlight: Hart House's Edwyn Kumar

Nestled in the heart of city is where you’ll find the historic home of Burnaby’s Hart House.

Fresh off their 30th Year anniversary, Hart House has been described as an idyllic, charming and inviting restaurant – and those characteristics don’t come without merit.

Hart House offers diners a nostalgic aura of fine dining without the air of pretentiousness. As the sole dining establishment in Metro Vancouver offering lakeside dining, Hart House is also one of the few award-winning restaurants that also doubles as a wedding venue.

Offering impeccable service and refined Pacific Northwest cuisine from the hands of Executive Chef Mike Genest, Hart House is the epitome of casual elegance in the current fine dining environment.

And this is heavily from the influence of Operations Manager Edwyn Kumar.

In efforts to get to better familiarize ourselves with our users, we reached out to our clients to learn more about them, and highlight their industry knowledge. And the very first official visitor to our new office came in the form of Mr. Edwyn Kumar!

Dressed head to toe in his motorcycle riding gear and his motorcycle helmet in hand, Edwyn appeared to be the embodiment of the flexibility of the restaurant industry. The former General Manager and now the Operations Manager of Hart House, Edwyn has called Hart House home for almost a decade.

His calm, cool, and collected demeanor is reflected in his operational role at the restaurant and guest experience, often unknowingly. With each step into the dining room, from the dress code to the plates that touch tables to the cheque experience, Edwyn has placed thorough practices that his team happily executes throughout their shifts.

These attributes stem from his own experience. Starting his career in the restaurant industry at age 19, Edwyn has held management positions in award winning restaurants like Chambar, Cin Cin, and Lumière. As a veteran of Vancouver’s industry for the last 25 years, we sat down with Edwyn to discuss everything from restaurant management, guest experience and social media.

  1. Can you tell us about your history in the industry and how you got started?

    I’ve been in restaurants in Vancouver since about ‘93. I started out with hotels and then moved into independent restaurants in early 2000s. I got into the management and leadership side pretty quickly because I liked the coaching and developing side of it.All the operational things kind of came about as necessary, as you’re always going through transitions and things like that. I had a goal early on in my career to tap into what all the successful restaurateurs were doing around the city and see how each of them independently ran each of their businesses. I used this as my own form of university and all of them have a different approach to ultimately achieve the same goal.You take the parts [of different operations] that you like, leave the parts out that you don’t and figure out what focuses work for you. That how I’ve always kind of approached management.

    I like to have my hands in lot of areas. Whether it’s wine development, logistics, operations, plus whatever else happens to be needed; I approach it from the perspective of ownership. That gives you a slightly more entrepreneurial mind even when it comes to an established place like Hart House.

  2. We’ve noted that you had a long tenure at Hart House as their GM and then moved to Chambar and then back to Hart House. Can you tell us a little bit about why you made the transitions?

    I had a great time at Hart House and Chambar was like the last check mark on my roster. I’d known the ownership for a number of years and when they had expanded to the new larger space they reached out and were looking to implement some systems and operational updates because they were running it like a small restaurant in a big space. So that was a big draw for me to go over there, to implement systems.I spent just shy of two years over there and then had a chance to go back to Hart House in a new operational position, which was great because I was able to run everything with a smaller team again.

    Life at Chambar definitely turned into singular focus whereas I found more of a holistic approach to life at Hart House. Even though I have more encompassing responsibility now, the breadth is wider, and so is the authority. Whereas at Chambar it was about leading somewhat autonomous teams with very specific tasks. For example: you have your bar team, your somm[elier] team, etc.

    At Hart House I have more of an “everyone wears multiple hats” kind of team. I still have my management team, my culinary team, my sales team, and that sort of thing but there’s a lot more crossover of roles.

  3. Just touching on the point of working from a team…you have different heads of each department. So with working with a management team, how do you balance working with people who have different personalities or skill-sets?

    There are various things, but number one is communicating visions and values for sure. If everyone understands what the underlying principles are behind what you’re trying to achieve then it’s simple and easy to manage.From that perspective, [communication] is a definite go to. Applying key strengths is a huge factor. So, giving and delegating tasks to those who are good at it generally creates productivity. They’re able to advance skill-sets.Ideally when they get to the point where they can teach what they’ve learned, they can start transferring that knowledge to other people who are looking to develop skills in their own repertoire.

    I do use some behavioural assessments also. I’ve got certification with Thomas International for DiSC assessments. It’s not a personality test. It’s basically [understanding] how people tend to be given certain inputs and applying that knowledge to ensure understanding within the team.

    If you’re doing conflict resolution, you’re able to go “OK, you’re just looking at the same thing from different sides” or even [looking at] slightly different perspectives perhaps and applying those effectively.

    [DiSC] is a bit more objective. I find that dealing with the soft skills part of people’s character is sometimes the most challenging from a managerial perspective. With DiSC you can objectify it. You can remove the person from the situation and go “OK well this is an archetype tendency in that situation.” You can help the team member override a bias in thinking with cognitive thought as opposed to old habits.

  4. How do you a create a well-oiled management team?

    Put people in the place where they’re going to do their best and then challenge them a little bit.If anyone starts getting complacent or bored or apathetic, [you can] find creative ways to generate new projects for them to latch onto.My restaurant manager right now is working on getting his next level of wine development. My lunch manager is now doing a bunch of logistics when it comes to the sales admin. She’s doing all the back-end stuff that’s required, and excelling at it. Everything from confirmations, to menu layouts, to closing communication loops … the little things that get lost in busy days. And she loves that!

    Whereas personally I hate maintaining the repetitive systems, I like creating them. If I have to do something repetitive, it drives me crazy.The tasks and projects can’t be too easy, because then it’ll be too boring and potentially develop apathy. And it can’t be too hard otherwise it creates frustration. It’s got to be at the right challenge point for the individual. Around 80 to 88 percent of someone’s skill set is normally where they work the best (most productive). Throwing them in that type of environment is great.

    Do you ever have those days where it’s way too quiet and no one ever gets anything done? But if your work load is stacked too high, no one wants to do anything either because now they’re like “Ugh, too much.” With the right amount of challenge and tasks, they can pump it out and get it done. It’s tricky, and you’re always moving pieces around to ensure the work gets done and people feel challenged yet rewarded with their work.

  5. What do you consider one of the most difficult aspects in managing a team?

    In my experience from all the restaurants over the years, if it had to be one thing, it would be ego. Ego gets in the way. “Ego is the enemy”, as the book says. Trying to figure out how to get someone to grow past that is tough. It’s generally a defence mechanism I find, against turning a corner and growing.Ego can be a wall for people to understand and empathize with other perspectives. I’m still figuring out how to navigate oversized egos. Thankfully the culture at Hart House doesn’t have that at the top managers in the forefront, so it minimizes it across the board.

  6. You’ve mentioned how your strategy sees it as a defence mechanism. Do you have an example of a time that that’s worked well for you?

    I think you have to put it back on the person and ask them “what’s the challenge? “. It almost becomes therapy [laughs]. They have to make the break through. If they’re not ready, then it’s an uphill battle for sure.Either you remove them from that project or area of responsibility or they make a breakthrough where they’re like “Oh OK, I get it.” Because people come in with different backgrounds and outlooks and life philosophies.

    For example: often times when you promote someone from a junior position to some sort of added authority, sometimes they may think they have to take on a different persona, to act different than they have been succeeding at naturally. You have to remove them from that and go “Hey, where did you learn that?” You don’t need to put on the lab coat all of a sudden – be yourself a little! Remove those preconceptions and biases that they have of what they think the role is.

  7. If you had to describe the characteristics every good GM has in three words, what would they be?

    Communication definitely. Being able not only to share the vision but to receive information from everyone around. That ties in with the second one…

    Clarity. The less obfuscated you can make your operations, the better. I know a lot of business leaders who like to withhold information and I’m not that person. I would rather everyone know exactly what was going on, all the time. Share information clearly.

    Accountability is the third one. When you have accountability and you tie that in with responsibility and authority then you’ve got a good working team. If you’ve only got two out of three of any of those pillars (accountability, responsibility and authority), then you’ve got a major problem. Because someone with a lot of authority and a lot of responsibility and zero accountability is a disaster. That’s something that I talk about with my team all the time.

  8. In a role of a manager, do you think soft skills are more important or technical skills? How do you place value on them?

    Soft skills have to be there. As far as their underlying soft skills, you have to vet for that pretty hard during recruiting. You have to communicate that as much as possible daily. I actually have a list up on our staff board about the soft skills that we value at the restaurant because people can work on that themselves.For soft skills, you need to have enough on the scale. Perhaps 70% or 80% of the values you want from a person must already be there.

    There has to be the hope of those values being there.Hard skills can be taught. I’d rather have someone who is super green yet driven, has an initiative based attitude, and has some willpower and willingness to grow with humble qualities about the way they go about doing it versus someone who’s like “I know everything. Hire me!

  9. If you could describe Hart House in one word, what would it be?

    I read this question and I was like, this is such a hard question! It’s a really hard question because one word can send the entire message.From a guest’s perspective I’d say welcoming, which is probably the biggest one. I think that if people feel welcomed, that addresses 80% of hospitality.

    Then, take care of your details of the business so the guest doesn’t have to worry about it.

    We’re the only lakeside dining in the city and it feels like you’ve really gone away while being in the heart of the city. I try to take the idea of being stuffy away. That whole fine dining thing kind of washed out late 2007/2008.

    We make adjustments on how our service procedures are operating and remove some of the unnecessary layers – like crumbing the table for example. We use tablecloths but I hate crumbing the table because it sends the wrong message. Technically it’s a service step but the second someone pulls out a crumber, you’re like “This is not relaxed!” So I decided no more crumbers! It’s a small example of removing or adapting a service step (one of many) that has a big impact on the theme we’re trying to communicate.

  10. Were these changes just by observing the guest behaviour and making those judgement calls?

    Yeah… for example there was a period of time where a lot of guests were calling about a dress code. The second people have to start asking about a dress code, there’s a problem.It means there’s uncertainty. If people are accustomed to showing up dressed to the nines, they wouldn’t ask about the dress code. Sending that as your message in the restaurant is fine if that’s easily understood.

    But the second people start to ask, we say “OK, let’s just remove the dress code.” People still call once in a while, so you know what, as long as you’re dressed [laughs].In the summertime, for those wanting to sit on the patio, it’s fine to come in with shorts and flip flops and have a glass of rose and a charcuterie board – knock yourself out! That sounds great to me.I’ve been in fine dining my whole life and I hate going to a strictly enforced dress code restaurant. I hate it – it’s stupid. I was in New York with my eldest son and I didn’t have a jacket. I was like “Oh I can’t go here.” It’s dumb – I wasn’t going to fly back home or buy a jacket, it wasn’t going to happen [laughs].

  11. How do you ensure that new and returning guests receive quality service and consistent food?

    You have to get honest internal reporting. The managers have to be in tune with what’s going on with the tables and servers have to communicate to the managers. If there’s anything wrong at a table, the server has to tell the manager.The server shouldn’t feel like they’re going to get reprimanded either. Don’t shoot the messenger. That’s another cultural thing. Even if they made the mistake, I don’t want to be blindsided. If we get a negative review, I want to know that is was table x on this particular night. There should be no question. The second you get a blindside, that’s not good.

    Thank the server for keeping you in the loop. Thank the managers for good internal reporting and informative shift logs, even if mistakes were made.Internal communication has to be tight. If guests are aloof and dismissive, the server has to go to the manager and explain “Hey, I did a quality check and this is what I got.” The managers can then help clear the table or they can swing by and top up a glass of wine and try to politely dig for more. Because the guest may tell the manager [if there’s anything wrong] and not the server. Guests have to live with the server for two hours whereas the manager may feel safer to talk to.90% of the time where I get negative feedback, I’m like “OK, I’m familiar with this. This is what happened.”

    Even when I’m not there, our shift logs are very clear. We know exactly what’s going on.And that same culture in the kitchen has to be present too. If there’s a specific dish in the kitchen that’s being under attack or getting consistent critical feedback– change it. There’s no point in providing something to a guest that they don’t want.

  1. Hart House is one of the few dining establishments in Greater Vancouver area that doubles as wedding venues. On top of our minds, we only came up with Hart House and Brix and Mortar. If one of your peers in the restaurant industry decides to venture into the wedding/restaurant business, what are are some things they should consider?

    You may have had initial contact two years out with that guest who wants to get married, so you have to ensure that you are going to deliver on a promise you made two years back.Oh, and get an exceptional Sales Manager [laughs] because the relationship you build with someone in a wedding is over an extended period of time. And you have to pay them well – a sales manager is key. Don’t go cheap. I’ve witnessed so many restaurants go super cheap on the salary or pay structure of a sales manager – worst idea, don’t do that. That’s a huge one. Sonja’s been with us for a very long time [laughs].You can’t be switching from person A to person B to person C and so forth. [Clients] aren’t going to want to do that.

    Understanding what you can and what you can’t do is also really important.

    There are some things that you just can’t do and there are a bunch of things that you can do, and then stuff you can do with perfection. Ensure that you’re offering the product that you’re promising. Don’t fluff it up. Put up real pictures of real weddings that happen at your real place. I see a lot of online marketing where it’s like “that’s not even there!”

    Be realistic with the adaptations that you have to make with your food program. Because you can’t have twelve step plates for a 200 person wedding. Many places will do that because they’ll cook a manageable amount of plates at one time in the dining room. And then suddenly you book a wedding, and how do you do that plate for so many guests? If each plate is taking you a minute and forty-five seconds to plate, do you really want to do 200 of those?

    If you figure out the math, it’s either going to work or not. You should have the operations logistics really dialed. The number of seconds – you’ve got to stop-watch that. If a plate is 20 seconds over par, it’s not going to work.

  1. You’ve recently celebrated Hart House’s 30th year of opening this year. Can you tell us a bit 1-3 things about how you guys are so successful considering 1. you’re not in Vancouver, 2. you’re by a lake and 3. you guys double as a wedding venue …  what’s the secret to success?

    Relationships. Relationships with our suppliers, relationships with our regular clientele, relationships with third party businesses (like your team at Push!). Figuring out who the people are behind the logos is important.Evolving but staying true to your brand is vital. The demographics are shifting for us. We’ve got a lot of younger diners moving to Burnaby and New Westminster. There are way more condos; a whole series of condos and townhouses opened up both by Metrotown and Brentwood; and New Westminster waterfront has blown up with development and it’s only 7 km away.

    Understanding what’s going on from that perspective is big factor.Another example is when there is a shift, like what had happened before the recession fully hit in 2009 where all the head offices were moving back east . . . everyone was either going to Alberta or back to Ontario and local offices were downsizing. But many maintained the smaller remote offices, so adapting with menus and business budget needs is important. While doing all that, don’t lose sight of what your strength is and what makes your brand; as the verbiage use to communicate about your business can have a huge impact on the way people perceive it.

  1. Just based on our conversation it seems like you seem to have your operations down pat. You manage your team and you have all these things in place and you set them up for success. But what are some challenges that you run into in your day to day operations?

    Wild cards and the unexpected. Perhaps you’ll have someone who punches in an order correctly on large events, transfers, deposits, and all that stuff correctly ten or twenty times and then one time they just don’t. It’s a blip, but you just kind of roll with it!Recruiting has been an ongoing issue with hospitality for a while. Costs are going up, wages are going up, scaling is going up …so trying to figure out how to make all that work is challenging.Having a really strong onboarding system is also really important.

    Don’t qualify someone for a job.

    If you sit down with a candidate, just assume you’re not hiring them. If you decide you want to hire them before the interview even starts, then you’ll overlook so many things because you’re desperate, or you’re like” Oh yeah they were really great this way” and you’ll overlook some important flags.

    It’s the candidate’s goal to qualify themselves for the position – not yours. You know what the position requires and the qualifications have to be proven to you. If you’re relaxed in an interview that’s best, as you’re not trying to make them win the position. Once they’re your employee, then you can make them win, and that’s one the primary goals once they hired.

    But before that point? Oh, you have typos in your resume? You’re not hired [laughs].

    Onboarding is important because you’ve got to protect the team that you’ve already worked hard for. The second you start making compromises, the existing team won’t believe in you, or have the trust and the faith in what’s going on with your operation. It plants the unwanted idea of “I’m working hard but you’re hiring a bunch of people who are not holding up their end of the bargain.” So again, it comes back to people. Protect your team and bring in people who add value, not detract from it.

  1. What is the most important metric you follow in running a successful restaurant concept? (labour/sales reports, labour costs, inventory metrics, etc) and why?

    I look at two primary things, as far as whether we’re doing well or not. One is contribution of sales; so how much of each category is contributing to every dollar spent.My events department, including weddings, will have different metrics than the dining room. A big wedding will tend to have higher alcohol sales for example. If my margins are correct, then I can try to push specific areas through added training and focus.

    For example: food has high labor because you have to have cooks and chefs and all that other stuff to deliver that product, and then you have waste and spoilage etc. Watch those numbers tightly.If I know where to shift things around properly through good sales mix assessment, then I’m good.

  1. In terms of managing a successful business, do you have any advice for aspiring hospitality professionals? What are some key traits they should have?

    It sounds cliché but you have to have a good balance in your group. Not everyone can be the innovator, not everyone can be the maintainer, not everyone can be the person who adds stability.

    Trying to be all things at the same time is a recipe for disaster

    Find the right people to do various things so your team is balanced. That’s a key component of generating a solid team, because then everyone is able to contribute without a lot of internal tension. It’s important to allow someone to exercise the thing they’re good at and not create unwanted competition within the team.

    I would say creating team balance and dynamics is huge and again it comes from understanding what they’re good at.

  2. What’s the most rewarding part of the hospitality business?

    I think it comes down to what an individual’s personal interests are and what they value about the business.Find out if people are interested in wine service, or if they really interested in the relationships that are developed with our regulars.

    For example, one of our longstanding servers knows all of the regulars by name. It’s incredible, he’s like an encyclopedic trap and he’s always a great go to. Meanwhile another server is in his final stages of the WSET wine diploma. Find your sub passion within the job.

    The industry is dynamic. It’s never stagnant.

    We’re not in a high margin business where you can be frivolous. You’re always figuring it out and tweaking and understanding how to find the best solution in those situations. Restaurants are a luxury.Being able to be in an industry that touches a lot of people’s lives is very fulfilling. Both as an employee and an employer. You might come across someone who you served back in 1998 and they remember you because of something that you did and you have an immediate connection. And maybe you’ll see them at a different location 20 years from now … for me that’s definitely rewarding.

  1. You have mentioned that you’ve been in the industry for 25 years. What major differences have you noticed in the industry from when you first started, to now? Has anything changed or have things remained the same?

    Things have changed a lot. Internally, the kitchen is no longer a massively hostile environment. It’s a bit more collaborative and there’s more camaraderie in there. It’s almost attracted more outdoorsy type people in their approach…cooks who like hiking or surfing but they’re working kitchens. It’s no longer military brigade style. That’s a big change. There’s a lot of laughter in our kitchen, something unheard of in kitchens of old.I remember when I first started serving, I dropped a porcelain spoon and it broke. I was younger. The Chef walked over to me and glared at me, pointed at my face and said, “Don’t break my f*cking spoons” and it’s like, woah, intense … [laughs].

    There was a lot of fear based leadership in the old days and that’s out the window now which is good.

    Front of house managers are also way more in tune with their staff and what’s going on. That heavy authoritative hand is no longer there. You’re just not going to keep anyone with that style of management.

    From the clientele perspective, you’re getting immediate feedback. You’ve got to be really consistent with what you’re putting out. You can have a Google review within thirty seconds of giving a guest a cheque. That just never happened before – it was always about the printed reviews. Now there’s a million different people who all technically have complete input and influence that can affect your business immediately. Not sure how I feel about that [laughs].

    I’ll give you an funny example: there’s a blog out there that’s been out for four years. It falsely says we do buck-a-shuck oysters. We don’t do buck-a-shuck oysters. But I still get calls every week. If you’re reading this, please don’t call me to ask if we do buck-a-shuck oysters! We just don’t. That blog will live there forever. Oh dear. If you don’t see it on our website, then it’s probably not true [laughs]

    Social media, online reviews and a more informed diner are all part of the restaurant landscape, and majority of it is positive. It keeps us all on our toes at the very least.


Developing a Restaurant Concept: 3 Must Have Tips

Developing a Restaurant Concept: 3 Must Have Tips

Developing a Restaurant Concept: 3 Must Have Tips

Choosing a concept is one of the most important steps of opening a restaurant. Your concept is your overall idea. It’s what defines your brand and the unique experience you’ll offer your customers.

There’s a lot to think about when starting a business. A well-developed concept plan will provide you with a complete vision of your establishment and can help guide you in decision making.

Here are 3 things to consider as you develop your restaurant concept:

1. Choose a concept that fits your personality

First and foremost, you should develop a concept you’re passionate about, and one you want to put your valuable time, effort, and money into. Start by thinking about your reasons for opening a restaurant.

For example, are you great with people? Do you enjoy meeting new people and making connections? Consider choosing a concept that allows you to interact with customers directly on a day-to-day basis. Are you more interested in developing new dishes and focusing on food preparation and presentation? If so, you might be well suited to a more operational concept, like a catering service, bakery, or deli.

Whatever concept you decide on, you’ll be dedicating a lot of time and energy working on transforming your vision into a real, functioning establishment. Think about what inspires you. It’s also important to consider your unique skills, experiences, interests, cultural background, and preferences when choosing a concept.

2. Remember, you’ll be selling an experiencenot just food

Your menu is a very important aspect of your overall concept, but it’s not the only aspect. Your concept reflects your restaurant’s theme and identity. You’re not only serving delicious dishes to customers—you’re also providing them with a unique experience, and every detail is important.

How your food tastes is important, but you also want to consider the other senses in order to provide a complete sensory experience for your patrons. Other things to think about when choosing a concept include:

  • Your restaurant’s name
  • Menu design and descriptions of dishes
  • Style of service (e.g. fine dining, bistro, family style, buffet, food truck, etc.)
  • Decor and overall ambiance
  • Background music
  • Floor plan, number of tables, and location

By nature, restaurants revolve around food, so it’s important to consider how these other elements complement your menu. You want every detail to serve you larger vision. For example, traditional Italian food works great with family style dining and a relaxed ambiance. If you plan to serve multiple courses and fine wines to patrons, you’ll want to consider fine dining service, fewer tables, and high-end decor to complement your menu.

3. Build a strong team to complement your skills

Once you’ve decided on a concept, it’s time to make your vision a reality. Think about what you bring to the table as well as what you don’t. Understanding your weaknesses, or where you have gaps in your knowledge, experience, and skillset can help you fill these gaps with partners and staff you can work well with.

For example, if you’re a chef with years of experience developing unique recipes and organizing kitchen staff, but you’ve never owned or operated a business before, you may benefit from choosing a business partner with financial and marketing experience. If you’re business savvy and know how to generate buzz, but you’ve never worked in a restaurant, you’ll likely need to hire people who know the ins and outs of running a kitchen and developing a menu.

There’s a lot to think about when opening a restaurant. Taking the necessary time to carefully consider your overall concept and establish a comprehensive vision for your menu, space, and ambiance can help keep you on track as you work on the finer details.

By choosing a concept that fits your personality, provides a complete experience to customers, and allows your delicious food to shine, your vision can become a reality.


Restaurant Marketing: Grand Opening Checklist to Create Buzz

Restaurant Marketing: Grand Opening Checklist to Create Buzz

Restaurant Marketing: Grand Opening Checklist to Create Buzz

There’s a lot to do and think about leading up to your restaurant’s grand opening. You want to make sure people show up, enjoy the event, and spread the word to their friends and family.

Thinking ahead, making detailed plans, and collaborating with the right people in your local community can help keep you on track and ensure your grand opening makes a splash.

Here are a few important steps to take when planning your grand opening:

Launch a social media campaign

Creating accounts on popular social networking sites is one of the best ways to generate buzz ahead of your grand opening. Setting up Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for your restaurant allows you to reach more people and start building your brand before you’ve even opened your doors.

Here are a few tips to build your social media following and encourage people to attend your grand opening:

  • Create a custom hashtag to include in all your posts
  • Start geotagging your location in order to help people find you
  • Post your menu and link to your website
  • Create a Facebook event for your grand opening
  • Share photos of menu items and/or drink specials
  • Make sure all your posts are public and shareable

Establish a marketing budget and timeline

Your grand opening is a big dealit’s your first chance to connect with your customers and the local community. It’s important to develop a detailed budget and timeline leading up to your grand opening.

Fit Small Business recommends spending 20% of your marketing budget for the first year on your grand opening. You want to spend enough to make sure it’s a success, but not so much that you don’t have sufficient funds to market for the rest of the year. Once you’ve had your grand opening, you’ll have a better idea of how to market to your target customer and fine-tune your brand.

Invite local influencers

One of the best ways to spread the word about your grand opening is to connect with local influencers who have a following and are trusted in the community. Social media influencers and food and lifestyle bloggers are a great place to start. One post or hashtag from the right influencer can help you reach your target customers.

Also consider inviting figureheads in your local community, such as politicians, news anchors, local bloggers, or police and fire chiefs. Their presence will help your grand opening feel like a community event.

Begin with a soft opening

Hosting a soft opening before the big event is a great way to get feedback from your attendees and give you and your staff valuable practice. Depending on your budget and timeline, you may even choose to host more than one event.

There are a variety of ways to host a soft opening, including:

  • Organizing a “Friends and Family” night
  • Partnering with a charity and hosting a fundraiser
  • Simply opening your doors for a specified amount of time without any advertising

Be sure to communicate what your soft opening entails so your guests know what to expect.

Partner with a local business

Consider partnering with a local food magazine or drink vendor. For example, you might create a dinner special paired with a local beer from your favorite brewery or partner with a newspaper to create a giveaway or raffle.

Collaborating with other businesses for your grand opening is a great way to network and introduce your brand to more people. It also gives the event a friendly, community feel.

Your grand opening is your chance to make a first impression. You want people to have fun, enjoy the food, spread the word, and, most importantly, want to come back. Establishing a presence on social media, involving the community, and carefully planning and budgeting your marketing efforts will help make your grand opening a success.


California Restaurant Labor Laws: A Step-By-Step Guide (2018)

California Restaurant Labor Laws: A Step-By-Step Guide (2019)

Everything you need to know about California labor laws and how to optimize your labor costs by staying compliant.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Labor and Lawsuits
    3. Payroll: Tip Sharing
    4. Mileage Reimbursement
    5. Split Shifts
    6. Overtime
    7. Clock Edits
    8. Breaks: Meal and Rest
    9. How to Succeed: What Tools You Should Have in Place
    10. Conclusion


Introduction

In comparison to other states and federal labor laws, California labor laws are complex and are highly in an employee’s favor. However, this doesn’t mean that every restaurant employer should be bending at their will to their employees’ demands. Rather, it’s about educating yourself and your management team with the best up-to-date practices of California labor laws and treating employees fairly. Trust goes a long way in a relationship based industry like restaurants. Much like how guests expect the same consistent service with every return visit, employees expect equality and fairness from their employers.

If you’re looking to open a business in the hospitality industry, we’ve gone ahead and compiled all the need-to-know facts about labor compliance! 

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Labor and Lawsuits

In 2016 alone, 469 out of 470 restaurant inspections done by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) were issued citations. The restaurant industry alone was the industry with the second highest penalty assessed ($5,200,947.90) and collected ($1,344,852.50). The highest ranking industry for penalties was “Other” which included various other industries that did not fall in any other specified in the 2016 Fiscal Year Report on the Effectiveness of The Bureau of Field Enforcement. What this means? 99% of restaurants that were inspected faced a penalty that related to wage theft.

Some of these investigations even spurred lawsuits. In more recent news, in June 2018, seven restaurants were fined a total of $10 million for wage theft violations that included failure to pay minimum wage, overtime and split shift premiums.

In October 2018, four restaurants were subject to 1 million dollars in fines for wage theft violations that include: minimum and overtime wages, liquidated damages, waiting time penalties and meal and rest period premiums. Workers at this restaurant were being paid far less than minimum wage and would regularly work 10 hours a day with no meal or rest periods.

Even global chains like Chipotle are subject to class action wage theft lawsuits. And in some cases, these lawsuits can affect how all California restaurants operate.

Labor violations are easy to fall into especially if you’re unsure. In the case where a employee feels that they’ve been underpaid; or if an employment lawyer approaches a group of unhappy employees; or if the employee contract was simply unclear, the menace of a class action lawsuit is significantly likely to happen. Long story short: no matter the circumstance, intentional or accidental, class action lawsuits are costly and can be easily avoided with the knowledge of California labor laws.

The first step of solving a problem is acknowledging it exists. When it comes to restaurant labor compliance, the “ fly by the seat of your pants” mentality won’t work. Backtracking and making adjustments on future pay dates or future schedules isn’t the best method in fixing recurring problems.

Now that we’ve established why understanding California labor laws is crucial, here are 6 areas of employee labor laws that you should be conscious of when operating a restaurant:


Payroll: Tip Sharing

In the state of California, every employee is required to paid minimum wage. Though federal laws and other states allow tipped minimums, the state of California does not. In an employee favorable state like California, any employer who employs 26 or more employees has to pay each of their employee no less than twelve dollars ($12.00) per hour for all hours worked (2019). Employers who employ 25 or fewer employees, have to pay to each of their employees no less than eleven dollars ($11.00) per hour for all hours worked (2019). Therefore, tips are paid on top of an employee’s minimum wage.

Understanding the Rules

The first step of compliant tip sharing practices, is establishing tip pool rules. Any gratuity left by a guest, customer and patron are the sole property of an employee or the employee who the tip was left for. Employees are not liable to pay for credit card processing fees and under no circumstance can an employer deduct the fee amount from an employee. Employers are solely responsible for processing charges.

Generally, if a business charges a service fee for a large reservation, that amount is not qualified as a gratuity. However in local jurisdictions like Santa Monica, the service does qualify as gratuity. This is where is gets complicated.

Tips vs. Regular Wages

Under Federal law, service charges and tips are taxed differently. Any portions of a service charges given to employees are qualified as regular wages and must be taxed the same.

For example:

  • Restaurant A is hosting a restaurant buy-out for the evening. They have charged a 18% service charge on a $20,000 bill where 10 employees worked the event. Nowhere in the agreement form does the agreement between the restaurant and the renter is the service charge is explained.

    The employer will be taking 12% of the service charge from the total bill to split among their employees in the tip pool and keep the remaining 6%.

    To do the math:
  • $20,000 x 18% = $3600 total service charge
  • $20,000 x 12% = $2400 employee portion of service charge
  • $20,000 x 6% = $1200 employer portion of service charge
  • $2400 / 10 = $240 per employee who worked the event
  • The $240 will be considered regular wages – not gratuity.

All tips (cash or non-cash) are taxed in a different way therefore they must be properly allocated. Tip amounts are not included in overtime calculations and employers are required to keep accurate records of all tips and provide every employee with a tip report (if requested).

Tip Eligibility

When establishing tip pools, the second step is see which employees qualify as tip-eligible. According to California’s Labor Code Section 351, “no employer or agent shall collect, take, or receive any gratuity or a part thereof that is paid, given to, or left for an employee by a patron…”

Prior, only employees who directly dealt with customers were allowed to be in a tip pool.

However as of March 2018, any employees paid minimum wage are eligible to be in a tip pool. This includes kitchen staff whereas prior only wait staff or employees who interacted with guests were allowed to participate in tip pools.

Generally, management personnel are not tip eligible and they are qualified as “agents.’ In this case, agents are defined as “every person other than the employer having the authority to hire or discharge any employee or supervise, direct, or control the acts of employees;” and employers are defined as “every person engaged in any business or enterprise…that has one or more persons in service under any appointment, contract of hire…expressed or implied, oral or written, irrespective of whether the person is the owner of the business…”

Establishing Tip Pools

There are no written rules on how much should be distributed to each employee. However the distributions must be fair. A court case regarding tip pools reached a conclusion where “a mandatory tip pool should only be sustained under Labor Code, section 351 when it works a fair and equitable distribution among the employees who participate in the tip pool.” In short, front of house employees should have a larger portion of a tip pool as they spend a larger amount of time directly interacting with guests, in comparison to back of house employees.

Tip pooling practices must be fair, in regards to distribution and equality. If they aren’t, they not only violate the Labor Code, but they are also no different than withholding employee pay.

Generally management personnel are not allowed in tip pools. However courts have ruled in the favor of managers that perform the same work as employees 90% of the time. In this specific case, tips were collected by a general tip jar. If an employer fails to comply to the tip sharing rules, they are subject to a fine of up to $1000 and/or imprisonment of 60 days. This is on top of any funds that they may have to pay an employee if it is brought to court.


Mileage Reimbursement

As per California’s Labor Code Section 2802, employers must reimburse their staff for all reasonable expenses that incur while on duty. This can range from delivery driving expenses (gas and wear-and-tear of a vehicle) to picking up an item for your business. Anything that requires an employee to use their personal vehicles other than their normal commuting is required to be reimbursed. And failing to pay these expenses is an easy path to a class action lawsuit.

Federal vs State

For every mile of business travel driven, the current federal reimbursement rate for mileage is 54.5 cents . This has been calculated by the IRS based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a automobile. Under the Federal law, mileage reimbursement is not required. But in an employee friendly state like California, employers must reimburse employees for all reasonable time spent driving outside of their commute to and from their workplace. In the hospitality industry, the most notable reimbursement is mileage, specifically for delivery drivers.

Importance of Policies

It’s crucial to note that 54.5 cents is the minimum rate for reimbursements federally. Under California law, there is no minimum but in the case of a class action lawsuit, an employee can argue that they are being under compensated, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In this case the importance of a policy here is important. It’s crucial to provide a policy in which employees and employers are under the mutual understanding of an agreement. This should always be in the best interest of the employee and to protect the employer.

If you are a multi-state business with locations in California, it would be a smart and proactive choice to implement a mileage reimbursement policy for all your locations. This will be a competitive advantage for an industry that has high employee turnover; and it’ll eliminate the risk for class action lawsuits due to being non-compliant.

To put it into perspective, here’s an example of when mileage reimbursement is due:

Scenario A:
Joe is a delivery driver. He has signed an agreement for a 80.4 cent mileage reimbursement for his vehicle’s wear and tear, gas, and mileage. On a day’s shift, he has driven 44.7 miles that does not include his commute to and from work. However, included in his day’s mileage, is a 2 mile trip to and from his home as he had forgotten his credit card. In this case, his employer only owes him a 42.7 mile reimbursement as the trip to and from his home was not work related.

To calculate his reimbursement:

  • 42.7 miles x $0.804 = $34.33 in mileage reimbursement

Scenario B:

Joe is a delivery driver. He has signed an agreement for a 80.4 cent mileage reimbursement for his vehicle’s wear and tear, gas, and mileage. In a day’s shift he has driven 44.7 miles. Included in his mileage, is a 2 mile trip to and from his home outside of his normal commute to and from work. Earlier in his shift, his co-worker had forgotten to bring his hat, which is a part of his uniform. Joe has an extra hat at home and his manager asks Joe to go home to get it. In this case, the reimbursement will also include the additional 2 miles as the trip to and from his home was work related.

To calculate his reimbursement:

  • 44.7 miles x $0.804 = $35.94 in mileage reimbursement

A cost effective solution to mileage reimbursement could be leasing a vehicle for your employees’ work duties like deliveries, if you’re paying more than the federal minimum.

Here’s a quick run down:

  • Vehicle Price: $18,000 2019 Kia Forte
  • Monthly Lease: $250/month
  • Insurance: $150/month
  • Repairs: $50 (estimated)
  • Gas:  25 miles per gallon @ $4 per gallon = $0.20/mile

The break even point is:

  • ($250 + $150 + $50 as a fixed cost) + the variable cost of $0.20/mile = $0.60/mile the established reimbursement rate to break even
  • 1125 Miles = the break even point
  • If an employee drives less than 1125 miles/month, then the reimbursement is more cost effective than leasing a car
  • However if an employee drives more than 1125 miles/month, leasing a vehicle is more cost effective than offering a mileage reimbursement.

In conclusion, if your delivery driver drives more than 1125 miles per month, and you are paying a mileage reimbursement of more than $0.60 per mile, it would be a more cost effective idea to lease a vehicle for them to use. However, based on the parameters above, any less than 1125 miles per month would equate to more than $0.60 per mile in cost.

Be Prepared

In short, to cover your interests as an employer, look into implementing a fair and understandable reimbursement policy to provide employees with the best benefits. Not only will this proactive step protect your employee’s rights, but it will also strengthen your goal of being compliant.


Split Shifts

When scheduling the same employee for two different shifts within the same day, there are more liabilities and payroll penalties that an restaurant owner can be subject to; especially if they aren’t careful.

In every fully operating restaurant, there are generally 3 busy times, which correspond to meal times: breakfast, lunch and dinner rushes. But when these periods slow down, this also means that a restaurant is generating low sales. If there are low sales, this means that labor budgets will also be lowered as well. This is where split shifts come into place. To cover labor costs, restaurant owners will generally schedule one employee for two shifts. However, California labor laws don’t make this easy.

Now What Qualifies a Split Shift?

If an employer wishes to schedule an employee for two shifts within one work day, the shifts must obey the following rules as per the The Industrial Welfare Commission:

  1. The time between the two scheduled shift must be longer than a meal period (30 mins min.)
  2. The two shifts must be on the same work day.
  3. The period between the two shifts may not be qualified as a meal or rest period. If an employee requests a break for their own convenience, this is not qualified as a proper wait period.

An example of a properly scheduled split shift would be:

  • First shift: 11am – 3pm
  • Second shift: 6pm -10pm

The shifts scheduled should obey the rules of split shift as explained below:

  1. They are on the same work day
  2. There’s a long enough break between the two shifts
  3. A break was not requested on behalf of the employee

The other half of complying by the California Labor Code is ensuring that employees are paid the appropriate premiums. When a minimum wage employee works a split shift, they are entitled to a split shift premium that must be paid for each split shift schedule (one premium per work day).

However, the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relation notes that “any money earned over and above the state, or local, minimum wage will be credited towards the employer’s obligation to pay the split shift premium.

This means, employees who are paid more than minimum wage are also eligible for a split shift premium however the premium will be lower for those with higher wages than minimum wage.

For example:

  • If Jane works an 8 hour split shift and is paid $13/hour ($104 total wages). She is not eligible for extra pay as her wages exceed the minimum wage pay (($11 x 8) + $11 = $99).

Calculating Split Shift Premiums

The premium is calculated as one hour’s pay at the minimum wage. It shall be paid in addition to the minimum wage for that workday, except when the employee resides at the place of employment. Employees who voluntary pick up a secondary shift are not owed the split shift premium.

Whenever an employee is required to block off time to complete work related activities, like remaining on-call or attending mandatory meetings when unscheduled, employers are required to pay employees the time spent on work related activities. This law particularly addresses the issue of when unscheduled employees are required to come into their workplace for mandatory meetings during their time off (see the case of Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular).

If scheduled split shifts total to more than 10 hours within a work day, employers must also comply to the “spread of hours” rule. This means, if an employee works a total of more than 10 hours, they’re entitled to a minimum of one hour of pay at their regular rate.

Employers are also required to pay an employee a daily minimum, particularly if an employee is sent home early. If an employee is sent home early, or works less than half of the total scheduled hours, the employee is entitled the pay of half of the scheduled shift; but no less than two hours nor more than 4 hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay (no less than minimum wage).

If the employee is sent home less than two hours into their second shift of one workday then they are eligible for two hours of their regular rate of pay (no less than the minimum wage).

Here’s an example:

Joe is scheduled to work from 10am – 4pm and 6pm to 9pm. During his first shift,  Joe is sent home early at 2pm. In this case, he is not entitled to the minimum two hour pay requirement. Joe has already worked more than half of this regular shift. If he had been sent home at 11:30, then he would have been eligible for a minimum of two hours of his regular rate of pay.

During his second shift, Joe is sent home at 8pm. As he has already worked for more than half of his scheduled time, he is not entitled to the minimum two hour pay. However, if he had been sent home at 7pm, he would be entitled to two hours of his regular pay.

In Conclusion

As a restaurant owner, educating yourself on the rules and regulations around labor laws, especially in regards to scheduling, will save you a headache in the long run. Creating an employee schedule for a restaurant seems like a simple task but when labor laws regarding split shifts, meal and rest periods, and overtime are thrown into the mix, maximizing your labor cost whilst turning a profit isn’t so easy. Employer’s aren’t required to pay these minimums outright but fully understanding labor laws will allow you to scheduling thoughtfully, and strategically.


Overtime

As an employer, you may find yourself paying a lot of overtime. But the question is, are you paying it correctly? Are you overpaying or underpaying? Or are the amounts being paid-out the correct kind (weekly vs daily overtime). Overtime is one of the biggest costs of managing labor and any mistakes in payment could potentially lead to a class action lawsuit.

In this case, its key to inform yourself of when and how overtime is eligible, and when it is paid out.

Overtime Eligibility

In California, employees are entitled to either weekly overtime pay or daily overtime pay. This is where is gets tricky for business owners who own establishments in multiple states. California is one of the few states that allow weekly and daily overtime. Under Federal law, only weekly overtime is observed. However, in California, both weekly, and daily overtime are observed.

Daily overtime refers to hours worked over 8 hours in a work day and the first eight hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in any work week. Anything over 10 hours a day and any hours worked past eight hours on any sixth day of a work week is subject to double overtime (2x an employee’s average rate).

Weekly overtime refers to the hours worked over 40 hours in a work week. Any hours over 40 per work week (designated by the employer) will be considered and compensated as time and a half pay where an employee is owed their average rate multiplied by 1.5.

Generally, pyramiding or double dipping overtime hours is not allowed in California. This means employees receive the premium pay for whichever overtime amount (weekly or daily) totals to the greater amount.

Calculating California OT Pay

California overtime pay is calculated by taking an employee’s average rate and multiplying it by the applicable amount (one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay or double the employee’s regular rate of pay).

To better understand overtime calculations, here’s an example:

Jane works:

  • Monday: 11 am to 8 pm
  • Tuesday: 11 am to 8 pm
  • Wednesday: 10am to 6pm
  • Thursday: 3pm to 12am
  • Friday: 3pm to 12am
  • Saturday: 3pm to 12am
Looking at her daily overtime:
  • Monday: 8 regular hours + 1 hour overtime
  • Tuesday: 8 regular hours + 1 hour overtime
  • Wednesday: 8 regular hours
  • Thursday: 8 regular hours + 1 overtime hour
  • Friday: 8 regular hours + 1 overtime hour
  • Saturday: 8 regular hours + 1 overtime hour
  • = 5 hours of daily overtime at 1.5x
Looking at her weekly overtime:
  • Monday: 9 hours
  • Tuesday: 9 hours
  • Wednesday: 8 hours
  • Thursday: 9 hours
  • Friday: 9 hours
  • Saturday: 9 hours
  • = 13 hours of weekly overtime @ 1.5x

Jane reaches her weekly OT threshold (40 hours) at 7pm on Friday. Hours worked from Friday at 8pm to the end of her Saturday shift will total to her weekly overtime amount.

In this case, Jane is owed 13 hours of overtime pay as it is the greater amount.

If an employee works multiple positions but it paid $10/hour for all positions, their average rate remains at $10/hour. However, it becomes complicated when an employee works multiple positions at different rates, or receive recurring bonuses, etc.

Calculating OT Pay for Multiple Rates

If an employee works multiple positions and reached overtime in the work week, you will need to take the weighted average of their hourly rates to determine their overtime pay.  Bonuses like an attendance bonus on weekends, must be also be included in overtime pay.

To further understand how overtime time works, here’s another example using the scenario from above:

Jane worked as a host at $10/hour from Monday to Wednesday, and as a server at $9/hour on Thursday to Saturday. She received a $100 bonus for selling a certain number of desserts in her shift. To calculate Jane’s average rate, her hourly rates are divided by the total number of hours worked.

To calculate her average rate:
  • Monday to Wednesday as a host  = 26 hours x $10/hr = $260
  • Plus
  • Thursday to Saturday as a server = 27 hours  x $9/hourly = $243
  • ($260 + $243) / 53 hours = $9.49/hour

Her bonus OT amount is calculated by taking her dollar amount divided by the hours worked.

To figure out what an employee earned in OT for the bonus:
  • $100 bonus / 53 hours worked = $1.88 hourly rate of bonus
  • $1.88 x 1.5 = $2.83 overtime bonus pay rate
Therefore, her total overtime pay equals to:
  • (($9.49 average rate x  1.5) x 13 hours OT) + ($2.83 bonus hourly rate x 13 hours OT) = $221.85 total overtime pay

The examples provided above are simple situations that may happen in the environment in which overtime may occur. The crux of paying overtime is being meticulous and extra careful with overtime calculations – especially when cases of bonuses are taken into account. As an employer, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re taking the right steps to calculate overtime properly and accurately.


Clock Edits

When it comes to rounding hours, staying compliant can be a slippery slope. In a state like California, where labor laws are in high favor of employees, business owners and employers should be aware of the strict rounding policies.

Though rounding policies are allowed under Federal law, the Code of Federal Regulations states that rounding policies are only allowed when, presumably, the policy averages out the employee’s clock times so that they are fully compensated for all the time they actually worked. Rounding policies should never withhold pay from employees and when used for enforcement purposes, rounding policies can only be used in a manner that will not “result, over a period of time, [to fail to] compensate employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.”

Tracking Clock Times

The first step of properly managing employee hours and pay, is to have the proper tracking methods. As an employer in California, business owners are subject to keeping accurate records of information with respect to each of their employees with some of the following:

  1. Time records showing the employee start and end times of each work period. Meal periods, split shift intervals and total daily hours are also required to be recorded
  2. Total wages paid each payroll period.
  3. Total hours worked in the payroll period and applicable rates of pay.

Employee records are also required to be accessible to employees upon reasonable request. As a precaution, ensure that both you and your employees are under the same agreement in regards to start and end times; especially when rounding hours or for making clock changes. The best practice is to make sure employees sign off on any clock changes. For example, grace periods. In California, there are no mandatory grace periods. But as an employer you may choose to provide an employee with a 10 minute grace period for when they clock out. This grace period is voluntary and you’ve done so to grant employees flexibility when clocking in and out. However, the rounding policy you’ve adopted is to round to the nearest 10th of an hour (every 6 minutes to the hour).

Here’s an example:
  • If Joe is scheduled from 10am to 5pm, and he clocks in at 10:02am, you’ll round down to 10:00am.
  • If he had clocked in at 9:58am, you’ll round up to 10:00am. The key here, is to ensure that Joe does not work within the 2 minutes he clocked in early. 
  • But if you had asked Joe to work the two minutes, you would not use the rounding policy and pay him for all time worked. 

Any changes to an employees clocked hours without mutual understanding via their verbal agreement or written permission can cause a ripple effect to a class action lawsuit. Especially if you’re adjusting and rounding hours without an employee’s knowledge or understanding.

And making adjustments to clock entries or employee pay can be for a lot of reasons. Whether employees clock out after they’ve actually stopped working, or even if someone just simply forgot to clock out, any changes to employee hours (and ultimately their pay) should be verified and mutually agreed too. Meaning, adjustments can’t be made on a whim or in one-off cases. Your clock rounding policies should be fair, transparent and honest. If you change employee’s clock time without their understanding, they have every right to request their employee records and move forward with a class action lawsuit if they’ve found that their hours have been unfairly rounded or adjusted.

Need a clock adjustment form?

Download our free employee clock adjustment form below to cover all your bases! Or better yet, book a free demo to see how we streamline clock edits with digital signatures here. Saving paper and time? Sounds good to us!

Download Form

Breaks: Meal and Rest

Always remember that labor laws are generally in favor of your employees. Meaning, being an employee friendly business is more than a bonus; it’s a requirement. Labor compliance laws set the standard of what your employer practices should be. In a chaotic environment like restaurants, it’s a competitive advantage when retaining employees. Though it’s one aspect of labor management, break compliance is a one of the biggest menaces of restaurant businesses; especially in California. The laws are blurry, complex, and the meal and rest periods are hard to manage.

But the first step of managing the beast of meal and rest periods, is fully understanding its rules, regulations, and calculations. We’re always working to make work easy for restaurant owners, so we’ve put together a quick guide to meal and rest periods in California:

So What Exactly Qualifies a Meal Period?

According to the California Labor Code (Section 512) and the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, it is defined as follows:

Employees are entitled to two meal periods at a full 30 minutes each when they work a 10 hour shift. The second meal period may be waived only if:

  1. The first period has not been waived
  2. The shift is no longer than 12 hours
  3. And with the consent of both the employee and employer.

Rest Periods Rules are as Follows:

  • Employers also provide their employees a 10 minute paid rest period for each four hour shift (or major fraction thereof).
  • Breaks should be uninterrupted and taken as close to the middle of their shift period as possible.
  • The requirements of a rest period are like a meal period but the rest break is paid.
  • If a rest period is unprovided, the employee is entitled to one hour of their “regular rate” for each workday that the rest period is not permitted.

For every 6 hour shift worked, an employee is eligible for a 10 minute paid and uninterrupted rest period and a 30 minute uninterrupted meal period, unless the meal or rest period is mutually waived by the employee and employer.

Here’s a quick rundown on when breaks are required:

Hours Worked Rest Period Required Meal Period Required
Less than 3.5 Hours 0 0
4 Hours 1 0
5 Hours 1 0
5.5 Hours 1 1
6 Hours 1 1
7 Hours 2 1
8 Hours 2 1
9 Hours 2 1
10 Hours 2 2*
11 Hours 2 2*
12 Hours 2 2*

*Only the second meal period may be waived


Meal Period Violations and Penalties.

Meal period violations are easy to come across and penalties can be hefty. Some examples of cases where an employer would need to pay a meal period penalty are outlined below:

  • The restaurant is short staffed,. The employee needs to stay and the employer does not provide a meal period.
  • The manager forgets to send an employee on their meal period (therefore not providing a break).
  • An employee is required to be on call during their meal and rest period, or if they’re not allowed to leave the restaurant.

The penalty is equal to one hour of an employee’s’ regular rate. An employee’s regular rate is calculated by taking their wages for the work day divided by the number hours worked.

The penalty is put in place in order to protect employees and allow them to fully rest for 10-30 minutes. It enforces employers to grant opportunities for employees to have a break.

To put the rules into perspective, here’s an example:

Peter is scheduled to work from 11:00am to 7:00pm. As he works an 8 hour shift, he is entitled to one unpaid 30 minute meal period, and two 10 minute rest periods. His scheduled breaks are as follows:

  • 3pm Rest Period
  • 4:30pm Meal Period
  • 6pm Second Rest Period

At 2:50pm, Peter is asked by his manager to work through this rest period due to a overflowing lunch rush. Peter agrees, and works through his rest break. A rest period premium, which is equivalent to one hour of Peter’s“regular rate,” will be given to him in return. In this scenario, Peter’s manager technically did not provide him a undisturbed break and made the conscious decision to pay him the rest period penalty instead.

For his meal period…

At 3:15, Peter is prompted by his manager to prepare to take his unpaid meal break. He is in the middle of serving a large party, and decides that he does not want to go on his meal break. Peter’s manager allows this; therefore they have both mutually agreed to waive the break.

In this scenario, his employer does not have to pay a meal period penalty, as Peter was provided with a meal period but he chose not to go (Brinker Restaurant Corp vs Superior Court, p. 35 [fn]. 19,  2012). Any waived breaks do not require a written agreement. However a meal waiver form is a great tool for Peter’s manager to cover his bases as an employer and to track and manage waived breaks.

If a rest period or a meal period was not provided throughout Peter’s entire shift, he is entitled to two extra hours of pay at the his regular hourly rate, at the most (one for the meal period and one for the rest periods). Meal and rest period penalties are required for each workday, not each occurrence per day.

Waiving Meal and Rest Periods

It gets tricky when the act of waiving breaks comes into play. Employers must provide the opportunity for employees to have a meal break. However, if the employee chooses not to go when the break is offered then the employer is no longer liable to pay a meal period penalty.

Meal period waivers in this instance are great tools to be used as preventative measures to class action lawsuits.

Meal break waivers are not legally required, but they’re a precaution that can be taken to prevent class action lawsuits. And they should include 3 key things:

  1. You agree to waive the meal period
  2. The employee agrees to waive the meal period
  3. Validation that the employee chose not to go on their provided meal period.

Need a waiver? Download one here!

Download Form

How to Succeed: 3 Key Takeaways

Our recommendation for success? Three key factors will play a huge part in your restaurant operations staying compliant

  1. Fully understanding labor laws to properly execute compliance
  2. Identifying problems and finding where you struggle.
  3. Having the right tools in place

Only when you fully comprehend how something should work, will you able to truly succeed in executing it.

For example: it’s like driving a car. A vehicle is what you need to get to point A to point B. But knowing how to drive, having gas and the right directions are key factors in getting you there. In this case, you’ve checked off

  • Step one: you know how to operate a vehicle and you’ve realized what you need to get there.
  • Step two: identifying a problem and finding where you struggle. Maybe you’ve run out of gas but you can search for a gas station and fill your tank.
  • Step three: maybe you were lost, and you used your phone to find the nearest gas station. Once you’ve ticked off all the boxes you got to your end point.

Having the right tools is the step that really drives the point home.

Though we may be biased, software may be the answer to streamline California labor law compliance. However, this doesn’t mean the answer to your problems will be in a quick Google search to find a suitable software vendor.

The first step of improving your operations should be you reflecting on the issues that are plaguing your day-to-day operations. Are you having trouble tracking your overtime? Or do you issues with tracking meal and rest periods? Or are you spending too much time calculating mileage for your delivery drivers?

Software is space where you’re able to find something that fits you. Once you’ve identified our problems, you can find software that solves the issues you may be faced with.

But sometimes software isn’t the solution. If you’re operating a single location with 10-15 employees, you may only need a great general manager and a bookkeeper to stay compliant.

This is why identifying your problems is a key aspect of success. You can only fix what you’re aware of!


Conclusion

Now that you’ve made your way through the post … who are we? Push Operations is a labor management software provider that streamlines restaurant labor management into one simple platform.

We’re passionate about providing simple solutions to a complicated problems. We believe that restaurant owners and their management team should be focused on the bigger picture and the most important aspect of a restaurant experience – touching tables. Leave the heavy lifting to us and book your free demo today!

Disclaimer:

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. (“Push Operations”) for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


Avoiding Restaurant Lawsuits: How to Track Employee Meal Breaks

Avoiding Restaurant Lawsuits: How to Track Employee Meal Breaks

 How to Accurately Track Employee Meal Breaks to Avoid Restaurant Lawsuits

Compliance is one of the biggest factors to consider when establishing restaurant employee policies and processes. Studies by Seyfarth’s 2017 Workplace Class Action Litigation Report found that in 2016 workplace class action settlements hit a total of $1.64 billion; and the settlement value tripled for wage and hour litigation. That means more and more employees are suing their employers, and they’re winning bigger settlements.

One of the biggest regulations to focus your efforts on is ensuring employees take their meal and rest breaks. Several states require strict meal and rest break requirements. If your state is on the list, here are some tips on how to accurately track breaks to avoid any lawsuits.

Be proactive

The best defense is the strong offense. Rather than wait for an issue to arise, be proactive! It’s much easier to correct a process before a potential legal battle on your hands.

When an employee is first hired, instill that breaks are an important part of their day. Educate them on the legal rights they have, and let them know that you prioritize their well being. However, instilling the importance of breaks should be enforced beyond training; there should be natural reminders built into your processes every day. For example, scheduling breaks for the same time every day, creates a routine that prompts employees to go on their breaks naturally, without managers needing to micromanage.

If an employee doesn’t take their break, remind them that it’s a rule with a reason. If an employee decides to waive their break, make it formal: have them provide a reason via a messaging platform or adding a note box to their clock in/out method. Being proactive in your processes can help ward off litigation issues.

Check break times daily

Oftentimes, employers are blindsided when litigation arises. When an employee claims they didn’t receive a meal break or didn’t receive a sufficient amount of time for a break, managers and owners are often surprised: they had no idea.

Auditing individual break times day to day can eliminate these compliance surprises. Managers should be able to check in on employee clock hours. This isn't to micromanage employees clocking in and out, but rather it's to make sure they're taking their assigned break and being paid any agreed upon premiums.

When managers have a firm grasp on the behaviors of their employees and their break behavior, they'll be able to easily and quickly mediate any issues that may be forgotten in the future. Memories of the day are fresh. Managers won’t need to chase employees to confirm when they clocked out or why their break wasn’t taken; or make any assumption on an employees clocked hours.

Train your managers properly

Your manager is your your second pair of eyes and ears. If you train your managers properly, you’ll be able to trust them with sensitive issues, like auditing meal breaks and tracking schedules for payroll. It will help tighten up your processes and manage employee behavior.

Continuously training managers can help keep them refreshed on your policies and learn new ways to inspire employees to comply by the rules. By providing your managers with the right tools to manage employees with up to date training, you'll be able to cover your bases an an employer if a compliance issue arises.

Document everything

Yes, everything. An important part of preparing litigation is gathering proof: you need evidence that you created an environment to acknowledge, encourage, and provide breaks for employees.

Look into software to help you maintain your records. There are software providers that can track clock times and breaks, streamline the approval process, and alert managers if employees aren’t taking the correct number and frequency. Meal waiver forms are another cautionary step to covering your bases; you can have an employee fill one out every time they waive a break and/or meal. They aren’t a requirement, but they are another document that could help bolster a legal issue.

 

In conclusion, the best way to tackle the lurking menace of litigation and lawsuits as a restaurant owner, is to have the right tools in place. A good manager, helpful tools, and full understanding of compliance laws guarantee compliant businesses.

 


Everything You Need to Know About Labor Law Posters

Everything You Need to Know About Labor Law Posters

Being in compliance with all of labor laws and its notices is a given. However, it's one thing know what labor laws entail, and another to fully understand their actions.

Here are the key things you need to know as a restaurant owner to remain in compliance about labor law posters.

What’s a labor law notice, anyway?

First, it is important to understand what labor laws are. In a nutshell, labor laws protect employees from dangerous situations and work environments both physically and emotionally. Labor law notices are postings that are required by law to be displayed in certain types of businesses.

The United States Department of Labor is the organization that enforces the federal labor law regulations and provides the wide array of labor law posters available to business owners.

State labor offices also provide posters and notices for businesses. To make things a tiny bit more complicated, certain governmental offices adhere to poster size requirements. Some explain that they need to be “easily read and accessible” for employees throughout the day. In addition to all of the federal Labor law notices that need to be posted (which include Federal Labor Standards Act Wage, Federal Minimum Wage Laws, Equal Opportunity Laws, Governmental Contract Laws, Agricultural Laws, Employee Polygraph Protection Act Laws, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Laws, and Immigration Laws), some states may require their own specific statutes to be posted in your workplace.

While all of these may not apply to your particular business, it will benefit you to become familiar with the labor standards information for new and small businesses as well as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandatory postings that you may be required to post. State and local laws vary widely. For example, The California Department of Industrial Relations holds businesses accountable for posting notices with information about paid sick leave, payday notices, emergency phone numbers, and worker’s compensation notices. In New York, the state government contains at least 17-19 (depending upon the type of employees working in the business) labor law notices to be posted.

How do I know which labor laws apply to me?

With so many statutes and laws with varying workplace poster requirements, it can be confusing. The best way to make sure that you have the correct signage posted is to check with the U.S Department of Labor as well as your state and local governments. This will insure that you have all of the correct postings for your type of business. Also, certain states require bilingual signage additions which you will need to consider as well.

There is also the State and Local Government Self-Assessment Tool available to help navigate this question more deeply. The FirstStep Poster Advisor is also available. Based on the personalized information that a business owner provides, the interactive tool helps employers understand which posters are mandatory for its business. It can help owners and managers figure out the exact postings that they are legally required to make available to employees.

How often should I update my labor law notices?

Federal laws are subject to change along with state laws. It is important to remember that if law changes, you must update the notice you have posted the day that it takes into affect. Also note that states and local government labor offices may change laws on short notice, so it’s important to check regularly for your own protection.  It is suggested to choose one day per month to review local and state websites to check for any changes. It would also be helpful to do this on the federal site to ensure that you are always in compliance. Some federal posters contain scannable QR codes that inform you if you are using the most up-to-date federal poster.

How can I keep up with all of this?

A new business has many obligations. It is crucial to remain in compliance with the legal statutes both federally and locally; especially when labor law posters are time sensitive. The U.S. Department of Labor offers compliance assistance tool kits to business owners to help stay organized and up-to-date. On their website there are links to state labor offices to help make it easier to navigate your compliance check.

Additionally, there are several businesses that are in the business to help you meet state, local, and OSHA poster and law requirements. These businesses offer a variety of packages that provide tools that help you stay up-to-date and compliant. Some offer all-in-one posters that can be used in several areas, especially if you have limited space. Businesses that help manage labor law compliance and notices can be handy for a busy (especially new) restaurant owner.

It's easy to get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day restaurant operations; especially when it comes to restaurant labor compliance. However, know that there are tools out there to help you navigate this sometimes tricky area. You work hard to employ the most dedicated staff. They count on you to make sure that their safety and security is your priority, too. This is another reason you want to make sure cover all of your labor law bases right from the beginning!

 


Keeping Up with Restaurant Labor Compliance Laws

Keeping Up with Restaurant Labor Compliance Laws

Labor laws are an important consideration in just about every aspect of restaurant management. Whether you’re hiring, firing, setting wages, or scheduling shifts, it’s important to pay close attention to how labor compliance laws should affect the decisions you make.

Failing to comply can expose you to unnecessary risk and bring about legal and ethical issues. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re aware of all the relevant regulations; and understand how they affect your industry, business, and employees.

Here are a few tips that will help keep you up to date:

Sign up for compliance newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to stay up to date with changing labor laws that may affect your business. Government and compliance websites are a great place to start.

For example, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) regularly publishes its own newsletter, which provides helpful information on the latest regulatory changes. For more localized information, you can also check your state’s DOL website for press releases and “media rooms.”

Join the Society of Human Resource Management

Becoming a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) gives you access to a variety of guides, and articles intended to help you stay up-to-date and compliant with relevant labor laws.

In addition to information on labor laws, the SHRM also has many management tools to help you stay compliant. These tools have the sole purpose of making the task of managing your staff easier and more efficient. The SHRM also hosts events, conferences, seminars, and workshops for their members that cover specific topics.

Join social groups that specialize in labor compliance laws

If you’re looking to connect with other local business owners and managers, consider joining a few social groups in your area that specialize in labor compliance laws. These groups may be especially helpful if your local laws are undergoing significant changes.

Attending industry events and workshops can help put you in touch with experts and guide you to the right information. Participating in these events can help you understand not only what regulations exist, but also how to go about complying with them.

Assign a compliance officer

The most effective way to ensure you’re complying with all relevant labor laws is to assign a compliance officer. This can be a person or a software provider.

Compliance software may be a standalone program or part of an HR software suite. These programs can help you monitor whether or not you’re adhering to laws relating to wages, health and safety, work hours, days off, and other regulations.

In order to find the software that will be most relevant and helpful to you, look for an online payroll service or program specializing in restaurant regulations and management.

Set dates for changes and plan ahead

When it comes to compliance, it’s best to be proactive rather than reactive. Keeping track of upcoming changes to labor compliance laws through newsletters, social groups, and other resources will allow you to plan ahead and keep your employees in the loop.

Planning ahead allows you to set dates for when you’ll begin implementing new policies and discuss with your staff how best to make the necessary changes.

Keeping up with labor compliance laws can be tricky and time-consuming unless you know where to find the best and most up-to-date information. It’s often a good idea to use a variety of tools and resources. This is the best way to cover your bases and ensure you have enough time to plan ahead.


Restaurant Marketing: How to Attract More Foot Traffic

Restaurant Marketing: How to Attract More Foot Traffic

Restaurants need a lot of things to succeed: great food, professional staff, high margins. But, at the end of the day, a successful restaurant can be heavily dependent on one thing: foot traffic Can you get people into the door? Can you keep people coming back? How do you attract more customers to your restaurant? Knowing your customer and communicating with them is important to your bottom line.

Here are five options to increase your restaurant’s foot traffic:

Option 1: Know your customer

Before you figure out how to get more foot traffic, you need to figure out who to target. The tactics that you pursue are dependent on your unique, ideal customer. Use POS data to determine what type of guests are currently coming to your restaurant the most. With the data, you can narrow in on their demographics and understand who you’re serving today. Ask: does this match who I want here tomorrow? What are their patterns of behavior like? Where else do they go? How did they find out about your restaurant? What are their habits, wants, needs?

If you understand why your current customers choose your restaurant, you can better attract more customers who feel the same way. Try mapping out a customer journey for your most frequent (current) audience and another one for your most wanted (target) audience. Are their differences in how they make their decisions? Do they have different priorities, preferences, and pain-points? A user-focused exercise can help you be more empathetic and eliminate the normal bias you have towards your restaurant and your decisions. It might help you uncover a problem you were overlooking or an opportunity you were missing to increase foot traffic.

Option 2: Communicate with them

After you fully understand who you’re targeting, it’s much easier to determine how to do it. Below are a few tips on how you can maximize your foot traffic. However, remember to refer back to your current and main customers thoroughly. Keep in mind what their behaviors are and if these solutions align—some might be the perfect fit, while some might be a poor match.

Build an online foundation

Most people are online. In fact, 86% of diners check menus online before they dine out.  If you’re in a low traffic area and potential diners are searching nearby for somewhere to go, they should be able to find you. Get on Google Maps, Yelp, and explore other popular listing websites. A basic presence will increase your reputation and increase new customers. A bonus? Listings are often free.

Create a social-worthy atmosphere (and share it yourself)

People eat with their eyes first—it’s why the presentation of dishes and a strong social media presence matters. Almost 60 percent of diners always or frequently check out images of their destination before they go. Capitalize on their curiosity. Work with your chef to create “Insta-worthy” specials that are also cost effective. Work with a designer to build a permanent fixture to encourage people to create their own user generated content. It will pull people (especially millennials) to try your restaurant: the photo op will make them come, and your food & service will make them stay.

Train Your Staff to Create Regulars

A server or host is the face of your restaurant. The worst thing a server can do is seat a table without interacting with them. Train your servers to ask customers how they are doing, if they are visiting for a set reason and if this is their first time. Simple conversations make people feel more comfortable. Get your servers to ask everyone's name and make sure they remember, this is an easy way to personalize the experience.

Get your manager or head server to stop by each table and ask how their experience has been. Customers are more likely to tell you about a bad experience if it is not their server asking.  Try to keep servers the same during an experience.

Use Your Window

Your front window is like a free billboard that allows you to showcase your restaurant to passersby. Add window decals that show your food or unique designs. If you want to keep your windows clear add seats near the front so people can see the food being eaten as they pass by. Give your potential customers mad Fomo by showing them what they are missing!

Invest in a Sandwichboard

“Todays offer buy any two drinks and pay for both of them”. Clever sandwich boards are all the rage as meme culture rules the internet. Get yourself a sandwich board and put something on it that matches both your theme and your customers style to give passersby a look into the type of establishment you are. This could also give someone a chance to share your sign on their social media for free, and free marketing is always good.

Option 3: Create or Participate in Events

Introduce unique specials and recurring events

A restaurant’s life depends on return customers. Focus on specials that surprise and delight your regulars, rather than one-off guests: loyalty is a restaurateur’s bread and butter for success. Consider mixing some daily specials into your usual menu. Happy hour is a hit with the younger crowd (and so are trivia or game nights). However, before adding countless nights of half-off drinks and pop culture trivia, think through your strategy—you should approach it from a strategic marketing perspective, choosing only what’s smart for your business goals. If you are worried that trivia or game nights will not suit your ideal customer look into signing up for your local restaurant week or pub crawl. Events use a set menu to introduce locals to new restaurants and cuisines.

Use Influencers

The growing interest in influencers on sites like Instagram are making this avenue exciting and new. While large influencer marketing can be costly the influx in micro influencers has allowed local businesses to get on the influencer train without paying an arm and a leg.

Set up an influencer event and find 10 - 15 local “bloggers” who have 1,000 to 5,000 followers. There people are likely not in a place where they can charge for their services and often have a highly engaged audience. Set up a special set menu for this group on a slow day. They get free food, meet with their peers and look special on their accounts while you get to enjoy the traffic of being shared to a highly engaged audience of people (Easily 10,000 people without putting much effort in). Just make sure if you are using this avenue you have an Instagram that the bloggers can share.

Start a Paint Night

Companies like Painting & Vino and YayMaker use venues to create great paint nights. Nights like these help fill slow nights and introduce new customers to your restaurant. Like the trivia night you can start your own or make it simple and sign up through a company that does all the work for you.

Option 4: Use a Delivery Service

What Delivery Service To Choose

There are many things to consider when looking into a delivery service. This may not bring traffic into your restaurant but it will open your restaurant up to new customers through online listings.  

Other Options

There are other options to get people in the door like Ritual a new app on the market that promotes office lunch pick up. The app has restaurants listed and gives customers points for picking up their friends or coworkers meal from the same restaurant by “piggybacking” on their order. A new order is shared by push notification to team members who signed up for the app together. There is a fee to join the app but the ability to have friends refer friends may create a bigger customer base in the long run.  

Option 5: Create a Loyalty Program

Create a Loyalty App

If you use a POS system like Lightspeed or Toast the system comes with a built in loyalty program (for a small fee). If you don’t use these POS systems you can work with a company like Craver a mobile app for restaurants. The platform allows you to personalize a pre built app to your needs. It also includes online ordering options.


Restaurant Management: How to Build a High Functioning Restaurant Team

Restaurant Management: How to Build a High Functioning Restaurant Team

Building a team of any type is definitely an art. As a restaurant owner, building a team is essential for the smooth operation, function, and success of your restaurant. Your restaurant management team is the heart of your business. What you do to help nurture your management team will allow each restaurant team member to thrive in a way that can only help your amazing restaurant grow. If your team is happy, then your customers are happy. The energy is contagious. Now, the question is, how do you, as a restaurant owner and manager, build that high functioning restaurant team that is motivated and driven? You want to ensure that you build a restaurant team to truly represent your brand and bring it to life while helping your employees feel valued.

 

Consider the following statistics:

 

These statistics communicate a need to not only work to make each restaurant team member feel like he or she truly matters, but also the importance of building a restaurant management team that can build trust within each department and lead in a way that represents your brand and business. Here are several key points to consider while you work to build your amazing restaurant team. 

 

Emphasize and demonstrate what teamwork means.

While creating your team, it's important to demonstrate how your company vision values teamwork. You want to make sure all department teams know they are part of the larger team and continue to keep your employees motivated. Remind them that they share a common goal and are not “separate areas” of the business functioning alone. FOH and BOH must be diligently working together. In order to invite collaboration and inclusion, you must work to build a strong foundation and with commonly understood and integrated systems in place. Create a culture where everyone is helping each other reach the common goals of the restaurant. You can do this with daily huddles, weekly check-ins, or monthly manager and team meetings. Ultimately, you want to invite your team to provide quality feedback and work toward the growth of the business.

Communicate clearly and creatively.

Communication is one of those words that we always hear tossed around in organizations. However, the importance of clear communication cannot be underestimated. When a restaurant owner is transparent and communicates clear expectations to the team, in a consistent manner, lines of communication are able to stay open and there is less room for confusion.  Managers and owners can quickly resolve problems and challenges and meet the attainable high standard of your company’s service and expectations. In addition, by communicating clearly to your team, you also invite curious communication among your team members. They feel safe asking questions and communicating needs. Creating an open door communication policy and modeling the type of respectful communication that you wish to see within your team is essential.

Set goals strategically.

When setting goals for your restaurant or team, it's important to have everyone on the same page. This idea is interconnected with communication.  Goal-setting is an important aspect of building a high functioning restaurant management team. This means not only setting clear goals, but making sure everyone is aware of and working toward the same ones. Goals should be specific, measurable, and attainable. Having everyone on the same page is key and will help develop a collaborative and inclusive culture. And sometimes these goals should not only involve company goals, but also individual goals.

Delegate deliberately.

Don’t just delegate to get things done. Be specific about how you delegate. You want to manage a heavy workload by dividing work and delegating these tasks based on each individual team members’ strengths and abilities. When delegating work, make sure that you are doing it in a way that will help this person succeed while also lightening your workload to make more time for other management/owner-specific tasks. When you delegate to a team member, do you have a goal in mind for that person in the long-term? Do you see this person as a leader for your restaurant? Do you see them moving up into a different role? Make sure the delegation choice is meaningful and check in with that restaurant team member regularly to ensure they have everything they need to succeed in the task.

Consistently recognize.

As a restaurant owner, you want to have a consistent and ongoing goal for yourself to train and promote your existing employees. In this way you are recognizing their strengths and building upon them. It also takes far less time to promote from within and train accordingly than to deal with consistently high turnover. It is important to know who you want to become your solid management team and what employees are appropriate candidates for managers-in-training (MITs). Try to consistently and informally assess your team (along with formal, regular feedback assessments). Make sure to train your employees effectively and do not skimp on training from the beginning. You want them to be trained well and efficiently so you can trust them. Creating a restaurant team where integrity is the foundation is key.  

 

Forbes recently reported that “53 percent of Americans are currently unhappy at work."  You do not want those to include your team members. Strive to take care of them from the beginning and provide that foundation to insure success. With proper training, communication, and assessment, you will be on your way to building a quality and high-functioning restaurant team.

 


First Impressions Matter: Linking Employee Onboarding and Retention

First Impressions Matter: Linking Employee Onboarding and Retention

First Impressions Matter: Linking Employee Onboarding and Retention

First impressions are priceless. Unfortunately, some business owners and managers may not realize how a lack of proper and efficient onboarding can affect employee turnover in serious ways. For example, according to ContractRecruiter.com, “New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years." That fact is huge considering that Gallup has found "that only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new employees."

Additional facts to consider when thinking of how related employee retention is to the onboarding process:

Employees are present and want to be a part of an amazing team. But how do you find and keep them?

What Is Onboarding, Anyway?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) gives a great explanation of the onboarding process. They state that it is “as a systematic and comprehensive approach to integrating a new employee with a company and its culture, as well as getting the new employee the tools and information needed to become a productive member of the team.”

In order to provide the best and most effective ongoing strategy for the onboarding process, it is imperative to understand the employee experience. High turnover can be expensive and getting this right by witnessing the onboarding process through the lens of a new employee is vital to not only employee retention, but also your bottom line.  Some believe that onboarding begins that moment that an employee receives and submits a signed offer letter. Others believe that onboarding can begin with the interview process. Either way, it’s important to recognize the fact that when you are interviewing an employee, you are the face of your business and that first impression does matter.

Considering the interview process as the first part of onboarding will not only help you paint an accurate picture of exactly what your company stands for and how it operates in the community, but you are also able to begin connecting with the employee on a more personal level. You can use the interview process to think ahead about how you want your company to be seen and the goals for your employee both of which will set the stage for a formalized onboarding process.

Employee Engagement Is A Driver In Retention

According to Gallup.com, If you don't welcome new employees like rock stars, the experiential disappointment could start them off on an emotionally slippery slope, leading to low engagement and seeking out a new opportunity.” Employee engagement is your key. But how you use that key to unlock the door to a long-term and fruitful employee-employer relationship is essential. Engagement will be increased exponentially if you spend time making sure that your employees feel safe. Remember that an employee is influenced by emotions which will impact follow-through and retention. Pay attention to these emotions and get to know your new future employee. Connect in an engaging way by getting to know his or her personal and professional goals.

It is also important that you don't skip onboarding or provide it in bits and pieces. You want to make sure it is organized and structured and that you create open dialogue during onboarding. Make certain to explain and demonstrate your company's culture. Consider a  welcome package as part of onboarding and remember that the first few days with onboarding can make all the difference in employee engagement and ultimately retention with your company. Whomever you choose to conduct onboarding and orientation, make sure that the individual thoroughly knows the company rules, policies, and culture and is a positive member of your team.

Set your employees up for success

Setting your employees up for a successful onboarding and transition is absolutely necessary. The interviewing and initial hiring process should flow seamlessly into an engaging, positive onboarding process. Make certain that you make onboarding personal. For example, explain the organization, communicate the ins and outs and introduce them to team. The point is to keep them engaged and exude positivity. Work to help them feel part of the team right away. Provide them with all the information they need to succeed and fit in with the team.  

In short, make sure to keep the energy high, positive, and focused from interviewing to onboarding and beyond. First day impressions are crucial for establishing your business’s work and professional culture. Even after official onboarding is over, make sure you provide employees with genuine ongoing and consistent check-ins. This helps to establish an open-door policy and breeds trust between employers and employees.

Look into HR software

Using technology to help with the onboarding process will not only help with first impressions, it will also help create an efficient system for onboarding. Human Resource software helps make it easy to transition new hires onto the team. Web-based onboarding and software frees up valuable time for the fun stuff, like the hands-on training and diving into the heart of the team culture.

There are a few considerations to help ensure you are using the best restaurant software for your company’s needs and onboarding process. Make sure it is easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. This allows for ease of usage and efficiency. It’s also helpful to collect important and necessary HR-related documents as soon as the individual accepts the position. Then you can make everything else easily accessible with the HR software. Lastly, consider how HR software can help you with analytics. You'll be able to use measurable statistics to follow-up and review your procedures to provide actionable results.

Ultimately, it is important to remember not to skimp on onboarding process. After all, first impressions do matter. Making an employee’s onboarding process flow easily and flawlessly will help build that necessary trust in your organization. Again, staying organized and partaking in these best practices will lead to increased employee retention and reduce unwanted  employee turnover.This will not only help provide you with a wonderfully skilled and professional team, but will also save you time and money in the future.

 


3 Common Compliance Mistakes That Restaurants Make

3 Common Compliance Mistakes That Restaurants Make

3 Common Compliance Mistakes That Restaurants Make

Owning and operating a restaurant comes with many responsibilities and challenges. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations of your business and lose track of the multitude of laws and regulations you’re expected to comply with.

In order to avoid any ethical and legal issues from arising and threatening your business, it’s important to make sure you fully understand and adhere to all relevant laws and requirements.

Here are some of the most common compliance mistakes restaurant owners and managers make, along with some tips on how to avoid them:

1. Miscalculating overtime eligibility

In the US, some restaurant employees are entitled to overtime pay for the extra hours they work, while others are not. There’s a common misconception that salaried employees are never entitled to overtime. However, this is not always the case. Whether or not an employee is eligible to receive overtime pay depends on more than just his or her status as a salaried or hourly employee.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must classify employees as either “exempt” or “nonexempt.” Employers are required by law to pay nonexempt employees overtime, but are not required to compensate exempt employees for additional hours worked. To be considered exempt, an employee must generally:

  • Be paid at least $23,600 per year
  • Be paid on a salary basis
  • Perform exempt job duties, which include supervising and managing others

For example when deciding if an employee is exempt or nonexempt, it’s important to distinguish between a “manager” and a “manager on duty.” A manager is responsible for overseeing other employees, while a manager on duty is solely responsible for administrative managerial tasks.

Some Canadian provinces and American states also have overtime rules that differ from Federal rules. For example, Ontario only observes weekly overtime (40+ hours a week) as per the Federal law but British Columbia and California observes both daily overtime (8+ hours a day) and weekly overtime. Whichever amount of hours is higher is what is paid to the employee!

2. Poor record keeping

Keeping inadequate or incomplete records can lead to a number of potential compliance issues and put you at risk as an employer.

In Canada, payroll audits are tedious. And if you're unable to produce the appropriate documents when requested by the Canadian Revenue Agency, the process is delayed. As a result, any potential fines can be hefty!

In the US, disorganized time and attendance records and payroll data can cause you to misclassify employees and/or fail to identify full-time employees.

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you are required to provide health care coverage to all full-time employees if you have more than 50 on staff. There’s a common misconception that an employee must work 40 hours per week to be considered full-time. However, the ACA considers any employee who works at least 30 hours per week (or 130 hours per month) to be full-time.

You want to make sure you’re keeping accurate and complete records each and every month in order to ensure you’re complying with all relevant federal, state, and local laws. Not only will this help you avoid unnecessary risk, but it will also make staffing and other management decisions easier.

3. Not adhering to employee break regulations

It’s important to make sure you and your employees are aware of all relevant break laws. This will allow your employees to be aware and help you adhere to them. The restaurant business poses particular challenges when it comes to employee breaks, due to the fast-paced team environment and continuous interaction between employees and customers.

In the US, each state has its own rules and regulations about employee breaks, so it’s important to research and understand your local laws. Restaurants operating in multiple states may need to have different policies at different locations in order to comply with each state’s requirements.

It’s crucial that managers not only understand the break laws themselves, but also that they clearly communicate them to all staff members. It’s a good idea to have a written policy that specifies how many breaks employees should take, how long each break should be, and when these breaks should be taken. This not only mitigates risk for you, but also ensures your employees are not overworked.

 

While it can sometimes be a struggle to keep track of all the legal and regulatory requirements that apply to your business, it’s well worth the extra time and effort. You’re better off making sure all the necessary boxes are checked now, as opposed to dealing with unforeseen legal and ethical issues in the future that could have been avoided. With a little research and planning, you can make sure to avoid these common compliance mistakes and focus on growing your business and brand.

 


4 Things New Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Labor Compliance

4 Things New Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Labor Compliance

4 Things New Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Labor Compliance

When it comes to labor laws, simple mistakes or misjudgments can lead to thousands of dollars in fines and lawsuits. It's imperative that new restaurant owners educate themselves and conduct the necessary research regarding labor compliance laws. Existing restaurant owners should review these laws frequently; and ensure they're up to date with any changes regarding the federal and state labor laws in which they operate.

The Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides the most up-to-date federal guidelines that are necessary to follow in order to remain in compliance. FLSA provides the framework needed for business owners to operate a successfully compliant restaurant business within the compliant minimum wage, child labor, overtime, and recordkeeping laws.

Knowing and understanding labor compliance in your city, state, and country will help keep your restaurant business running smoothly. Keeping excellent and organized employee records also helps in case of audits or potential legal action from a current or previous employee. Ultimately, knowing the facts will help you to keep your business safe. Here are 4 things that restaurant owners need to know about labor compliance.

 

Meal and Rest Break Compliance

Interestingly, federal law does not include meal break or rest break requirements. However in states like California, their labor laws include strict rest and meal break periods requirements. For example: states like California, Maine, and Massachusetts require a meal period for employees working 6 hours or more. As there are no requirements under Federal law, not all states have any requirements around meal and rest breaks. However, as a precaution, many businesses establish and implement a company policy with their own meal and rest procedures. 

Educating oneself on meal and rest break rules is more than making sure that your employees are getting the rest that they need. It may also be a cautionary step to avoid labor lawsuits and employer penalties. Regardless of what type of restaurant you operate, knowing that there are federal laws requiring more frequent breaks for mothers who are nursing or that a "rest period" (20 minutes or less) must be counted as an employee's worked hours is absolutely essential.

Tip and Gratuity Compliance

It's understandable if restaurant owners may be slightly overwhelmed or confused by all of the different tip and gratuity laws. But fully understanding them or getting the right help will only help your restaurant business run that much more efficiently. It's important to know that Federal tip and gratuity laws may differ from state laws and sometimes even among cities or counties within the same state. Depending on the legislature, the law that favors the employee the most takes precedence.

For example:

  • Under Federal law, tip credits are allowed.
  • However in the state of California, tip credits are not allowed as California employers must pay their employees the state's minimum wage.
  • But tip pooling is allowed. As of 2018, both front of house and back of house employees are allowed to be in a tip pool, as long as employees are being paid minimum wage as reported by Gov Docs.

Tip pools can be complicated. Doing your homework will help ensure that you're following the correct labor laws; especially when determining which ones may hold precedence over another.

Overtime Compliance

Regarding overtime labor compliance, the first step is distinguishing nonexempt vs exempt employees. Consider overtime thresholds as they are not only based on salaries but day to day tasks of a particular position. It is easy to consider someone exempt by classifying him or her as a manager, however, there are strict laws regarding how to distinguish an exempt vs non exempt employeeAn employee's job title does not automatically make him or her exempt. There are particular qualifications for exempting an employee depending upon the position and the overtime law that is most favorable to the employee must be adhered to by all employers. These types of labor and compliance laws are essential to understand and it is recommended that you seek help from an attorney or other qualified professional to make sense of them as penalties are steep and lawsuits are easy to follow suit. 

The next step is recognizing what's included in overtime calculations. Depending on the state, all employee's wage must be considered when calculating overtime. As for the overtime rate, it must be paid at a rate of at least one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for each hour worked over 40 hours per week. In some states like California, daily overtime is also observed.

One last thing to keep in mind is to put in place some sort of labor hour tracking system. Whether it's an excel sheet, Google sheet, or payroll software, it's much more effective keeping detailed and concise records with an effective timekeeping system in place. In the case an audit arises or if employees request their labor hours, it'll be a cake walk to find!

Minimum Wage Compliance

This set of labor compliance laws is interesting since there are many differing local, state, and federal minimum wage law requirements. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, yet some states have exceeded that. As a restaurant owner, it is essential to know that if federal or local minimum wage requirements differ from state ones, an employee must be paid the highest of the three rates. As for tip credits, restaurants must adhere to the restaurant federal $2.13 minimum wage and be sure the tips add up to be equal or above the minimum wage.  

 

Restaurants have more factors to take into account than a typical business when managing labor. Labor laws are complicated and vary widely from state to state or county to county. Before opening your restaurant for business, it's recommended that you have an optimal time tracking system in place; along with a thorough understanding of all of the labor laws that may affect your business. Make sure you 're ready when your business' doors open so you can concentrate on both maintenance and growth!

 


Restaurant Uniforms: What to Consider

Restaurant Uniforms: What to Consider

If you’re considering adding or changing your staff uniforms, it’s important to think about how these changes may affect your brand, your business, your employees, and your customers. Research shows 75 percent of customers prefer employees in uniform, and they can help promote brand awareness and boost employee performance, and

However, you want to make sure your restaurant uniforms are comfortable for your employees, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations and fit your brand.

Here are 3 essential things to consider:

1. Choose uniforms that reflect your brand and culture

Your restaurant has its own, identifiable personality. When patrons think of your establishment, a particular image comes to mind. Your staff uniforms are an important part of that picture. They help add a sense of professionalism and consistency and they also help staff members stand out. In fact, 97 percent of people believe uniforms make employees easier to identify. This can help prevent those awkward situations where a guest mistakes another for a server.

Your customers aren’t the only factor to take into consideration when it comes to reinforcing your brand and culture. Uniforms can also encourage company pride among your staff and help them feel like they’re valued members of a team. Uniforms can promote team camaraderie and help foster a sense of community within your restaurant environment.

2. Ensure you’ve implemented clear policies on dressing and grooming

Consider what you want your restaurant server uniforms to look like and how you want your staff to wear them. Have a written dress code and clearly communicate all of your expectations to both existing employees and new hires. This will limit any confusion about the requirements of the uniform and how staff members are expected to present themselves while on the job.

For example, if you want your employees to tuck in their shirts or wear their hair tied back, it’s important to stipulate this in your employee handbook. This will ensure employees understand the standard and can comply easily!

Grooming and hygiene are especially important in the restaurant industry as your staff members regularly handle food. Having a clear dress code and grooming policies can help ensure your staff look presentable at all times and your expectations are met.

3. Make sure your uniforms are practical, safe, and non-discriminatory

It’s important to consider the ethical and legal implications of any uniforms you ask your staff members to wear. Make sure you understand your local laws and regulations clearly before implementing any dress code or grooming policies.

For example, some Canadian provinces (including Alberta and British Columbia) have passed laws prohibiting employers from mandating that staff members wear high heels. Similarly, California employers are not legally allowed to prevent any staff member from wearing pants due to the sex of the employee.

In addition to legal requirements, it’s also important to carefully consider the practicality and safety of the uniforms you select. Depending on their design, uniforms can either help or hinder your employees from performing their daily tasks safely and efficiently. Always think about the functionality of the uniform when making decisions. For example: an apron with a pocket may make taking orders easier for your servers; or a dangling tie could get in their way when bussing tables.

 

Having a standard uniform for your team can boost morale, promote brand recognition, and even increase performance. When dress codes are well-thought-out and clearly defined, with legal and safety concerns in mind, uniforms can be a huge asset to your brand and business.


Restaurant Marketing: Creating Your Online Community

Restaurant Marketing: Creating Your Online Community

Restaurants are built around social activities. People attend brunch after Sunday church, grab drinks for a big game, eat dinner before a movie. It makes sense why restaurants are huge on social media (more than 200 million Instagram posts are tagged #food and more than 100 thousand posts are tagged #torontorestaurants).

In today’s digital world, building a social media community is crucial. Especially when 86% of social media users follow brands on social media and 88% of people are influenced by reviews and online comments. Social media presence and engagement can spread "word-of-mouth" about your restaurant, build your unique brand, and drive more traffic (and money) through your front door.

Here are some tips on how to get social:

Pick the platforms

As a restaurant, your top platforms will probably be Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook

Although Facebook might not be the choice for the newer generations, it's still relevant today. Like having pepper in your restaurant, a social presence of Facebook is a given. Customers expect it to be available, and if you don’t have it, it may potentially reflect poorly on your brand. Facebook as a social platform can help you increase your customer interactions. It’s relatively easy to upkeep when compared to Instagram and guests are able to easily leave reviews, comment on images, and share posts

Instagram

Chef Andoni of world renowned restaraunt Mugaritz said: “Eating is sensorial. More than that, it’s about interpreting the information that your senses give you.” And, in the twenty-first century, people have started eating with their eyes. Specifically the use of Instagram as a research mechanism (especially for millennials).  As a platform that's solely driven by photos, Instagram is a great tool to provide potential guests with a glimpse into their dining experience.

Some restaurants are diving into the food-photo trend, changing their menu to be more photogenic on Instagram. In these cases, Instagram influencers are also a great avenue to freely promote your restaurant. This doesn't mean  influencers should come to your establish and demand freebies. Rather you should be monetizing off the photos they take! Maybe you have an interactive dessert that photographs well. If people come to try it and post a photo, it's free word of mouth marketing!

Depending on your demographic, your restaurant should have an Instagram where you can share photos of your food, atmosphere, and events.

Engage, engage, engage

The magic of social media is in the name: it’s social. People can communicate reach others who, before social media, wouldn’t have been accessible. Engagement is important, and it goes both ways (1 in 4 people are annoyed when you don’t respond to them). When someone comments on an image or writes a review—whether good or bad—you should respond. With social media, people expect better customer service. To engage with users in an authentic way, Sprout Social advises, “Approach social media like you would a group of strangers at a party. Sprinkle tidbits about yourself while mostly engaging with other people. Engagement posts focus the conversation on your customers.”

Be relevant...but not overwhelming

Beyond pure engagement, people care about what you post. 41% of people will unfollow a brand that doesn’t share relevant information and 57% are annoyed with too many promotions by brands. Creating posts related to holiday traditions or hot trends can help make your restaurant social media more relevant in the eyes of users. Another good way to keep your content fresh while also promoting your business, is the rule of thirds (1/3):

  • Sales posts: promoting the business  
  • User & content posts: leverage user-generated content, local events, thought leaders, etc.
  • Brand posts: personal brand stories like customer reviews, funny jokes, quotes, chef-features, and food

 

Create spaces that will encourage photos

Social media efforts shouldn’t focus solely sinking virtual customers, but creating an interactive experience for customers in-the-moment. Decorating your restaurant with unique signs, wall decor, and Instagrammable backdrops can encourage your visitors to take their own photos to share on their social accounts. In short? It's an opportunity to organically grow your word-of-mouth with user-generated content. For inspiration, check out the most instagrammed restaurants in the United States.

 

 


Restaurant Staffing: How to Avoid Overworking Employees

Restaurant Staffing: How to Avoid Overworking Employees

Restaurant work is hard work. It can be exhausting—both physically and mentally—and team member exhaustion can hurt customer service, operations efficiency, and employee retention. It’s important as a manager to keep your team from burning out.

Here are some ways to help avoid overworking your employees.

Monitor switches & picked up shifts

Unlike most jobs, restaurant work isn’t a strict 5-day-a-week timeline. Schedules are flexible, and most managers allow staff members to switch shifts and find people to cover for them. This delegation eliminates an unnecessary barrier and helps keep the restaurant staffed at the correct number.

But a manager should keep track of the switches and make sure that the same employee isn’t working too many shifts. You may schedule an employee two days on, 1 day off and then another 2 days on to ensure that have enough of a break. But as restaurant employees are consistently switching shifts or picking up shifts it's up to you and your managers to make sure they're not sacrificing their well being for extra shifts. It's less about not wanting to pay overtime, but more about making sure the employee isn't burnt out!

Use numbers to estimate

Restaurants margins can be hard to predict; especially when holidays can create a rush. A Sunday night football game could fill a pub. A kids dance competition could spark a lunch rush. There’s no way to predict the exact amount of employees you’ll need. There’s too many factors.

However, you can get a rough estimate of what you should be expected. By tracking reservations and viewing last year's forecasted sales based on an average of time-of-day, day-of-the-week, and season, you can predict how many people will need to be served and how many staff members you’ll need to make it happen. It'll also help you plan your labor; and make sure that you can avoid understaffing (and overstaffing) the schedule.

Avoid “clopening” shifts

An employee should never open and close the restaurant in the same day. No matter the breaks, no matter the workload, no matter the industry. Some states and provinces have laws in place to ensure that this does not happen. Working in customer service can be draining. As a manager or owner, it's your responsibility to make sure that you're able to staff your restaurant without sacrificing employee's physical and mental well-being!

Provide proper training

You need to foster a work culture that promotes teamwork: each individual needs to perform complete their role to the best of their ability, support others, and pick up any potential lack. Hosting a weekly or monthly staff meeting can help refresh the staff on role responsibilities and keep your staff from repeating unnecessary work or continuing to make simple mistakes. Constantly training your staff can help them grow and keep your staff working together.

Mandate breaks

Employees need breaks. Whether it’s a five minute or a quick 10-15 minute snack, employees need to get off their feet and take some time for themselves. Managers should set up reminders for their staff and make sure they feel comfortable taking the break. Speaking of managers—you need a break to! And not just for your own sanity but to encourage the behavior with the staff; the best way to get your staff to do something is to do it yourself. Creating a culture of self-care is a great way to empower employees to take care of themselves and adjust when they feel overworked.

Check in, a lot

The best way to figure out how to help avoid overworking your employees? Ask them what’s stressing them out. Ask for feedback (“is there anything I can be doing better to support you?”). Check-in and see if they’re overwhelmed. For example, if a waitress is handling a tough customer, rather than assuming she’s okay, ask if she needs anything (a break? tactical support on the floor? a safe person to vent to? ). Communication can get you straight to the solution.


Restaurant Operations: Navigating Guest Holiday Parties

Restaurant Operations: Navigating Guest Holiday Parties

The holidays bring extra business and opportunity for restaurants. It’s an exciting time of year, but it typically means you’ll be juggling at least three weeks of holiday parties, business gatherings, and other events on top of the regular holiday rush.

Planning ahead, communicating with your staff, and developing specific policies and standards for holiday reservations will limit stress and help things run smoothly.

Create a holiday menu

Not only is a holiday menu fun and festive for customers, it also makes things lot easier for your employees. Offering a smaller, more specialized menu gives your kitchen staff fewer items to prepare and allows them to streamline their tasks.

Keep in mind that, since the holidays only come around once a year, customer expectations tend to be higher than usual. Although you may want to keep your holiday menu relatively small, special promotions such as holiday cocktails, desserts, or special entrées can be a great cross selling point.

Put a reservation checklist in place, and stick to it

A well-thought-out holiday reservation checklist can help ensure you, your staff, and the guests are on the same page. You'll be able to prevent possible unforeseen obstacles and miscommunication during shifts. Ideally, your reservation checklist should cover:

  • The confirmed number of guests  of the reservation. Maybe your dining room can only handle at large party at a time. In this case, you need to know how many people you need to accommodate to properly schedule your employees.
  • Rules about following up with reservations. For example, you may want to call the organizers of large parties 24 hours before their reservation as a reminder.
  • Going over cancellation policies with the reservation party. Unfortunately no-shows do happen but you can implement things like collecting deposits to cover any potential losses from a no-show.

Take notes on each party to help your staff prepare

Consider keeping a standardized sheet of questions to ask each party in advance of their reservation. Always make sure you get a name, phone number, date and time, and the number of guests in the party.

Ask about any dietary restrictions. You want to be sure you’re prepared for any vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free customers and that you’re aware of potential food allergies. Having this information in advance will make things a lot easier for you and your entire staff.

If possible, it’s helpful to ask large parties to pre-order. It’s also a good idea to ask whether the party expects to pay one bill or split checks before they .

Communicate early and often with your employees

It’s especially important that you and your employees communicate efficiently during this busy time of year. Consider posting an event calendar somewhere your entire staff can see. This way, they’ll know in advance what to expect during each shift.

You may also want to set up pre-shift meetings to communicate the day’s specific game plan. This allows you to review booked reservations, clarify channels of communication, and make sure your staff has a chance to ask questions.

Try to avoid disrupting regular dining services

While you want to accommodate the needs of holiday party guests, it’s important to keep other customers in mind. Try to space out reservations and always make sure you schedule enough employees to ensure regular dining services aren’t compromised.

Holiday events can get noisy. Consider placing large groups in the corner or back of the dining area to limit noise for other customers. For parties with lots of guests and special requests or dietary restrictions, you may even want to bring in an extra, dedicated server for the table to ease the stress on other servers.

In conclusion

Hosting holiday parties is a great opportunity to introduce your restaurant to new customers, increase profits, and work together with your staff. With the right planning, policies and communication, you can make sure the season goes smoothly for you, your employees, and all of your customers.

 


Restaurant Hiring: 5 Tips to Help You Stand Out from Your Competitors

Restaurant Hiring: Standing Out from Your Competitors

As a manager, you want to build a team of dedicated and enthusiastic employees to work with you every day and help your business thrive. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find and keep the right people, especially since restaurant managers face some of the highest turnover rates across all industries.

Finding the right employees can be a challenge. But how do you attract the right candidates when your competitors are trying to do the same? Here are 5 key things you can do to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

  1. Establish your brand culture

    You want potential employees to get a sense for what it means to be part of your team. This will guide the right people to your door, since they’ll already know what to expect. Consider the culture and brand you’re building and whether your current strategies and team members are reflecting that culture. Not only is a strong culture beneficial to your current employees and appealing to potential hires, it also attracts customers and helps guide you in decision-making.

  2. Personalize your job postings

    With 50% of millennials reporting that they’d accept a lower wage to work at a company that shares their values, it’s important that your job postings reflect your culture and brand. Paint a picture of what it means to be part of your team. Authenticity is key. Be creative, but don’t stray too far from what candidates expect to see. Highlighting your values in your job posting can set you apart from your competitors, but it’s still important to clearly outline daily responsibilities and preferred skills and experience.

  3. Stay organized

    Develop a well-oiled sourcing and hiring machine to reduce the pressure of the hiring process. Consider using an applicant tracking system to screen candidates, evaluate skills and experience, and check references. The goal is to streamline the process to easily find the right candidates who will be loyal and dedicated team members. If you don’t already, you might consider hiring an HR specialist. Their role will be solely dedicated to finding new recruits and making sure your current employees are happy.

  4. Establish an employee value proposition

    An employee value proposition (EVP) reflects all the things employees get in return for their hard work, time, and effort. It’s a great way to stand out to existing and potential employees against your competition. Your EVP should include everything from financial compensation and health benefits to work-life balance and career development opportunities.

    Whatever you include, make sure you communicate it clearly to applicants and that you’re able to deliver on it. Companies that are successful in keeping the promises made in their EVPs can decrease their turnover rates by almost 70%.

  5. Become a master interviewer

    A resume can tell you a lot, but interviews remain the best way to determine whether a candidate will be a good cultural fit. Ask strategic questions, using past experiences to guide you. Remember that an interview is a two-way street. You’re evaluating the candidate, but they’re also deciding whether or not they want to work for you. Use the interview not only as a way to vet candidates, but also to show them what type of manager you are and discuss expectations.

In short, the hiring process can be a challenge. Finding loyal and hardworking employees is made much easier when you know what you’re looking for; having a streamlined sourcing and hiring process; and differentiating your culture and brand from your competitors.

 

 


Restaurant Purchasing: Buying a Profitable Restaurant

Restaurant Purchasing: Buying a Profitable Restaurant

Ready to buy a restaurant? Congratulations! Now pump the breaks. Investing in a new business can be exciting but it’s important to be aware of the key factors that play a role in ensuring the restaurant you buy will be profitable for you.

Before you sign any leases, contracts, or agreements, here’s what you should do:

  1. Determine Your Goal

    Do you want to renovate or reuse the space? Most restaurant locations for sale will have an established flow and feel. When you’re shopping for your ideal space, keep in mind your brand goal, and if the space you’re touring has potential to fulfill your idea; or if you will have to invest in renovations to make it happen. You can also invest in a contractor to give you initial quotes while you’re still in the early stage of decision making.

  2. Establish the Type of Operations

    Do you want to purchase a franchise or open a local restaurant? There are pros and cons to both. Opening your own restaurant means more decisions and responsibilities. You have to determine a menu, an operational system, staff policies, a name, a brand, etc. It puts you in the driver’s seat, but it means more time and higher risk. With franchising, you adopt a successful method, but you have to make a substantial investment (and sacrifice independence). Evaluate the approach you’d prefer before buying a restaurant.

  3. Remember: Asking Price is not Purchase Price

    Good negotiating can get you the price you want, and EVERYTHING is negotiable. Buying an established restaurant? Consider bargaining for their used equipment in tandem with purchasing the property. It’s a win-win:  it can help your budget and streamline their sales processes. Throughout the entire negotiation process, keep in mind—theoretically—they want to sell (at least when logic trumps emotional attachment). Don’t be afraid to offer something within your budget to see if they’ll budge.

  4. Create a Checklist

    Buying a restaurant is a big decision: there are a lot of moving parts. To keep track of everything, create a checklist and stick to it. There are tools like state or provincial restaurant opening checklists that can help by giving you a good place to start, but ideally, you should make your own personalized checklist based on your individual circumstance.

  5. Get Good Advice

    When it comes to buying a profitable restaurant, you don’t have all the answers (or even know all the questions), and that’s okay. Instead of relying on your gut instincts and personal experience in the industry, look into hiring restaurant consultants or a restaurant broker to help mitigate the decisions you're making. Oftentimes, they’ll be aware of common pitfalls and patterns of success to help you build a successful foundation for your restaurant.

  6. Seek Legal Advice

    The most important thing when buying a business is knowing and understanding what you’re buying and why they’re selling it. No matter how attractive a restaurant looks on the outside, there could be hidden pitfalls. Seek legal advice, and conduct your own due diligence checklist. Hiring a lawyer to review anything you sign, and supervise your due diligence investigation, is an important way to minimize the costly risks in the transaction.

  7. Consider the Location

    Unless a restaurant is established as a popular brand, your restaurant won’t be worth anything if it’s in the middle of nowhere. The location matters. Consider proximity to office buildings (especially if you offer lunch), movie theaters (especially if you offer dinner), malls, schools, etc. Higher traffic means more sales, and more sales means higher profitability.

 


Buying a Restaurant: How to Find the Right Restaurant Broker

Buying a Restaurant: How to Find the Right Restaurant Broker

Buying a restaurant is a big step that requires a lot of planning, brainstorming, research and finding the right people to help you along the way. You may have accountants, legal experts, and financial planners on hand but a restaurant broker can connect the missing pieces. They're someone who’ll guide you along the complex process of finding the right restaurant, negotiating, closing the deal, and also staying in touch afterwards. Your relationship with your broker is such an important one that you need to invest some time in researching and finding the right broker before you even start looking around for a restaurant to buy. Here are 5 tips on how to find the right restaurant broker:

Asking the Right Questions

Hiring the right broker is not easy. Every broker can talk the talk but can they walk the walk? You want to find out early on about their background, experience, their track records and how big their network is. This requires you to ask the right questions of each broker your interview. This is an important job for them even if it’s a one time off thing. You’re sinking a lot of money in this business venture and you need to have the right people beside you to make it happen. Shortcuts have no place in this project and you don’t need someone who lacks the experience to handle this for you. After all, they're supposed to make things easier not harder!

The Right Broker with the Best Credentials

So what should you look for when you interview potential brokers? For one thing, the perfect broker would have wide access to a lot of properties for sale and/or lease. Without that access, your broker would need another broker and that’s not acceptable. And since restaurants are different from other businesses and properties, the broker should have good experience in this niche. Namely, buying and selling restaurants. There are a lot of moving parts and a broker who hasn’t done this before would not be able to offer their help or foresee potential problems in a certain restaurant location or property.

Legal Know-how

A restaurant broker worth their salt would also have good experience with the legal side of the venture. Not only would they know enough about legal contracts but also be able to cut through the legal jargon and complex contractual clauses to make sure the contract you sign doesn’t have a clause that is not in your favor. The broker would suggest how to make a contract airtight and protects you against any liability. Of course you’d need to hire a lawyer for that but having a broker who understands the legal side will come in handy when the lawyer is not present.

Why Networking is Important

Let’s face it, a broker who doesn’t have a big network that covers a big swath of the city has no business being a broker. It’s not just about knowing all the properties in the market but finding the one place or restaurant that fits your budget. In most cases your budget will have the final word deciding not just where your restaurant will be, but how large or small it will be. So if your broker only has access to properties that are way above your budget they won’t be of much help finding the right place for you. Make sure you and the broker are on the same page when it comes to your budget.

After-sale Connection

A good broker always stays in touch with you even after the deal has been closed and you’re now the proud owner of a new restaurant. This actually works both ways. It’s good for you to keep in contact with someone who’s been by your side all the time it took you to find, negotiate and sign the contract for your restaurant. You might need their help later when you decide to open another restaurant. At the same time the broker knows that a successful deal will fit nicely on their resume and they can get more business through you down the road.

Ultimately, if you land the right restaurant broker for your restaurant type with extensive research, you'll find a quality partner that'll be worth all the time you spent!


Restaurant Opening: Defining Your Target Customer

Restaurant Opening: Defining Your Target Customer

Defining your target customer is possibly one of the most critical aspects to consider when opening a restaurant. It is essential to ensure your restaurant business is a true success. Upserve.com reported that “As of 2017, the amount of money Americans spend on eating out has surpassed the amount they spend to eat at home.” With such a dramatic statistic in mind, any restaurant owner (present or future) must truly know what to expect when envisioning an ideal customer. Thinking of this from the framework of who, what, when, how, and why questions, restaurant owners must take the time to allow for thorough and constructive research. More specifically, they must ask themselves honestly:

  • Who will be eating at their establishment (ages, gender, population, income-level?)
  • What types of foods and service those target customers would enjoy (organic, vegan, BBQ, fast food, lunch, dinner?)
  • When will these people be enjoying your food (early in the morning before work, dinner, lunch, late night cafe/snacks?)
  • How will they be enjoying it (take-out, eat-in, delivery?)
  • Why they will be choosing your particular restaurant, perhaps over another similar brand?  

According to restaurant consultant Brandon O’Dell, “a target market is the portion of the population most likely to buy what you are selling. A target market ISN’T the portion of the population you want to sell your food to.” Since this is something that can change over time, it's very helpful to do annual target research. Whether you're opening your restaurant for the first time or doing an annual reboot of research of your target customer, it's helpful to keep in mind these 3 main concepts.

  1. Business Planning

    It's important to understand your brand which can be done by writing out your detailed business plan. Essentially you can consider this an effective tool where you're able to put into writing what your brand brings to the table, and who your customers are. This is the time to really think about what your target customers care about. Consider other specifics such as the gender, age, hobbies, and income level, etc. of your ideal customer. While working to align your products with your ideal customer, think about what your ideal customer looks like. What do they believe in and value most? What're their purchasing patterns and habits? These types of nuances will help you define and market your target audience.

    Additionally, consider what problem you're trying to solve. This is a broad way to consider all of the “ingredients”  going into your brand. While writing your business plan, think of how your target customer will experience your brand. Don't be overly concerned about who may pop into your restaurant and there. Your business plan should be focused on who your audience actually is if you were to open your doors today.

  2. Consider Location & Target Demographics

    You'll want to make sure that you thoroughly consider the location and demographics of the area where you plan to open your restaurant. One way to research your market and target location is by using tools such as census.gov in the United States or  statcan.gc.ca in Canada. These tools will provide you with an estimate of the population in your target area. It's important to know the demographics and your target audience to ensure that your brand is aligned to their consumer needs. This will help your business become financially successful.

    As a restaurant owner, time should be taken to research trends in your target location; as well scoping local and virtual competition. Become involved in the community and get to know the area, the vibe, be a part of local events, participate in networking opportunities, and festivals. Connect with your local Chamber of Commerce to find out more about the population, trends, and other useful information. Also, formal or informal polls, research agencies, consultants, and other local business statistics will be helpful as you work to figure out your target demographic.

  3. Marketing Considerations for your Target Customer

    When considering marketing strategies, it's essential to think about how your target customer is defined. This includes how your audience generally receives information. For example, are your target customers millennials who are always on social media and love a good Instagram boomerang? Are your target customers largely a retired population who still read the local newspaper and value area community news stations to get their information. Marketing to the wrong audience can be a detrimental mistake for your business.

    Continuously working to analyze who is responding to your marketing strategies are also very important to your business growth and success. Keep in mind your target customer and the personal nuances of that audience. Does your target population live or work within x amount of miles where you're hoping to open your establishment? What types of things does this demographic care about?  Do they value organic food and a sit down relaxing atmosphere where recycling and local farm-to-table practices are valued? Or do they enjoy a quick meal on the go because they're a college town?

    Regardless of the service you offer, once you know your marketing demographic even more thoroughly, you will be able to communicate with that  target audience more effectively and in creative ways to reach them effectively.

In Conclusion

As a restaurateur wishing to open an establishment in a particular area, keep in mind that "your target market picks you," explains Brandon ODell. Regardless of who you end up defining your target customer as it is paramount to target that customer and get to know that audience as if they were a friend. The three factors mentioned above help any restaurant owner think constructively about their target audience in a way that allows for individualization of offerings and marketing efforts accordingly. After all, you are offering a service! Those willing to patronize your restaurant will more likely find you authentic and valuable if they feel that you truly know them.

 


5 Things to Consider for Reservation Software

5 Things to Consider for Reservation Software

Ready or not, technology is here to make our lives easier. Restaurant technology is no different for business owners. Restaurant.org reported that “32 percent restaurant operators consider their operations to be lagging when it comes to technology use. This is quite concerning considering that technology can work to make or break a restaurant owner’s hard work and business potential. This is especially true since 73% of diners believe that using restaurant technology can help improve their own experiences as a guest.

Since customers are the “bread and butter” of a restaurant’s success, it is important to use technology to help get customers in the door and then coming back. Reservation software is one way that technology has helped streamline this process and eliminate the panic of having available tables. Examples of the most  widely used reservation software are: OpenTable, Reserve, Yelp Reservations, Resy, Eveve, DINR, Table Agent, Tablein, Bento Box and Toast.

The decision of which to use is unique to the restaurant. It can be best determined after assessing a restaurant’s needs and examining the key features of this type of software. Here are 5 key questions based on features to consider.

  1. Do I Want Customers To Make Reservations Through An App Or Directly Through My Website?

    This is something to consider when selecting a reservation software. You may want customers to make a reservation directly through your website so that they become familiar with your site and come back often. If you want to partner with the reservation software app, you may be able to get additional reach from customers who did not even think about dining with you. The app may suggest your restaurant. You may also choose a software that allows you to do both. Some websites hosts, such as Wordpress, have plugins, like Restaurant Reservations to facilitate this. Running Google advertisements can be used to funnel users your website to make reservations!

  2. What Cost Am I Willing To Invest?

    There are a variety of cost-effective ways to take reservations using technology. They vary from free to monthly or annual packages upwards of $1,000. Some contain fees per reservation that go back to the software company. It depends upon your needs, your investment choice, and weighing the worth and return on investment. Only you, as a restaurant owner can effectively decide this.

  3. Do I Want My Reservation Option Linked Closely to My Restaurant’s Reviews?

    Another option for easy reservations is through Yelp Reservations. This is a great way to “close the sale!” A customer comes to Yelp seeking a great restaurant, then upon seeing your wonderful reviews, can easily transition to making a reservation. This may not be the best situation if a restaurant has negative reviews. This may actually have the opposite effect. Another example is through Facebook. Business pages on Facebook are able to not only have people write recommendations or review them with the star system, but they may also allow for reservations.

  4. Do I Want Integration With Other Apps, Systems, Or POS Software?

    Toast is a POS software system that is able to work with other applications. Another example is Bento Box that provides website hosting for restaurants and includes features like reservations for customers. Some reservation software easily converts to an application that customers can download and use quickly. Others may not have a user-friendly app, but may be linked directly to their website or connect with software that the restaurant already uses. In all of these instances, it is most important to discover what would be the best set-up for you. This is especially important if you are not as tech savvy as you would like. Sometimes, one fully-integrated website server with multi-functionality works best.

  5. What is the Technical Support Like?

    This is another important question to ask yourself, especially if you are likely to need additional guidance or possible troubleshooting. It’s possibly that Murphy’s Law comes into play on a busy Saturday evening when you really need your reservation software functioning perfectly. Some software companies boast 24/7 support. Others have normal business hours or extended ones that may not accommodate emergencies.

 

Some Pros:

Reservation software assists restaurants by making it easier for customers to reserve a table and can potentially reduce customer wait times. It also frees up restaurant employees from answering phone inquiries and trying to organize seating and tables, which allows more time to interact with customers. Another benefit is that managers are better able to schedule and plan,  adjusting marketing strategies in a pinch. Reservation software can also help to prepare kitchen staff for a slower or busier shift. Many of these systems are also able to be accommodate integration into other platforms allowing them to work with website hosting and other apps or POS systems. Another pro is that some of the apps, such as Resy for example, are able to coordinate  two-way texting.

Some Cons:

There are also some cons to consider. One con is that some applications, like OpenTable, for example, use dining points that are app-centered. This means that they do not necessarily have to be used at only your restaurant and therefore not restaurant-centered loyalty points. Another thing to keep in mind is that some reservation applications can lead to a loss of money as some may contain difficult-to-understand cost structures and hidden fees.

With the multitude of restaurant available on each platform, depending on the software of your choice, your restaurant could get lost in the shuffle. One app in particular, Resy, provides diners with featured restaurants to choose from. Even if you pay for the software, it is possible that your restaurant may or may not be featured. Also, some reservation software are geographically limited which also limits reach and target marketing opportunities.

In Conclusion

Since 95% of restaurant owners believe that technology can have largely positive results, it is essential to invest in the ones that work best for your individual restaurant. More than 80% of restaurants are turning to technology  to help their businesses succeed. As a result, restaurant owners have some work to do. There are many ways to allow restaurant reservation software to benefit your business. The hardest part is selecting which one is best for your business. Once you find the best fit for your business, the rest is gravy!  

 

Please note that this article has not been promoted by any software provider, all thoughts are our own.


Restaurant Operations: Holiday Preparation Tips

Restaurant Operations: Holiday Preparation Tips

The holiday season marks one of the most busy and exciting times of the year for families and businesses. Restaurant sales can increase significantly during the final months of the year, so it’s important to make sure you and your staff are adequately prepared.

Here are a few tips to help you plan for a smooth and profitable holiday season:

Hire well in advance

More business means more work, and many restaurants find they require additional help during the holiday season. Hiring temporary employees in advance can help you maintain your usual standard of customer service; and it will also prevent your current employees from becoming overworked.

You don’t want to put off seasonal hiring until the last minute. Beginning your search as early as possible will give you plenty of time to train your new employees and allow them to get acclimated before the chaos of the holiday rush.

Pay attention to past data when deciding how many people to hire

The best way to prepare for the holiday season and figure out how much additional help your restaurant operations will need is to look at your staffing and sales records from past years. For example, were there certain days or weeks you were particularly short-staffed last year? Were there days you experienced overstaffing? Did you have enough servers but not enough people in the kitchen?

Using data from past years will help make sure you have the right number of employees scheduled during the times you really need them.

Set up time-off rules well in advance

Communication is key, and this is especially true during the holidays. You’ll want to make sure you give your employees plenty of advance notice when it comes to blackout dates, time off, and any rules you have about swapping or trading shifts.

Establishing your holiday staffing rules well in advance will make things easier on both you and your employees. It will help you plan for the busy season; and it will also allow your employees to make the most of their days off.

Implement a strong training process to ensure smooth sailing

Although seasonal employees may be temporary hires, they’ll be representing your business the same way your full-time staff does, so it’s important not to cut any corners when it comes to training them.

One of the best things you can do is to ask your more experienced employees to help train and mentor your seasonal ones. Not only will this help new hires get acclimated, but it will also aid in team building; and help make sure everyone works well together.

Set goals for your staff to keep things fun and profitable

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, including your employees. This is especially true if you’re asking them to work long or inconvenient hours. Do what you can to keep things light and fun.

For example, consider setting up a competition between the day and night shifts to see who can sell the most seasonal specials. You may even choose to provide a reward to the winners (like holiday concert tickets or a gift certificate).

There’s a lot to look forward to and plan for during the holiday season. It’s a chance to grow your business; bond with your existing employees; and bring in new people to lend a helping hand. The best thing you can do for both you and your staff is to plan ahead and keep a positive attitude!


Restaurant Marketing: How to Market your Restaurant

7 Things You Should Be Doing to Market Your Restaurant

Marketing is both a science and an art. But you don’t need to have a marketing degree to put your restaurant on the map. In fact, the internet and social media have made it quite easy to spread the word around and feature your restaurant on the most popular platforms at a fraction of the cost other traditional media advertising would charge you. But in the overcrowded market and with a lot of competition you need to know what you’re doing if you want to stand out. The following 7 marketing strategies will help you get the attention of your customers and increase your business.

 

Have a marketing budget

One of the first rules of sound marketing is to establish a marketing budget. Without a budget, you won’t be able to set a feasible plan to target the media outlets that you want to feature your restaurant on. A budget, on the other hand, will help you pace your marketing campaign so that you don’t run out of funds pretty quickly and miss out on peak seasons. No matter how big or small your budget is, setting aside resources for marketing is always a great idea to start your advertising.

 

Engage customers

One of the main things that get customers to pay attention to your message is to have a unified voice. From a catchy slogan to having a mascot, your message should be identifiable, easy to recognize and have a common theme. That way whenever and wherever customers and potential clients see your ad they will associate it with you. It’s also a good idea to respond to online reviews to show that their opinion matters.

 

Interactivity

In this day and age, interactivity is desirable. Not just on your website but on the online menus. Give them an experience where they get to click around and see what each menu item contains, what makes it special. Also, consider online ordering. It opens the market for a wider audience and brings more business than in-house service.

 

Loyalty Programs

Rewarding returning customers should be a priority to show them how much you care about them. Offering them coupons and discounts is another way of thanking them and also making sure they stay loyal. On that note, consider sending out newsletters and emails about major events, special occasions, promotions, and discounts. Customers need reminders that they haven’t been to your restaurant for some time.

 

Utilize customer data

Learning about your customers is the best way to offer them a unique experience and make sure they’re satisfied with the food and the service. What they order, where they prefer to sit, how they like their drink, and how long they like to stay. These are all valuable information that you can use to give each customer that personal touch that makes them feel valued and special.

 

Blogger outreach

Blogging is one of the best and most affordable ways to reach new customers. Blogs are platforms that can be read from anywhere; especially if people read blogs on their phones (which explains their popularity). Also because bloggers talk about their personal experiences, it makes their word real, unbiased (usually) and more trustworthy than ads. A blog entry talking about what a fabulous time the blogger had at your restaurant will go a long way bringing new clients to your doorstep.

 

Ask guests to spread the word

Much like blogging, word of mouth is a lot more convincing than the most lavish advertising campaign. Social media will work to your advantage if you ask your customers to talk about their experience at the restaurant. In fact, your clients sometimes won’t need an invitation. On their own, they’d snap selfies with the food and post them to their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So the happier your customers are at your restaurant the more positive the messages they send on the internet. It’s free publicity and works like a charm.

 

Marketing your restaurant is not as a complex process as you think and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. Following those steps will get you the results you seek.


restaurant-equipment-how-to-not-overspend

Restaurant Equipment: How to Not Overspend

Before you open a new restaurant, you need a few things. You need refrigerators, ovens, cutlery, freezers, appliances, and software. These are just a few items that are necessities. But the most important part of running a restaurant? You need equipment. Finding equipment is another step on a restaurant opening checklist but it's stressful. Making smart investments in your equipment can set your restaurant up for success, reduce unforeseen costs, and increase efficiency levels.

This article is here to help you navigate your equipment needs—helping you make the right choice while and minimize mistakes that lead to overspending (in both the short and long run).

Focus on Right, Not New

The right equipment isn’t necessarily the newest. New equipment is expensive, and it starts depreciating the second you buy it. That means you immediately lose value on your balance sheet. So, instead, consider buying used.

When you’re buying equipment, compare prices of the new and old equipment. If the used equipment is significantly less expensive and seems well cared for, consider buying that instead. Check for rust and unreported damages. Haggle with the seller. Sometimes, used equipment is even still covered by the previous owner’s warranty, helping boost your purchase comfort. It takes more research and more risk, but you can save almost 70% by buying used over new.

Choose Energy Efficient

Making a smart decision about your equipment is all about balance. Sometimes, cutting cost is smart (like buying used) but sometimes, it’s equivalent to cutting corners. One sacrifice you shouldn’t make for a cheaper price tag is energy efficiency.

Investing in energy efficient equipment helps save on a recurring, monthly cost: electricity. In the short run, it will cost more to invest in energy efficiency, but that investment will add up. Cutting back on the utility bill, by even the smallest margin, can help your bottom line. To add, it’s also better for environmental sustainability (yay! going green).

Buy a Tablet

In our digital world, technology is a smart investment. More and more restaurants are introducing software to every aspect of the restaurant experience—both for customers and staff. There are countless restaurant POS software providers to streamline ordering and reporting. Plus, rather than the traditional punch card system, there’s also tablet software to help track employee hours.

Tablets are a great duo use tool. Why? It can house both point-of-sale software (which can include ordering, reports, etc) and it may also house time tracking software (if applicable). Buying a tablet helps save space, especially if you don't have the room to house a big point-of-sale system, increase staff efficiency between kitchen and bar staff, and cut the cost of additional a hardware purchase.

Keep Maintenance Low

Long term maintenance of your equipment matters too. There will be inevitable upkeep: things will break, and you’ll need to fix it. However, it is possible to decrease depreciation rates. In general, purchase commercial grade equipment—it can handle heavy duty service. Also, think about material. Stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, and wood are popular materials in the restaurant business.

Why? Most of these are resistant to corrosion, discoloration, and rust. Stainless steel is great for kitchen utensils, resistant to corrosion and discoloration.  Galvanized steel, coated with zinc, is reliable for counters. Aluminum doesn’t burn. Research materials and spend money where it makes the most sense for your restaurant and budget.

But, the best equipment won’t survive poor care. Everyday interactions from careless staff can hurt equipment. Train your staff to clean and use the equipment properly to ensure a longer lifespan and less repairs.

In Conclusion

Unless you’re acquiring a functional restaurant, buying restaurant equipment is an expensive, but inevitable, cost. To avoid overspending, you need to balance price and quality. The right equipment is worth the investment.


5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Franchise

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Franchise

Buying a franchise is a major financial, professional, and personal decision. If you want to open a restaurant, but don’t want to set up a whole new business system and brand, franchising may be a good option.

However, like any business venture, investing in and operating a franchise requires time, money, hard work, and dedication. It’s important to do plenty of research and make sure you understand what you’re getting into; especially before you decide to invest in a franchise.

Here are 5 things every potential franchisee should consider:

1. Understand what franchising entails

Before you sign any contracts, it’s important to make sure you have a thorough understanding of the logistics and legalities of buying and operating a franchise. Franchising differs from setting up your own business in some key ways, and you may want to seek the advice of a franchise attorney, accountant, and/or consultant to help you navigate the process.

You’ll also want to do as much independent research as possible on individual franchisers and franchising in general. The more information you have, the better.

2. Figure out what you’ll need and what your franchiser will provide

Each franchise system operates differently according to its size, structure, and culture. Some provide extensive training and support, while others only offer limited assistance. You’ll want to make sure you understand exactly what level of support you can expect to receive from your franchiser, and what you’ll need to bring to the table yourself.

At the very least, you’ll be given the right to use your franchiser's name, menu, and system of business and benefit from whatever resources, training, and support they provide. However, there are some additional costs associated with franchising you’ll need to consider. These include your initial franchise fee and ongoing royalty payments.

Initial fees vary greatly from franchise to franchise. The average is between $20,000 and $35,000, but they can be as low as $10,000 or as high as $100,000. Royalty fees are typically around 5-6% of gross revenue, but also vary. Depending on what franchise system you buy into, you may also be charged marketing fees.

3. Distinguish between U.S. and Canadian franchises

Not all foreign-based franchisers have modified their documents to conform to Canadian law; particularly if you’re considering buying into a U.S. franchise system. It’s important to keep in mind that their agreements may not address Canadian withholding taxes or international supply laws.

It’s a good idea to consult an attorney before investing in a foreign franchise to avoid unforeseen problems or costs.

4. Consult with other franchisees

One of the best ways to get a sense for what franchising entails is to talk to other franchisees about their experiences and what they’ve learned along the way. They’re bound to have insights into what it’s like to work with the franchiser and what level of support you can expect to receive.

Whether you reach out to them by phone, email, or in person, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions prepared. This will help you get the most out of each conversation you have.

5. Establish your goals and objectives

Before you decide to invest in a franchise, it’s important to think about your short- and long-term goals and develop a detailed plan to achieve them. What are you hoping to accomplish? Do you have particular financial and organizational targets you want to reach? Every franchise and individual is different, so focus on the things that truly matter to you.

It’s also important to manage your expectations, and be aware that you’re bound to run into obstacles and bumps in the road on your journey to success. You’ll be better prepared to tackle these hurdles if you have well-developed goals and objectives from the start.

Before you make the decision to purchase a franchise, you’ll want to make sure you’ve weighed your pros and cons and done your due diligence. With the right planning and preparation, you’ll have the tools and know-how you need to be successful.


restaurant staffing: generation z

Restaurant Staffing: What You Need to Know About Gen Z

Restaurants are turning to the next cohort as millennials approach midlife. Generation Z (born mid–’90s through to early 2010s) are your future workforce. If you’ve been doing things right, they may already make up a significant portion of your staff. Employment of teens and young adults in hospitality and retail is significant. Over 80% of Gen Z say they got their first paid job in a restaurant, and the majority (by over 70%!) would recommend the experience.

On the other side of the table, eating out is more popular than ever. (There’s also evidence that Gen Z exert greater control over food purchases.) The restaurant industry is projected for growth to the tune of 1.6 million new jobs over the next decade. Here’s the catch: Gen Z is not a large cohort. The  young adult population most likely to work in restaurants is declining over the next decade, to the tune of 1.3 million positions.

That’s an anticipated shortfall of nearly three million fewer employees than needed. And since the robot revolution is not yet here, it’s already putting pressure on restaurants to get more competitive with their hiring and employee retention strategies. You need a plan to bypass the labor crisis and grow your business by connecting with Gen Z. Remember: most of them are already open to the idea of working for you. You just need to give them a reason to pick you over your competitor.

Here’s how:

It’s all about the experience.

In a job seeker’s market, employees are less likely to put up with a work situation; especially if it doesn’t meet their needs. Gen Z award top points for workplace cultures that offer recognition, team atmosphere, and flexibility—and they may define these things differently than you do. Get strategic, get innovative, and make changes accordingly.

 

They want to play nice.

Gen Z is more likely to walk away from high stress environments. Kitchens are one of the hardest environments to work in. In some cases kitchen banter can be interpreted as abusive, bullying, or abrasive. For instance, being yelled at (as popularized by reality TV star chefs) is generally interpreted as severe personal criticism by Gen Z employees. They don’t like feeling judged, overwhelmed, or uncertain. But they do like guidance, mentorship, and feedback. Great leaders and supervisors will take you far.

 

They value diversity.

A good team atmosphere doesn’t suppress the individual for the benefit of the whole. Rather, it equips each individual to bring a unique contribution. Recognition has to be sincere, individual, and preferably, tied to opportunity. Flexibility also needs to offer real work–life balance; Gen Z staff are more likely to simply quit when the job gets in the way of their other goals. And they want these benefits to be offered to everyone.

 

Plan for turnover.

Even if you do everything right, don’t expect your Gen Z staff to stay with you forever. They grew up in an unstable world therefore they’re highly adapted to change. While more than a third aspire to grow in the industry, they’re also comfortable making frequent moves. Invest in excellent training and relationship building so former employees return, boost your reputation, or recommend you to your next hire.

 

Engage with vision.

Honest vision goes a long way. While Gen Z employees are keen on social and environmental causes, the important thing is to be genuine and consistent with your vision. Transparency and vulnerability will take you further than a slick line, and don’t be surprised when your Gen Z staff are the first to call you out if you do slip up.

 

While demand in the restaurant and food services sector is already high, it’s only going to become increasingly competitive. But making your restaurant a great place to work not only helps you beat the staffing shortage, it makes you more appealing to your customers—who will increasingly be part of that same Gen Z cohort.

 


6 Hidden Profit Sucks at Your Restaurant (& How to Fix Them)

Restaurant margins are low. That means, for your restaurant’s bottom-line, every decision matters. So, here are some hidden profit killers and how you can make adjustments to maximize your bottom line.

  1. Credit Card Processing Fees

    On average, a transaction fee for a $100 charge can be around $2.50 to $3. It’s why a lot of businesses opt for “cash only” policies (but that policy doesn’t work for everyone). With more and more customers choosing cards over cash, these small spends can add up fast.

    Do research.

    Look into multiple vendors instead of just one. Use your restaurant's factors (total volume, average transaction size, etc.) to do some comparisons. Choosing the best merchant service provider for your model can minimize costs and save you money every swipe.

  2. Disorganized Employee Shift Management

    One of the biggest costs to restaurants is the labor. On average, the payroll for restaurants is 25%-35% of gross sales. Too many people will require employees being sent home and possibly being paid a daily minimum. Too few people can result in overtime expenses. To keep the costs as low as possible, it’s about finding the right balance.

    Schedule smart.

    Teach your management team to review the schedule and look for opportunities to make it better. When is the restaurant busiest? What are the common dead times? Track your customer flow and find patterns. Keep an eye on team members capacity and, when you can, send staff home early. Lastly, be familiar with overtime labor laws, both nationally and in your state. The variables in the everyday operations are flexible, your scheduling should be too.

  3. Too Much Technology

    Technology can be helpful. It can simplify processes and make an experience modern. But too much can be smothering, for your customers, your staff, and you. It adds new procedures, and new procedures can slow processes down. Additionally, technology requires upkeep, updates, and upgrading.

    Eliminate clutter.

    Take an audit: differentiate what type of things you need and what you don’t. Evaluate systems based on your unique business needs. Should you use an iPad POS or a cloud-based POS? Small business software vs. multi-location business software? Sometimes what’s “the best option industry-wide” isn’t best for how your business works.

  4. Stagnant or Inaccurate Food vs Labor Cost

    With sales being the main profit driver and labor being the biggest cost, it’s important to monitor your food to labor cost ratio. You need the right menu, with the right margins. Analyzing your current menu and making adjustments can help boost the sales to cost ratio for the entire business.

    Raise the prices.

    Not every customer is price sensitive. People are willing to pay for the value of a great experience. Match their expectations and raise your price. One way to increase the value of the menu is seasonal menus. Buying local, fresh ingredients adds value with the current farm-to-table trend. You can also leverage social media to be transparent with customers about the processes behind your food to show them why it’s worth the cost.

  5. Underestimating the Value of Great Customer Service

    Restaurants aren’t about the food. It’s about the experience—the atmosphere, the company, and the customer service. Great service boosts tips. It can build trust, loyalty, and word-of-mouth. But bad customer service can have the opposite effect, sinking your sales (and your bottom line).

    Care about the customer.

    Training shouldn’t stop after a new hire’s first week. To help your staff deliver the best service possible, you need to educate them on the menu and remind them to prioritize the customer. One way to do this is through weekly team meetings, where your staff can ask managers questions, try new dishes, and boost team building (happier staff, means happier customers).

  6. Underutilizing your Staff

    Your staff have power: they’re the direct line from you to the customer. It’s important that they not only prioritize the customer, but also the profit of the restaurant.

    Empower your staff

    A little financial transparency with your staff is smart. Educating your staff on the food with the highest margin (or with the lowest shelf time), allows them to strategically promote dishes. Cross selling and upselling can help add to your profit (and their tip).

 


Restaurant Sales: 4 Upselling and Cross-Selling Tips

Restaurant Sales: 4 Upselling and Cross-Selling Tips

The main objective of any restaurant owner is exceptional customer service. According to a recent survey, 95% of customers feel that great customer service is a major factor in choosing a restaurant. Upselling and cross-selling are two techniques that double as ways to provide exemplary customer service and increase restaurant profits.

Though upselling and cross-selling both encourage an increase in purchasing behavior, they require slightly different techniques. Upselling involves the employee selling additional items or “add-ons” to increase the price of a particular selection. For example, a customer orders a basic cheeseburger that comes with minimal toppings; however, additional specialty toppings such as avocado, bacon, or coleslaw can be added for additional cost. Upselling in this case would involve the server asking if the premium extras were wanted, to make that cheeseburger sell at a higher profit margin. Cross-selling in this situation, would encourage the purchase of “extras” to go along with and compliment the customer purchase. This could include upselling some fries or a quality beer instead of a water to go along with the burger.

 To help boost sales and improve guest experiences, here are four ways to effectively upsell and cross-sell to build relationships and increase profit.

Teach Sales (and Social) Skills

Employee are the face to your business; and armed with the proper tools will make them the best asset. Employees should be trained across all spectrums of serving. This should include menu knowledge, selling techniques and social skills. These skills will allow them the opportunity to connect with customers and provide them truly individualized service - without sounding pushy. Training employees on a regular and ongoing basis is essential. The most important skill from training should include how to naturally provide specific product recommendations in a way that is transparent and casual.

Employee training should also consider social skills, cues, and body language. For example, a couple on a date may be more likely to buy into the upsell vs a table of execs in a lunch meeting. Teaching these social skills, along with ongoing menu training, selling high-profit margin items, and complementary products, can help nurture relationships with customers. It can be used with technology and analytics to help subtly personalize additional suggestions in a way that ultimately creates higher profit margins.

Counteract Customer Menu Hacks

Restaurant employees must also consider that “menu hacks” are a “thing.” What this means is that your amazing customers are always looking for a deal. At the same time, they value quality and trust that you will bring that to them at an affordable price. One way for servers and waitstaff to continue to maximize profits and work on upselling and cross-selling is to personalize high profit items. In this way, focusing on a higher profit item will still increase sales; but it will also satisfy the customer's wish of good value and experience.

For example, maybe a couple wants to split a steak entree. In this scenario, the server can personalize their choice by recommending a higher profit steak. Say they were going to split a 12 oz sirloin and two sides; but the server suggests the 12oz rib eye with one side and an appy instead. In this case, the profit margin is higher, but the guests' experiences are still personalized.

By keeping in mind what they were going to originally choose demonstrates an effort to get to know the customer. This adds value to their experience while validating their choice to “hack” the menu.

Sell the Value

Be clear about the value that you are providing to your customers. There are several ways to integrate selling value with upselling and cross-selling. One way is demonstrate this value is to leverage off previous praise or testimonials from past guests. This doesn't mean you should only sell the things that previous guests have liked. Rather its about recommending something that previous diners, who are similar to your current guests, enjoyed. A great cross-selling technique would be recommending guests share popular dishes or offering a tasting menu for new guests.

An upselling technique for a new guest could be if they are debating between a dinner special with a higher profit margin vs. a recurring menu item. Your server could sell the exclusivity of the dinner special! When customers demonstrate uncertainty when making a decision, employees can take this opportunity to help them come to a decision on their own by getting to know and providing them with personalized recommendations. When customers are unsure of a decision, they will be more likely to allow help in  if they trust the person recommending an option. Building trust is essential to selling value.  

Understand Purchasing Behavior

Customer behavior can be understood using technology and tools that analyze purchasing behavior.  In turn, this information can be used to tailor technology such as e-menus and tabletop ordering, which have actually been found to increase appetizer and dessert profits.

A general question that can be asked at the beginning of a service is if a guest has dined with you before. In this case, you can gauge why they've chosen to visit your establishment. Perhaps they've come in to try a dessert dish. In this case, you can suggest a wine pairing.  Or if you find that a number of guests are coming in for a cocktail that they saw on social media, maybe create a special dish to accompany it.

Another benefit to understanding purchasing behavior is the more you know your customers, the better you can market and reach them in a way that demonstrates your brand authority. If a dinner special consistently sells out, try adding it permanently to the menu. You can also recommend wine pairing with it. In this case, returning guests will feel valued, and cross-selling a wine pairing is made easy,

Cross-selling and upselling techniques do not have to be obvious, blatant or annoying. In fact, the more natural the process is, the more helpful it is in not only adding profit in the long-term, but helping build valuable customer relationships, causing them to return regularly. They not only will feel important and loved, but they will experience true value in visiting your brand.


Restaurant Sales: Customer Retention

Restaurant Sales: How Customer Retention Affects Revenue

The 80/20 Rule and Why Repeat Customers Make 80% of Your Revenue

The number of items a customer orders isn't where you'll find your biggest profit generator. A single table that orders 30 items once a year won't be where your profits lie. Rather, it's the table who orders 15 items but return once a week. Ordering more items on the menu isn’t the only reason why restaurants experience big leaps in profits. It's the customers who enjoy their experience, and consistently return to your establishment. Studies show that even a 5% increase in customer retention leads to an increase in profits up to 95% and retaining customers is by far more inexpensive than acquiring new ones. This, is why (if you aren't already) you should be working on investing in customer retention initiatives. After all,  loyal customers are returning customers.

Here are 3 strategies to encourage customers to return.

Research

First, you need to know your baseline. How many repeat customers do you have? What are the profiles of your repeat customers? Are there any similarities between the people who visit your restaurant on a regular basis? If your restaurant POS doesn't have robust reporting qualities, try an email campaign for feedback. According to a study done by Oracle58% of guests would exchange personal details in exchange for a personalized offer or promotion.

In this case, a comped dessert is priceless for personal customer data! Within the data, you'll be able to figure out factors that differentiate between one-time buyers and those who are likely to come back. This will help reveal your strengths and what people like about your restaurant. You'll be able to track your progress and it'll help determine out who your ideal client is. The more you know about your clients’ tastes and lifestyles, the more you can tweak things like your menu, or employee training methods as needed!

Personalization

Secondly, you need to tap into your existing data. Restaurant point-of-sale systems allow your staff to collect data and anticipate preferences. You'll be able to keep track of your customers’ habits like how long they'll dine for, what dishes and drinks are typically ordered, etc. By personalizing a guest's experience, they'll more than likely return! Details such as allergies, preferences, or birthdays can make a big difference. Who wouldn’t like to be served a free dessert for their birthday when they go out to their favorite restaurant? These sort of small gestures lead to lifetime clients and a steady stream of recommendations.

Loyalty

Thirdly, you need to implement practices that ensure customers are loyal to you. This can mean a number of things like providing the best service possible, offering complimentary appys if there's a wait. In a competitive market like the restaurant industry, loyalty is ket. Repeat customers are responsible for the bulk of your income. For example, an Oracle study found that of 52% of customers will recommend to others the restaurants they are most loyal too. Word of mouth still welds more power than any ad or marketing campaign because it’s considered to be real experiences by real people. If a guest enjoys their experience with your establishment, it's likely they'll recommend it to others ... on top of returning. It's like a snowball effect! If guests keep recommending your restaurant, the new visitors will likely recommend to others in their social circle or network!

 

 


Cutting Restaurant Costs

Cutting Restaurant Costs: 10 Easy Steps

“A penny saved is a penny earned” couldn’t ring more true than in the restaurant industry. On average, the net profit margin is 5%-15%.  That’s tight. Why? Because COGS (cost of goods sold) is high: the payroll, rent, utilities, credit fees, and food add up.

Here’s 10 tips on how you can reduce the cost of running your restaurant and, ultimately, increase your bottom line.

Operations Cost Savings

  1. Stop Wasting Food

    The average restaurant wastes up to 75,000 pounds of food annually. With food being one of the biggest variable costs in running a restaurant, making the best use of it can maximize your margins. One way to do this is by planning. Your chef should have a detailed prep list — what ingredients they need, how much, and when — every day. Adjusting weekly trends from your POS (point-of-sale) data can help make estimates strong and reliable. In addition, have the kitchen and wait staff abide by the “first in, first out” principle. Clearly label containers and stack items like a grocery store, putting the old in the front and the new in the back.

  1. Turn It Off

    Utility costs average between 2.5-4.5% of overall sales. We live in a time of smart houses and smart kitchens. Take advantage of it. Most commercial thermostats have times that give you control. You can set a schedule for heating and cooling to coincide with your hours. Another quick fix? Turn off the burners, fryers, and ovens when your staff isn’t using them.

  1. Buy Used

    The restaurant business has a relatively high failure rate: take advantage of it. New equipment loses value like a new car driving off of the lot. When it comes to buying big, industrial items, buying used is buying smart. Vetted equipment sites like BOE is a great resource for used tools and appliances.

  2. Go Digital

    Introducing...tablets! Using digital menus and receipts save you money in overhead for those receipt rolls. It can also save you labor costs; going digital with your cash register allows you to easily track credit transactions and waiter tips without wading through the physical receipts. A bonus? Customers love it.  73% of diners agree that technology elevates their restaurant experience.

Labor Cost Savings

  1. Track Employee Hours

    One of the biggest costs of a restaurant is the people: the bussers, the hostesses, the waitresses, the chefs, the managers. It’s the payroll. Overtime is one of the fastest ways costs add up. Holidays and busy times can cause miscalculations in payment that can cost you money. Hiring a manager to track schedules and instill employee clock enforcements can help save money and keep employees from racking up too many unauthorized hours. Additionally, hiring an accountant or purchasing software to manage Holiday Pay and other unique circumstances can streamline the process and minimize human errors.

  1. Schedule Smarter

    The restaurant business is not repetitive, so neither should be your employee schedule. Use your POS system to learn when—throughout the day, week, month, and year—your restaurant is busiest and when it’s not. Make adjustments to your weekly template to fit the restaurant's needs. Every week, create a labor schedule based on estimated sales and customer counts. This can boost your bottom line and your staff’s morale. Overcrowded shifts can cause employees to get lower tables and fewer tips, and fewer tips means unhappy employees. With employee retention at a low 60% in the industry and an average annual cost is around $146,600 due to training (and training and training), improving employee retention can cut costs. A stagnant schedule will mean higher upfront (and hidden) costs.

  2. Be Transparent with Employees

    A common practice in restaurants is to count the money each night to square up the cash in the register with the receipts. Don’t make it about theft, make it about procedure; clarify with your employees that you trust them, but it’s necessary for your account book. No one wants to work under “Big Brother.” If employees feel on edge at work, they will be more likely to leave (hello employee retention again!)

Marketing Cost Savings

  1. Get Social

    You can thank the millennial generation for this one. A very cost-effective way to generate a buzz about your restaurant is through social media. Instagram social influencers for the restaurant industry are not a scarcity, and their fees—at $271/post on average—are lower than traditional marketing like billboards or print. They also have the young, trend-setting audience that can help increase the word-of-mouth of your restaurant. Investing in social platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google—over the more traditional methods can be a cheap way to boost your food’s cool factor and drive traffic.

  1. Make Friends

    Building relationships with other local businesses is a great way to get free marketing (and potentially more customers). Partner with neighborhood businesses to co-advertise each other. Build business by building community. An easy way to do this is by offering to place business cards at your cash register in exchange for a poster in their lobby. It’s a win, win situation.

  1. Be Creative

    Marketing doesn’t have to mean commercials or ads. Rather it means experiences and engagements. For example, a way to engage your local radio station is to offer interviews with your chef for a weekly or monthly interview program. You give them programming and they give you free sponsored content. Again, it’s a win, win! Or you can engage your foot traffic guests by putting out a sidewalk easel with a quirky message. They'll have an idea of your restaurant's vibe before they even walk through the door.

 


personalizing-guest-dining-experience

Restaurants: Personalizing a Guest's Dining Experience

How to Personalize a Guest's Dining Experience

Whether you’re a restaurant manager or the owner, your ultimate goal is to offer the best dining experience to your customers. You’re not just looking to see smiling and satisfied customer leaving your restaurant, you want those customers to come back for more. In other words, you want them to become regular customers. We all know that’s not an easy target to achieve. Especially with the cutthroat competition in the restaurant world. After all, that’s what every other restaurant in town is trying to have guests dine at their restaurant. So apart from offering a unique menu and an excellent service, how can you possibly achieve that?

Getting Close and Personal with your Customers

Perhaps the best way to make a customer feel they just had the best dining experience in their life is by showing them that they matter; and that you actually care about them personally. They already know that they're spending their dollars at your establishment ... but they're paying for an experience. Look into your existing data and see if you can pinpoint any behaviors. Did you consistently sell out of a drink special that was offered once every two months? Consider adding it as a permanent item! Is there a couple that consistently comes in for dessert once a week? Offer a complimentary glass of wine every now and then. Little things like these will show that you notice their present, value their visit and appreciate their business. The more you learn about each customer the better you can customize their restaurant dining experience.

Train your Staff

Guests come to your restaurant to enjoy a nice meal and have a good time; and if they don’t get that, it's likely that they won’t come back. Assuming that the food is impeccable, the service has to also be top notch. One disgruntled and lazy server, can send away a bunch of customers intent on never coming back. And all in the span of one evening. So make sure your staff, especially the ones who interact with the customers, are well trained and always willing to put the customer first. 

One of the best ways to understand where your customer is coming from is to put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine the experience from their point of view. Make sure that your front of house staff are able to gauge what types of customers they're serving. Some customers like to have the full treatment while others prefer to have the mean without much fussing over. Provide your staff with the best tools to provide a stellar restaurant dining experience. Guest experience flows from management down. If your serving staff aren't experts on the daily specials, it's on your management staff for not properly training them. They should know the menu inside and out, and geniunely care about providing good customer service. The service industry isn't for everyone, but those who are passionate about it, truly thrive.

A Rockstar FOH Manager

And we don't mean an actual rockstar, but someone who excels at their job. Just like how every restaurant operation has an ecosystem that is different from other restaurants, you would usually want one person to keep that ecosystem running smoothly. The personal that makes sure your front-of-house runs smoothly is your FOH manager. This person needs to have the right skills to handle the huge responsibilities you entrust them with. The most important quality they should have? Passion. In some cases, passion can be  more important than their experience. Leading a team of people is not an easy job. Your manager needs to create a relaxed atmosphere enough to ease the stress of the job for everyone while at the same time holding the people in the team accountable.

Experience and Expertise

As an owner or a manager, you need to be very knowledgeable in your business. If your restaurant offers gourmet food, then you and your team must know the ins and outs of gourmet food. If you specialize in a single cuisine then you and everyone who works in the restaurant, including the chefs, their assistants, and the waiters, to know every little detail about the food they’re preparing/serving to the customer. If the customer asks a question about a dish or an item on the menu, the waiter should know what they are talking about and offer an educated answer, not resort to guesswork. Always assume that the customer knows more than you do and you need to keep up to date with all the new trends in your field of specialty. If the customer feels the place is full of hacks, they won’t come back.

Exceed, not just meet, Expectations

If the customer expects a good meal at your restaurant, then a pleasant service and a nice ambiance would make them feel like the meal went better than they had anticipated. And this is what you strive for. Again, you're providing not just a meal, but a dining experience. Even if they don’t show it or express it, you can always tell a guest is having a really good experience by their body language. They’re eating, seem relaxed, and appear to be having a good time. The more you show them that each one of them matters to you, to the staff, and to the restaurant, the stronger the connection they’ll have with your business.  This, of course, is how customer loyalty is created.

The customer experience is the Holy Grail in the restaurant business. It’s what sets you apart from the others. Knowing how to make each customer get a unique experience at your restaurant is the key to having a successful business. And the more personal that experience, the more loyal the customer.


Restaurant Employees: Improving Customer Experience

Restaurant Employee Engagement and Customer Experience

The Link Between Employee Engagement And Customer Experience

Many restaurant marketers may categorize restaurants in the food business. However, they're primarily in the services business. Their ultimate goal is to deliver a great customer experience, which includes great food. This experience can only be achieved when a restaurant has a highly motivated and engaged employees that are willing to take ownership of the customer experience.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte Consulting on restaurant customer experience, a team of hospitable and friendly employees is the key element required to create a positive experience for customers at a restaurant. Diners are no longer simply going out for a meal anymore; they're expecting an experience. Here are 4 things you should consider for engaging employees to improve customer experience:

Employee Engagement Reduces Turnover and Boosts Profits

The restaurant industry faces the challenge of high employee turnover. In 2017, recruiting remains a large pain point for restaurant employers, as per a study done by the National Restaurant Association. Competitive hiring advantages often belong to restaurants that manage to have a lower turnover than the industry average. By employing engaged employees that have significantly high job satisfaction levels, high retention is easily achievable. 

Restaurant businesses that invest in employee engagement, development, and retraining programs find it easier to retain top talent, deliver the experience their customers want, and generate sales growth and profits. The commitment to employee engagement should be a top strategic value in the hospitality industry (both as a profit-enabling endeavor and as a driver of superior workplace satisfaction).

Unlike many other businesses, employee engagement is not merely an HR issue for a restaurant business. It's a corporate strategic imperative that must be addressed at the management level. By investing in employee development and retraining initiatives, restaurants stand to outperform their competitors.

Focus on Employee Development and Retraining

Investing in innovative employee development and retraining initiatives builds the foundation for an engaged workforce in a restaurant. According to a Harvard Business Review study that involved more than 500 stakeholders, 71 percent of the respondents agreed that employee engagement is vital to achieving business success.

Restaurant employees who receive the right tools and training opportunities often turn out to be:

  • Brand ambassadors for their restaurant
  • A positive influence on their co-workers
  • Highly aligned with the restaurant’s goals
  • Willing to go the extra mile to satisfy customers  

A Culture of Employee Recognition Improves Loyalty

Recognition, professional development, learning and training opportunities and career progression are the top drivers of employee satisfaction, especially among younger restaurant workers. Research has shown that companies with a culture of recognition have 31 percent lower employee turnover rate than others.

If the restaurant managers view workers as regular hourly employees or don't make them feel valued, their performance will likely reflect their attitude; inadvertently increasing your turnover rate. If employees don't feel valued, it's likely that they'll deliver sub-par customer service and not perform to their full potential. On the employee end, there's nothing worse than feeling as though no one cares as much as you do; especially when you're putting in your best work.

Therefore, restaurant businesses should encourage a culture of recognition where the employees get acknowledged for their performance by restaurant managers. This doesn't always mean monetary rewards; but a "thank you for the good work" is free and can go a long way!

Employee Engagement Impacts ROI

A global HR survey by the Boston Consulting Group showed that investment in employee engagement, hiring of new talent, and improving employee retention leads to a 1.6 to 2.5 times growth in revenues and 1.6 to 1.9 times growth in profit margins. But this shouldn't be hard to see. Engaged employees are happy employees; and employee engagement creates a positive employee attitude that trickles down to every single customer interaction.

In his book, Employee Experience Advantage, Jacob Morgan says that companies that focus on building a positive employee experience are as much as 4 times more profitable than others, and have more than twice the average revenue. Companies that are heavily invested in employee experience got listed 11.5 times as often in the Best Places to Work list published by Glassdoor.

Energetic, and engaged employees at a restaurant will most likely outperform its competitors in customer service and revenue growth; which will benefit both employees and employers!

 


California Labor Laws: Split Shifts

Creating an employee schedule sounds easy, but when there are labor costs and labor compliance laws involved, it gets tricky. California labor laws are in place to ultimately protect employee rights, and it’s up to every employer to stay on top of the existing rules and regulations. But the first step of being compliant, is fully understanding the rules.

When scheduling the same employee for two different shifts within the same day, there are more liabilities and payroll penalties that an restaurant owner can be subject to; especially if they aren’t careful.

In every fully operating restaurant, there are generally 3 busy times, which correspond to meal times: breakfast, lunch and dinner rushes. But when these periods die down, this also means that a restaurant is generating low sales… and if there are low sales, this means that labor budgets will also be lowered as well. This is where split shifts come into place. To cover labor costs, restaurant owners will generally schedule one employee for two shifts. However, California labor laws don’t make this easy.

Now what qualifies a split shift?

If an employer wishes to schedule an employee for two shifts within one work day, the shifts must obey the following rules (as per the The Industrial Welfare Commission):

  1. The time between the two scheduled shift must be longer than a meal period (30 mins min.)
  2. The two shifts must be on the same work day.
  3. The period between the two shifts may not be qualified as a meal or rest period. If an employee requests a break for their own convenience, this is not qualified as a proper wait period.

An example of a properly scheduled split shift would be:

  • First shift: 11am - 3pm
  • Second shift: 6pm -10pm

The shifts scheduled should obey the rules of split shift as explained below:

  1. They are on the same work day
  2. There’s a long enough break between the two shifts
  3. A break was not requested on behalf of the employee

The other half of complying by the California Labor Code is ensuring that employees are paid the appropriate premiums. When a minimum wage employees works a split shift, they are entitled to a split shift premium that must be paid for each split shift schedule (one premium per work day).

However, the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relation notes that "any money earned over and above the state, or local, minimum wage will be credited towards the employer’s obligation to pay the split shift premium.

This means, employees who are paid more than minimum wage are also eligible for a split shift premium however the premium will be lower for those with higher wages than minimum wage.

Calculating split shift premiums

The premium is calculated as one hour’s pay at the minimum wage. It shall be paid in addition to the minimum wage for that workday, except when the employee resides at the place of employment. Employees who voluntary pick up a secondary shift are not owed the split shift premium.

Whenever an employee is required to block off time to complete work related activities, like remaining on-call or attending mandatory meetings when unscheduled, employers are required to pay employees the time spent on work related activities.

This law particularly addresses the issue of when unscheduled employees’ are required to come into their workplace for mandatory meetings during their time off (see the case of Aleman v. AirTouch Cellular).

If scheduled split shifts total to more than 10 hours within a work day, employers must also comply to the “spread of hours” rule. This means, if an employee works a total of more than 10 hours, they're entitled to a minimum of one hour of pay at their regular rate.

Employers are also required to pay an employee a daily minimum, particularly if an employee is sent home early. If an employee is sent home early, or works less than half of the total scheduled hours, the employee is entitled the pay of half of the scheduled shift; but no less than two hours nor more than 4 hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay (no less than minimum wage).

If the employee is sent home less than two hours into their second shift of one workday then they are eligible for two hours of their regular rate of pay (no less than the minimum wage).

Here's an example:

Joe is scheduled to work from 10am - 4pm and 6pm to 9pm. During his first shift,  Joe is sent home early at 2pm. In this case, he is not entitled to the minimum two hour pay requirement. Joe has already worked more than half of this regular shift. If he had been sent home at 11:30, then he would have been eligible for a minimum of two hours of his regular rate of pay.

During his second shift, Joe is sent home at 8pm. As he has already worked for more than half of his scheduled time, he is not entitled to the minimum two hour pay. However, if he had been sent home at 7pm, he would be entitled to two hours of his regular pay.

In conclusion

As a restaurant owner, educating yourself on the rules and regulations around labor laws, especially in regards to scheduling, will save you a headache in the long run. Creating an employee schedule for a restaurant seems like a simple task but when labor laws regarding split shifts, meal and rest periods, and overtime are thrown into the mix, maximizing your labor cost whilst turning a profit isn't so easy. Employer's aren't required to pay these minimums but fully understanding labor laws will allow you to scheduling thoughtfully, and strategically.\

 

Disclaimer:

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. ("Push Operations") for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.

 


California Labor Laws: Restaurant Tip Sharing

In the state of California, every employer is required to paid minimum wage. Though federal laws and other states allow tipped minimums, the state of California does not. In an employee favorable state like California, any employer who employs 26 or more employees has to pay each of their employee no less than twelve dollars ($12.00) per hour for all hours worked (2019). Employers who employ 25 or fewer employees, have to pay to each of their employees no less than eleven dollars ($11.00) per hour for all hours worked (2019). Therefore, tips are paid on top of an employee’s minimum wage.

Understanding the Rules

The first step of compliant tip sharing practices, is establishing tip pool rules. Any gratuity left by a guest, customer and patron are the sole property of an employee or the employee who the tip was left for. Employees are not liable to pay for credit card processing fees and under no circumstance, can an employer deduct the fee amount from an employee. Employers are solely responsible for processing charges.

Generally, if a business charges a service fee for a large reservation, that amount is not qualified as a gratuity. However in local jurisdictions, like Santa Monica, the service does qualify as gratuity. This is where is gets complicated.

Tips vs. Regular Wages

Under Federal law, service charges and tips are taxed differently. Any portions of a service charges given to employees, are qualified as regular wages and must be taxed the same.

For example:

  • Restaurant A is hosting a restaurant buy-out for the evening. They have charged a 18% service charge on a $20,000 bill where 10 employees worked the event. Nowhere in the agreement form does the agreement between the restaurant and the renter is the service charge is explained.

    The employer will be taking 12% of the service charge from the total bill to split among their employees in the tip pool and keep the remaining 6%.
  • $20,000 x 18% = $3600 total service charge
  • $20,000 x 12% = $2400 employee portion of service charge
  • $20,000 x 6% = $1200 employer portion of service charge
  • $2400 / 10 = $240 per employee who worked the event
  • The $240 will be considered regular wages – not gratuity

All tips (cash or non-cash) are taxed in a different way. They are not included in overtime calculations and employers are required to keep accurate records of all tips and provide every employee with a tip report.

Tip Eligibility

When establishing tip pools, the second step is see which employees qualify as tip-eligible. According to California’s Labor Code Section 351, “no employer or agent shall collect, take, or receive any gratuity or a part thereof that is paid, given to, or left for an employee by a patron…” As of March 2018, employees must be paid minimum wage to be eligible in a tip pool. This includes kitchen staff, whereas prior only wait staff or employees who interacted with guests were allowed to participate in tip pools.

Prior, only employees who directly deal with customers are allowed to be in a tip pool. As of March 2018, any employees paid minimum wage are eligible to be in a tip pool. This includes kitchen staff, whereas prior only wait staff or employees who interacted with guests were allowed to participate in tip pools.

Generally, management personnel are not tip eligible and they are qualified as “agents.’ In this case, agents are defined as “every person other than the employer having the authority to hire or discharge any employee or supervise, direct, or control the acts of employees;” and employers are defined as “every person engaged in any business or enterprise…that has one or more persons in service under any appointment, contract of hire…expressed or implied, oral or written, irrespective of whether the person is the owner of the business…

Establishing Tip Pools

There are no written rules on how much should be distributed to each employee. However, the distributions must be fair. A court case regarding tip pools reached a conclusion where “a mandatory tip pool should only be sustained under Labor Code, section 351 when it works a fair and equitable distribution among the employees who participate in the tip pool.” Tip pooling practices must be fair, in regards to distribution and equality. If they aren’t, they not only violate the Labor code, but they are also no different than withholding employee pay.

Generally management personnel are not allowed in tip pools, however courts have ruled in the favor of managers that perform the same work as employees 90% of the time. In this instance, tips were collected by a general tip jar. If an employer fails to comply to the tip sharing rules, they are subject to a fine of up to $1000 and/or imprisonment of 60 days. This is on top of any funds that they may have to pay an employee if it is brought to court.

Conclusion

As an employer, employee fairness is one of the characteristics that should be practiced. But it may occasionally may fall wayward in the midst of the hustle and bustle of restaurant management. The dependency of managers to focus on running a restaurant and completing administrative tasks like processing payroll can be overwhelming. From an owner’s perspective, providing the right tools makes work easy. And we may be biased but tip automation makes payroll run quicker and easier!

Disclaimer:

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. (“Push Operations”) for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


restaurant-compliance-meal-rest-periods

California Labor Laws: Meal and Rest Periods

Restaurant labor compliance: Meal and Rest Period Rules and Violations

In an employee friendly state like California, labor laws are always in favor of your staff. Meaning, being an employee friendly business is more than a bonus; it’s a requirement. Labor compliance laws set the standard of what your employer practices should be; and in a chaotic environment like restaurants, it’s a competitive advantage when retaining employees. Though it’s one aspect of labor management, break compliance is a one of the biggest menace of restaurant businesses; especially in California. The laws are blurry, complex, and the meal and rest periods are hard to manage.

But the first step of managing the beast of meal and rest periods, is fully understandings its rules, regulations, and calculations. We’re always working to make work easy for restaurant owners, so we’ve put together a quick guide to meal and rest periods in California:

So what exactly qualifies a meal period?

According to the California  Labor Code (Section 512) and the State of California’s Department of Industrial Relations, it is defined as follows:

Employees are entitled to two meal periods at a full 30 minutes each when they work a 10 hour shift. The second meal period may be waived only if:

  1. The first period has not been waived
  2. The shift is no longer than 12 hours
  3. And with the consent of both the employee and employer.

Rest Periods Rules are as Follows:

  • Employers also provide their employees a 10 minute paid rest period for each four hour shift (or major fraction thereof).
  • Breaks should be uninterrupted and taken as close to the middle of their shift period as possible.
  • The requirements of a rest period are like a meal period but the rest break is paid.
  • If a rest period is unprovided, the employee is entitled to one hour of their “regular rate” for each workday that the rest period is not permitted.

For every 6 hour shift worked, an employee is eligible for a 10 minute paid and uninterrupted rest period and a 30 minute uninterrupted meal period, unless the meal or rest period is mutually waived by the employee and employer.

Here’s a quick rundown on when breaks are required:

Hours Worked Rest Period Required Meal Period Required
Less than 3.5 Hours 0 0
4 Hours 1 0
5 Hours 1 0
5.5 Hours 1 1
6 Hours 1 1
7 Hours 2 1
8 Hours 2 1
9 Hours 2 1
10 Hours 2 2*
11 Hours 2 2*
12 Hours 2 2*

*Only the second meal period may be waived

Meal Period Violations and Penalties.

Meal period violations are easy to come across and penalties can be hefty. Some examples of cases where an employer would need to pay a meal period penalty are outlined below:

  • The restaurant is short staffed and the employee needs to stay, and the employer does not provide a meal period
  • The manager forgets to send an employee on their meal period (therefore not providing a break)
  • An employee is required to be on call during their meal and rest period, or if they’re not allowed to leave the restaurant

The penalty is equal to one hour of an employee’s’ regular rate. An employee’s regular rate is calculated by taking their wages for the work day divided by the number hours worked. 

The penalty is put in place in order to protect employees and allow them to fully rest for 10-30 minutes and it enforces employers to grant opportunities for employees to have a break.

To put the rules into perspective, here’s an example:

Peter is scheduled to work from 11:00am to 7:00pm. As he works an 8 hour shift, he is entitled to one unpaid 30 minute meal period, and two 10 minute rest periods. His scheduled breaks are as follows:

  • 3pm Rest Period
  • 4:30pm Meal Period
  • 6pm Second Rest Period

At 2:50pm, Peter is asked by his manager to work through this rest period due to a overflowing lunch rush. Peter agrees, and works through his rest break. A rest period premium, which is equivalent to one hour of Peter’s“regular rate,” will be given to him in return. In this scenario, Peter’s manager technically did not provide him a undisturbed break and made the conscious decision to pay him the rest period penalty instead.

For his meal period…

At 3:15, Peter is prompted by his manager to prepare to take his unpaid meal break. He is in the middle of serving a large party, and decides that he does not want to go on his meal break. Peter’s manager allows this. Therefore they have both mutually agreed to waive the break. In this scenario, his employer does not have to pay a meal period penalty, as Peter was provided with a meal period but he chose not to go (Brinker Restaurant Corp vs Superior Court, p. 35 [fn]. 19,  2012). Waived breaks do not require a written agreement. However a meal waiver form is a great tool for Peter’s manager to cover his bases as an employer and to track and manage waived breaks.

If a rest period or a meal period was not provided throughout Peter’s entire shift, he is entitled to two extra hours of pay at the his regular hourly rate, at the most (one for the meal period and one for the rest periods). Meal and rest period penalties are required for each work day, not each occurrence per day.

Waiving Meal and Rest Periods

It gets tricky when the act of waiving breaks comes into play. Employers must provide the opportunity for employees to have a meal break. However, if the employee chooses not to go when the break is offered then the employer is no longer liable to pay a meal period penalty. Meal period waivers in this instance are great tools to be used as preventative measures to class action lawsuits.

Meal break waivers are not legally required, but they’re a precaution that can be taken to prevent class action lawsuits. And they should include 3 key things:

  1. You agree to waive the meal period
  2. The employee agrees to waive the meal period
  3. Validation that the employee chose not to go on their provided meal period.

If you don’t have a form yet, download our free meal break waiver below!

Download Form

One of the hardest part of break and meal period compliance is ensuring that employees actually go. If your business is trying to reduce labor costs, consistently paying meal period penalties aren’t going to help! Our solution? Break tracking software that integrates with our payroll module. The biggest benefit of this? You’ll be able to track breaks and pay employees on the same platform. Bye bye data transfers, manual calculations and the lurking menace of labor law suits.

Interested in learning how Push Operations streamlines restaurant management into one seamless platform?

Learn More

Disclaimer:

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. (“Push Operations”) for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


California Labor Laws: Mileage Reimbursement

As per California’s Labor Code Section 2802, employers must reimburse their staff for all reasonable expenses that incur while on duty. This can range from delivery driving expenses (gas and wear-and-tear of a vehicle) to picking up an item for your business. Anything that requires an employee to use their personal vehicles other than their normal commuting is required to be reimbursed. And failing to pay these expenses is an easy path to a class action lawsuit.

Federal vs State

For every mile of business travel driven, the current federal reimbursement rate for mileage is 54.5 cents . This has been calculated by the IRS based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating a automobile.

Under the Federal law, mileage reimbursement is not required. But in an employee friendly state like California, employers must reimburse employees for all reasonable time spent driving outside of their commute. In the hospitality industry, the most notable reimbursement is mileage, specifically for delivery drivers.

Importance of Policies

It’s crucial to note that 54.5 cents is the minimum rate for reimbursements. Under California law, there is no minimum but in the case of a class action lawsuit, an employee can argue that they are being under compensated, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In this case, the importance of a policy here is important. It's crucial to provide a policy in which employees and employers are under the mutual understanding of an agreement. This, should always be, in the best interest of the employee, and to protect the employer.

If you are a multi-state business with locations in California, it would be a smart and proactive choice to implement a mileage reimbursement policy for all your locations. This will be a competitive advantage for an industry that has high employee turnover; and it'll eliminates the risk for class action lawsuits due to being non compliant.

To put it into perspective, here's an example of when mileage reimbursement is due:

Joe is a delivery driver. He has signed an agreement for a 80.4 cent mileage reimbursement for his vehicle’s wear and tear, gas, and mileage. On a day’s shift, he has driven 44.7 miles that does not include his commute to and from work. However, included in his day's mileage, is a 2 mile trip to and from his home as he had forgotten his credit card. In this case, his employer only owes him a 42.7 mile reimbursement as the trip to and from his home was not work related.

To calculate his reimbursement:

  • 42.7 miles x $0.804 = $34.33 in mileage reimbursement

Scenario B:

Joe is a delivery driver. He has signed an agreement for a 80.4 cent mileage reimbursement for his vehicle’s wear and tear, gas, and mileage. On a day’s shift, he has driven 44.7 miles. Included in his mileage, is a 2 mile trip to and from his home outside of his normal commute to and from work. Earlier in his shift, his co-worker had forgotten to bring his hat, which is a part of his uniform. Joe has an extra hat at home and his manager asks Joe to go home to get it. In this case, the reimbursement will also include the additional 2 miles as the trip to and from his home was work related.

A cost effective solution to mileage reimbursement could be leasing a vehicle for your employees’ work duties like deliveries, if you’re paying more than the federal minimum.

Here’s a quick run down:

  • Vehicle Price: $18,000 2019 Kia Forte
  • Monthly Lease: $250/month
  • Insurance: $150/month
  • Repairs: $50 (estimated)
  • Gas:  25 miles per gallon @ $4 per gallon = $0.20/mile

The break even point is:

  • ($250 + $150 + $50 as a fixed cost) + the variable cost of $0.20/mile = $0.60/mile the established reimbursement rate to break even
  • 1125 Miles = the break even point
  • If an employee drives less than 1125 miles/month, then the reimbursement is more cost effective than leasing a car
  • However if an employee drives more than 1125 miles/month, leasing a vehicle is more cost effective than offering a mileage reimbursement.

In conclusion, if your delivery driver drives more than 1125 miles per month, and you are paying a mileage reimbursement of more than $0.60 per mile, it would be a more cost effective idea to lease a vehicle for them to use. However, based on the parameters above, any less than 1125 miles per month would equate to more than $0.60 per mile in cost.

Be Prepared

In short, to cover your interests as an employer, look into implementing a fair and understandable reimbursement policy to provide employees with the best benefits. Not only will this proactive step protect your employee’s rights, but it will also strengthen your goal of being compliant.

Disclaimer:

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. ("Push Operations") for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


California Labor Laws: Daily and Weekly Overtime Eligibility and Calculations

As an employer, you may find yourself paying a lot of overtime. But the question is, are you paying it correctly? Are you overpaying or underpaying? Or are the amounts being paid-out the correct kind (weekly vs daily overtime). Overtime is one of the biggest costs of managing labor, and any mistakes in payment could potentially lead to a class action lawsuit.

In this case, its key to inform yourself of when and how overtime is eligible, and when it is paid out.

Overtime Eligibility

In California overtime law states that employees are entitled to either weekly overtime pay or daily overtime pay. This is where is get’s tricky for business owners who own establishments in multi states. California is one of the few states that allow weekly and daily overtime. Under Federal law, only weekly overtime is observed. However, in California, both weekly, and daily overtime are observed.

California daily overtime refers to hours worked over 8 hours in a work day and the first eight hour worked on the seventh day of work in any work week. Anything over 10 hours a day and any hours worked past eight hours on any seventh day of a work week is subject to double overtime (2x an employee’s average rate).

Weekly overtime refers to the hours worked over 40 hours in a work week. Any hours over 40 per work week (designated by the employer) will be considered and compensated as time and a half pay where an employee is owed their average rate multiplied by 1.5.

Generally, pyramiding or double dipping overtime hours is not allowed in California. This means employees receive the premium pay for whichever overtime amount (weekly or daily) totals to the greater amount.

Calculating California OT Pay

California overtime pay is calculated by taking an employee’s average rate and multiplying it by the applicable amount (one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay or double the employee’s regular rate of pay).

To better understand overtime calculations, here’s an example: Jane works Monday to Tuesday from 11am to 8pm, Wednesday from 10am to 6pm and from Thursday to Friday she works 3pm to 12am.

Looking at her daily overtime:
  • Monday: 8 regular hours + 1 hour overtime
  • Tuesday: 8 regular hours + 1 hour overtime
  • Wednesday: 8 regular hours
  • Thursday: 8 regular hours + 1 overtime hour
  • Friday: 8 regular hours + 1 overtime hour
  • Saturday: 8 regular hours + 1 overtime hour
  • = 5 hours of daily overtime
Looking at her weekly overtime:
  • Monday: 9 hours
  • Tuesday: 9 hours
  • Wednesday: 8 hours
  • Thursday: 9 hours
  • Friday: 9 hours
  • Saturday: 9 hours
  • = 13 hours of weekly overtime

Jane reaches her weekly OT threshold at 7pm on Friday. Hours worked from Friday at 8pm to the end of her Saturday shift will total to her weekly overtime amount.

In this case, Jane is owed 13 hours of overtime pay as it is the greater amount.

If an employee works multiple positions but it paid $10/hour for all positions, their average rate remains at $10/hour. However, it becomes complicated when an employee works multiple positions at different rates, or receive recurring bonuses, etc.

Calculating OT Pay for Multiple Rates

If an employee works multiple positions and reached overtime in the work week, you will need to take the weighted average of their hourly rates to determine their overtime pay.  Bonuses like an attendance bonus on weekends must be also be included in overtime pay.

To further understand how overtime time works, here’s another example using the scenario from above:

Jane worked as a host at $10/hour from Monday to Wednesday, and as a server at $9/hour on Thursday to Saturday. She received a $100 bonus for selling a certain number of desserts in her shift.

To calculate Jane’s average rate, her hourly rates are divided by the total number of hours worked. 

To calculate her average rate:
  • Monday to Wednesday as a host  = 26 hours x $10/hr = $260
  • Plus
  • Thursday to Saturday as a server = 27 hours  x $9/hourly = $243
  • ($260 + $243) / 53 hours = $9.49/hour

Her bonus is calculated by taking her dollar amount divided by the hours worked.

To figure out what an employee earned in OT for the bonus:
  • $100 bonus / 53 hours worked = $1.88 hourly rate of bonus
  • $1.88 x 1.5 = $2.83 overtime bonus pay rate

Therefore, her total overtime pay equals to:

  • (($9.49 average rate x  1.5) x 13 hours OT) + ($2.83 bonus hourly rate x 13 hours OT) = $159.77 total overtime pay

The examples provided above are simple situations that may happen in the environment in which overtime may occur. The crux of paying overtime is being meticulous and extra careful with overtime calculations – especially when cases of bonuses are taken into account. As an employer, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re taking the right steps to calculate overtime properly and accurately. Created to help employers automate California overtime law calculations for restaurant employees, our payroll component aims to help restaurant save time and money.

Interested in learning how you can save 0.5% to 0.75% on your labor cost?

Book a Demo

Disclaimer:

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. (“Push Operations”) for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


California Labor Laws: Clock Edits

When it comes to rounding hours, staying compliant can be a slippery slope. In a state like California, where labor laws are in high favor of employees, business owners and employers should be aware of the strict rounding policies.

Though rounding policies are allowed under Federal law, the Code of Federal Regulations states that rounding policies are only allowed, when presumably, the policy averages out the employee’s clock times, so that they are fully compensated for all the time they actually worked. Rounding policies should never withhold pay from employees and when used for enforcement purposes, rounding policies can only be used in a manner that will not “result, over a period of time, [to fail to] compensate employees properly for all the time they have actually worked.”

Tracking Clock Times

The first step of properly managing employee hours and pay, is to have the proper tracking methods. As an employer in California, business owners are subject to keeping accurate records of information with respect to each of their employees with some of the following:

  1. Time records showing the employee start and end times of each work period. Meal periods, split shift intervals and total daily hours are also required to be recorded
  2. Total wages paid each payroll period.
  3. Total hours worked in the payroll period and applicable rates of pay.

Employee records are also required to be accessible to employees upon reasonable request. This is especially important when rounding hours or for making clock changes. As a precaution, ensure that both you, and your employees are under the same agreement in regards to start and end times, the best practice is to make sure employees sign off on any clock changes. For example, grace periods. In California, there are no mandatory grace periods. But as an employer you may choose to provide an employee with a 10 minute grace period for when they clock out. This grace period is voluntary and you’ve done so to grant employees flexibility when clocking in and out. However, the rounding policy you’ve adopted is to round to the nearest 10th of an hour (every 6 minutes to the hour).

Here’s an example:

  • If Joe is scheduled from 10am to 5pm, and he clocks in at 10:02am, you’ll round down to 10:00am.
  • If he had clocked in at 9:58am, you’ll round up to 10:00am. The key here, is to ensure that Joe does not work within the 2 minutes he clocked in early. 
  • But if you had asked Joe to work the two minutes, you would not use the rounding policy and pay him for all time worked. 

Any changes to an employees clocked hours without mutual understanding via their verbal agreement or written permission can cause a ripple effect to a class action lawsuit. Especially if you’re adjusting and rounding hours without an employee’s knowledge or understanding.

And making adjustments to clock entries or employee pay can be for a lot of reasons. Whether employees clock out after they’ve actually stopped working, or even if someone just simply forgot to clock out, any changes to employee hours (and ultimately their pay) should be verified and mutually agreed too. Meaning, adjustments can’t be made on a whim, or in one-off cases. Your clock rounding policies should be fair, transparent and honest. If you change employee’s clock time without their understanding, they have every right to request their employee records and move forward with a class action lawsuit if they’ve found that their hours have been unfairly rounded or adjusted.

In an employee friendly state like California, procedures like clock approvals records need to be employee friendly too! It may seem like you’re chasing your employees for approval but it’s better than dealing with a lawsuit. The key to maintaining and strengthening compliance? Streamline your approval process and place approvals into your employees hands.

Need a clock adjustment form?

Download our free employee clock adjustment form below to cover all your bases! Or better yet, book a free demo to see how we streamline clock edits with digital signatures here. Saving paper and time? Sounds good to us!

Disclaimer:

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. (“Push Operations”) for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


How to Save Money on Your Restaurant Contractor

Whether you’re building your restaurant from scratch or you’re renovating it, the process, in either case, is far from being simple. As usual, you aim for the stars which is quite understandable. After all, you do want your restaurant to be the best in town, if not the nation. But neither the design on paper or the finished one in your head mean much until all work is done; and you got the keys to your restaurant in your hand.  And to reach your goal of a brick and mortar restaurant business, you'll have to work closely with a restaurant contractor.

But when opening a business, you're bound to jump over hurdles, maneuver your way around some unforeseen problems, and focus on your and your contractor's on the original plans; while trying to stay within budget. Along the way plans will change, costs will soar, and your budget will go out the window. To make the process of opening a restaurant as simple, and as inexpensive as possible, we've put together a list of how to save money when working with a restaurant contractor:

Be Picky & Choose The Right Contractor

This might sound simple enough that you think it goes without saying. But you’d be surprised how many people don’t give this step the amount of time and careful consideration it deserves. The contractor is the person who’s responsible for turning your dreams into reality. So unless they know what they’re doing, and most importantly, have a good experience and proven track record of building restaurants, then they’re not the right contractor for you. An expensive contractor doesn't always mean that they're the right one for your restaurant business.

Your contractor should be familiar with the intricacies and challenges that such a process brings forth. Their skill is what will save you a lot of money down the line. So avoid going for the cheapest contractor. In fact, you should value experience highly when choosing your contractor. When the work stops because you’re stuck, you’ll rely on the contractor’s expertise to get you back on track again. The right contractor will also steer you away from the pitfalls and costly mistakes you might make; especially if you've never opened a restaurant before. And it goes without saying but don’t pick a contractor simply because they're family, or your friend who says they know what they're doing but so concrete examples.

It’s OK to Ask for a Discount

Once you’ve found the contractor that you trust with your vision, budget, and plans, it’s time to get into details. This step might be lengthy but if you have the stomach for it, it will help you shave off some of the costs.

Say you’ve found the perfect contractor. You've discussed all the plans, listened to them make suggestions on how to improve the design or maybe find alternative materials to help you bring down the costs a little and you’re satisfied. You’re confident that this is the right contractor. Now it’s time to talk money. You ask him about their fees and without hesitation they give you a number, that's out of your budget.

Even if deep down you think this contractor is a genius and that he deserves every penny of his ask, there's no harm in asking for a discount. By no means should you be grossly low balling his fee; but rather don’t just agree to the cost. Press your advantage; at the end of the day, you are a potential client. Usually, contractors’ rates are not set in stone and they are not mandated by the law. Usually, the contractor will aim high to cover their costs but there's always wiggle room. If they say no, re-evaluate your costs and see if his fee is affordable. If you come to an mutual agreement to a free, then you're set!

Ask for a Fixed Price

This is a very important point. You might come across a contractor who refuses to give you a definite answer when you ask about the costs. They might wave their hand vaguely and change the subject. Don’t fall for it. Stand your ground and be ready to negotiate until the cows come home. This will save you money because it will help you set your budget and stick with it. That vague wave of the hand will end up costing you a lot more than you’ve thought; especially when work hasn’t started yet and you still have no idea of all the little problems that will crop up on almost a daily basis and threaten your budget and deadline.

Make sure that you've written all costs down on paper including the contractor’s fee, the cost of materials, labor, permits, and all the other entries on your list. If the contractor still refuses to give you a fixed price, consider looking for another contractor. Go back to the first step and be ready to do it all over again.

Don't Pay for Services in Advance

That’s a common mistake that even experienced owners, who have built countless restaurants many times before, might still fall into this trap. You look for the skilled carpenter, painter, or electrician and after discussing the work you want them to do for you they demand money in advance. Big mistake. Take a step back and give a hard no. You might hear excuses such as they need to buy materials and that’s why they need the money upfront. In that case, tell them you’d purchase the materials yourself. In fact, this is something you should anyway whether the subcontractors ask for money in advance or not. Buying the materials yourself not only will save you money but allow you to get good quality materials as well. Also, you might consider doing some of the easy jobs, such as painting, yourself.


These are some of the important ways to help you find the best contractor for your project and to keep the costs under control. It’s a long process so you’ll need to be patient and keep your feet firmly on the ground.

 

 

 


Going Green: Environmentally Friendly Restaurants

The shift to sustainability has been happening for a long time. However, up until now, it has been a small part of the restaurant owners worries, but in recent years there has been a dramatic shift in attitude. In March 2018, fast food giant McDonalds set to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

The general public has been educating themselves about global warming and recycling and owners are scrambling to be more environmentally friendly. Diners are more aware of the importance of where food is sourced, the packaging that’s used, and more and more are basing their dining decisions on it

Thankfully, becoming an environmentally friendly restaurateur doesn’t have to be complex or cost a fortune. Here are a few tips to help your business become part of the change the world is demanding.

Food doesn’t have to mean large amounts of waste

Buying as much food as possible locally will help to reduce your carbon footprint. It can mean some of your dishes become seasonal, but creating a menu that reflects seasonal availability is something you can use to help make your customers aware of how environmentally friendly you are.

If you want to take your food sourcing to the next level, you can start to grow some of the ingredients yourself. While only some restaurants will have a garden, there is no rulebook saying the garden has to be attached to the restaurant. You could rent an allotment or use part of your own garden as a restaurant garden. This will not only go down well with your customers, but it will save you money.

Restaurant gardens aren’t just great for growing food. They also provide a useful place to compost waste and get some of your waste working for you.

Food isn’t the only waste

While composting will help with a lot of your organic waste, there are plenty of other ways you can reduce the rubbish you produce. Start using recycled paper, glass, and cardboard. Some wholesalers are also happy to have packaging returned so it can be reused. Talk to your suppliers and make them aware of what you’re trying to achieve, you might be surprised by how many of them are doing something similar and will only be too happy to help.

Go beyond your menu

If you’re starting a new restaurant or refitting an older one, find a local builder that deals in reclaimed materials. Add another star to your environmentally friendly card by using reclaimed materials. Customers appreciate businesses that make an effort, and using reclaimed materials can add some real character to your establishment. For example: Noodlebox; they've re-purposed their old woks as light fixtures and wood fixtures are from the mountain pine beetle epidemic. The old materials get a new lease of life and become a trendy addition to their restaurant!

Skip the paper ordering and look into using a supplier that supports electronic ordering. This makes placing an order much more convenient and removes the need to jump in your car and visit a supplier. It saves you time, money, and reduces your carbon footprint even further.

Educate your staff

Make sure your employees are aware of the importance of conserving water and electricity. Turning off the tap when it’s not in use can save a considerable amount of water over time. You can even install flow restrictions. These will help to limit the amount of water used at hand-washing sinks and by dishwashers. Save electricity by turning off unnecessary lights; or install light activating motion sensors in areas not in frequent use, so lights are never unnecessarily left on.

Invest in the environment

As you replace appliances, opt for energy saving new ones. You should also ensure your ventilation is energy efficient. If you refit a bathroom, install toilets that use less water.


Some of these changes require a new approach, but even taking smaller steps will help to increase your stakes as an environmentally friendly establishment. Though adjusting an established business to an environmentally friendly operation doesn’t happen overnight, it’s an evolutionary process. A little goes a long way and you can make most aspects of your establishment environmentally friendly with a little thought. 


Building the Ideal Restaurant Atmosphere: Sound

According to a 2018 Zagat study, noise is the number one pet peeve of customers. Not the service, the prices, or the parking. Noise. 

Restaurants are busy environments. Things are all happening at once: people talking, music playing, dishes and utensils clanging, the occasional sizzle from a frying pan, and 110 other things. Sounds have the potential to build and build and noise levels that are too loud don't allow guests to communicate with each other, let alone your staff. In turn, this affects their dining experience. Your front-of-house could be going above and beyond for tables in their section, but they shouldn't have to yell across the table to ask guests how they're doing.

However, on the other end of the spectrum is a quiet restaurant. Noise levels that are too quiet make things awkward for guests as they can hear everything you say ... and you can hear everything they say. Occasions where friends wish dine out to catch up,  eating in complete silence isn't the ideal experience. When it comes to a restaurant's noise level, its key to have a balance of the right amount of hustle and bustle and music to create a more private, energetic, and fun atmosphere. It’s all about balance. Here’s 4 tips on how to create the perfect sound system for your restaurant.

  1. Build for It

    Rather than trying to fit your environment for sound after construction, build with sound quality in mind. The result is better if you plan for it. A room with a poor acoustic foundation is hard to help.

    Quick Tips:
  • Avoid parallel walls
  • Install acoustic panels on walls and ceilings to help absorb sound
  • Build a ceiling with at least two layers of plasterboard
  • Create distance between the kitchen and the main dining area
  1. Decorate Deliberately

    Minimalism is a growing design trend. Sleek, hard surfaces like brick, stone, wood, metal, create a nice visual experience, but are awful for sound levels. Hard surfaces reflect the sound, whereas soft surfaces absorb it. To help your restaurant quiet down, try to mix fabric surfaces into your design elements.

    Quick Tips:
  • Carpet floors for high trafficked areas
  • Hang curtains on the windows
  • Put rubber caps on chair legs
  • Apply textural acoustic spray to your walls and ceilings
  1. Quiet the Kitchen

    The busiest room in the business is the kitchen. It has a lot of moving parts: staff and appliances included. It’s where the magic happens and where work gets done. Before making significant changes, consult your staff and brainstorm ways to minimize the sound while still maintaining their productivity in their work space.

    Quick Tips:
  • Distance machines (coffee, ice, soda, etc.) and side-stations/self-service stations from the main dining area
  • Create a sign reminding the staff to keep their voice levels in mind
  • Maintain equipment to avoid noisy breaks or kinks
  • Soundproof the area with sealants or simple partitions
  1. Fight Noise with Music

    Music has power; it’s not a secret that music affects mood. Choosing the right background music can boost the mood of both customers and staff, cause customers take longer to eat, or make customers increase their spending (and your revenue). The right music—tempo, genre, and volume—can not only affect the mood, but the behavior of customers.

    Quick Tips:
  • Set a volume level that balances creating a mood and allowing customers to talk without having to raise their voices
  • Level the volume levels across songs on the playlist to avoid sudden bursts and lags in the ambiance
  • Invest a good sound system with an ample amount of speakers dispersed throughout the restaurant

So, how is your restaurant performing?

The ideal sound level for normal conversations is between 58 - 65 dB. The loudest your restaurant should be is 85 dB. If you're not sure where your sound level lies, look into purchasing or renting a sound level meter to measure your noise level. 

You can also determine if you’re succeeding on the sound-front simply by observing your customers. Are they leaning closely together each time they say something? Whispering for fear of being overheard? Reacting to sounds coming from the kitchen? Watch your customers, talk to your staff, and adjust where needed.

Finding the right balance of sound for your restaurant is extremely important when building the perfect atmosphere. People eat out to have fun, try new things, and socialize with friends. If they can’t talk, they won’t be happy.


Things to Consider When Negotiating a Restaurant Lease

Negotiating your restaurant lease is the first step of ensuring the safety and integrity of your restaurant business. As you embark on this initial step, there are several things to keep in mind in order to guarantee that your restaurant lease will fit your personal and business needs effectively.  

Firstly, it's important to remember the purpose of your lease; which is to ensure that both parties understand each other’s responsibility regarding the space. The lease will protect your business against potential liability concerns and your rights as a tenant. Negotiating your restaurant lease provides a firm foundation for your business. This will be the physical presence of your business while your professional restaurant business plan will provide the integrity needed to negotiate your lease effectively.

Here are 6 key tips to take note of when negotiating a restaurant lease.

  1. Have Your Attorney With You

    At this point, it is important to already have selected, or at least consulted, an attorney. Before signing a lease, you will want your attorney to review it thoroughly. An attorney will be helpful to advise on further negotiations as well as explain terms that are sometimes confusing to those not familiar with legal jargon.

  2. Get "Your People" on Board

    Before deciding upon a space, getting “your people” on board and invested in the space is essential. These individuals include architects, designers, and contractors. It’s important to have these stakeholders involved when discussing the budget, design, and logistics that can impact the lease. You will want these professionals to work collaboratively to ensure that the space will work for your business. Examination of space layout, function, and aesthetics will work best from a team approach.

  3. Negotiating Timing, Terms, & Contingencies

    Timing is everything. This old adage is true with your restaurant lease negotiation process. With this type of leasing, you are able to negotiate the start of your first rent payment. Even if you begin occupying the space, you may be able to either prorate or postpone your initial rent payment. Many landlords will waive rent during build-outs, until building permits are obtained, or until a tenant actually opens their restaurant for business.

    Along with timing decisions, there are also term and renewal options to consider. Regardless of what is proposed, lease terms can vary and have that wiggle room needed to personalize the lease. An ideal option for restaurant leases are generally a minimum of 10 years with renewal options of two 5-year terms. Aligning these terms of renewal as close to the original set of lease negotiations as possible is also important.

    Make sure you also negotiate contingency options. This will protect you should something go wrong between the time you sign the lease and open your doors. Some examples are city/county permits or liquor licenses. Timing is crucial and contingency option negotiations can prevent you from being locked into a lease if a certain aspect of your business fails to come through in the timeline expected.

  4. Negotiating The Space

    When negotiating your restaurant lease, it is imperative not to overlook a subletting and assignment clause. This will protect your business if things do not go as planned and you choose an option to sublet the space. Include a clause in the lease that discusses this more specifically, including restrictions, terms and renewal options relative to the potential subleasing party. This negotiating can also protect restaurant owners and leaseholders if the nature of the business changes in any way.

    Another part of space negotiation to consider is usage. If a business owner realizes that, after some time that they are not as successful as they thought in business A, maybe they choose to open business B under the same roof, but a different category. Maybe the metrics of the community makeup have changed more significantly than anticipated. Pre-negotiate these situations as they may affect the lease terms.

    Another space concern that could arise is that of exclusivity. This can protect against any unnecessary competition in the immediate neighborhood or area. It is strongly encouraged that restaurant owners include an exclusivity clause ensuring that there is an acceptable radius where competition cannot reside. This also includes negotiating whether food trucks or other vendors can set up shop outside of your business, thus causing confusion of your brand.

  5. Negotiating Repairs and Work

    When the landlord turns over a space for usage, the tenant must be crystal clear about current and future repairs, work, and maintenance. Who is responsible for the gas, plumbing, electric etc.? Who is taking care of the common areas? Knowing who is responsible for what and by how much is exceptionally important. Everything should be clearly defined in terms and understood by all parties involved.

    For example, including in a clause in your lease that if you repair something, you can deduct it from the monthly rent. Consider including things that may need to be installed or added to the space for it to function as a restaurant such as kitchen equipment or specialty items that are not currently part of the space.

    Before signing a lease, you should also include a landlord work letter in case any work needs to be done before you move in. Get in writing what the landlord is willing to comply to and make sure they're included in the lease. The landlord should comply to any verbal agreements made during a walk-through of the space up until the signing of the lease.

  6. Operating Expenses & Payments

    Operating expenses can and should be negotiated in the process of restaurant leasing. This is important as there are a number of expenses that many business owners may not even think about. For example: discuss “hidden” non-standardized items such as caps on improvement costs and potential administration fees. Discuss and outline who is responsible for property taxes, when the first payment should be made for the space, etc. These negotiable items may provide the grace period you need while starting out and getting things in order.

    Another payment consideration is that of percentage payments. On average, restaurant owners can wind up paying 5-8% of annual revenue to landlords. Keep in mind what you are willing to include and what is fair in your lease negotiation regarding these items. It is wise to limit, or ideally remove, personal guarantees. This means that even if your business does not do well and you need to close, you will still be responsible for the life of the lease (unless negotiated about beforehand).

 


Menu Hacks: How to Maximize Customer Spending

The decor and music is what sets the atmosphere for your restaurant, but the menu is your best way to persuade your customers to buy more. There are many mistakes that can trigger price anxiety in your customers or even confuse them about what to pick. However, all of these can be solved with a few psychological tricks that will make your dishes look reasonably priced, high-quality, and irresistible to customers.

Read on for 3 science-backed strategies you can start using right away!

  1. Put the most expensive items at the top of the menu

    To avoid price shopping, you can manipulate the perspective on the menu. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to place the most expensive item near the top of the menu. By contrast, everything else on the menu will seem reasonably priced. Slightly more expensive dishes usually send the message of higher quality ingredients, and in most cases, they are. Hand in hand with quality, is cost. Customers may leave more satisfied under the assumption that food items are fresher when they are higher priced. One study shows that participants who ate foods from a more expensive buffet rated the food as tastier compared to cheaper options. What the participants didn’t know? Food from the pricier buffet was the same food served at the cheaper buffet. The way we manipulate perception can build customer loyalty and convince people to come back for more.

  2. The paradox of choice and why less is more

    Limit the choices your customers have on the menu. It may seem that variety is a good thing, but it has the potential to make your customers anxious. What should they choose? There’s so much to pick from! The anxiety felt by not being able to make a choice when overwhelmed with options is referred to by psychologists as the “paradox of choice”. One of the best examples of having too much to choose from is McDonald’s. Initially, they served a few items but now have over 100 on their menu. The result? The chain’s revenue is dipping. Experts claim that one of the causes of customer dissatisfaction is the fear of making the wrong choice when picking items. If you want to prevent customer anxiety, stick to a few dishes to increase your chances of building customer loyalty.

  3. Longer, visual descriptions sell more food

    Play around with the perceptions customers have around food. Like naming a dessert like chocolate custard, a "pot de crème." A study shows that using more detailed descriptions or creative names for otherwise plain, traditional desserts not only sell more but also causes them to be rated as tastier. The names of the items of the menu impact the customer’s perception of the price and taste. For example, the perception is different when you serve dark chocolate cake or when you serve gâteau au chocolat noir.

  4. Monetize off of the second cheapest item

    When selecting wine options, most customers will not choose the least expensive item on the menu for fear of looking cheap. Instead, customers tend to pick the second lowest priced item.  Get your sommelier to pick a really good tasting, inexpensive wine. You can increase its price on your menu and make it the second lowest priced item. This will drive profits from sales. But make sure to have your costing strategy down before applying this to your menu designs.

 

Wrapping up

Whether you choose to manipulate pricing or to limit the choices of your customers, you have to keep in mind that each restaurant has an ideal customer. Is your ideal customer sold on price or on the experience of high-end, fancy plates? Before you implement any of the hacks shown above, you have to think about what expectations your ideal client has and how you can meet them.


How to Save Money When Opening a Restaurant

Restaurants fail for a lot of reasons. Poor management. Boring food. Bad timing. The number one reason? Under-capitalization. It’s about the money. To reach your dream of running a restaurant, you need to stay within your budget. The smallest savings add up to a better bottom line. Here’s a few tips to save you money upfront (and in the years to come), build a more thoughtful financial plan, and make better money decisions.

  1. Spend less. Buy used.

    Brand new restaurant equipment depreciates in value just like brand new cars: the second you open the box, you’ve lost value. Rather than buy new, capitalize on the opportunities to buy used. A classic Craigslist search can help you find equipment in your area. If you want to buy from a vetted source, there are used restaurant equipment sites like BOE that sell a wide-variety of tools and appliances you’ll need to start a restaurant. Want to shop by concept (nightclub, pizzeria, cafe, etc.)? Check out Restaurant Business Broker and approach their team with your different equipment needs. Buying used is buying smart.

  2. Plan ahead. Negotiate smart.

    Another way to spend less is during lease negotiations. Remember, your restaurant will add value to their property. Everything is negotiable.

    Before signing a lease…learn what the landlord is willing to cover. The bigger the space, the greater the costs. Electrical service installation, sufficient air conditioning and heating, and air ventilation are expensive. Sometimes, with a little negotiation, landlords agree to pay them or provide a discounted rent for the beginning of a lease to help you mitigate these heavier upfront costs.

    During renovations…secure free rent. Most landlords will not charge you for the projected three months of construction and installation. But, if your restaurant doesn’t open in the predicted timeline, ask your landlord for a statement that they will extend the waived rent for a couple of weeks to an additional month if necessary.

    For failure and success…ensure you aren’t personally liable for the entire lease period; you should be allowed to transfer or sell the lease in case your restaurant fails (or changes location). Most landlords put in what’s called a “good guy” clause stating you are only responsible for the first two years. However, if your restaurant is a success, you also need a guarantee that there will be an opportunity to extend the lease. You don’t want to be bullied out of the space or into paying a higher price.When it comes to neighbors…don’t pay for their utilities! If you’re sharing the electric or heat with businesses, make sure there’s a way to separate costs so you only pay for the water, gas, and electricity you’re using.

  3. Do research. Hire contractors.

    Throughout the process of opening a new restaurant, there will be a lot of people involved. Standard practice is to hire one contractor to manage the different tentacles of the project; you pay them the grand total, and they distribute the money across practices: plumbing, electrical, mechanical, carpentry, etc. It’s convenient, but with convenience comes cost. For this reason, you're paying for the luxury of being able to delegate your responsibility.

    To save money, hire each of the trades individually then hire a contractor to manage the team. It does require homework, but this way, you know each person’s value-add. Rather than trusting a contractor, you call the references and guarantee they’re the best person for the job. This will ensures the job will be done right the first time and keep your project on timeline.

    However, you still have to hire a contractor—a contractor is a value-add not worth compromising for lower costs. They ensure everyone is working within the agreed timeline, help manage payments, and track progress on the project. Without a contractor to manage the day-to-day decisions with your construction, the timeline will drag on, and the costs will pile up.

  4. Eliminate risk. Trust professionals.

    Opening a restaurant is a complex process. It requires a lot of decisions. That’s why, in addition to hiring a contractor, hiring a professional consultant with industry experience is important. They help you make decisions. Most overspending happens when an entrepreneur makes a short-term fix over a long-term solution. For example, to save money, an entrepreneur might choose to buy a fridge from Costco rather than from a wholesale, industry-specialized supplier. But, due to heavy usage and lower quality, commercial fridges tend to break down, leading unexpected repair or replacement costs.

    Additionally, consultants can also help you better predict your margins, allowing you to plan for an achievable break-even point and budget accordingly. For example, one client from The Fifteen Group estimated—with their menu and food costs—a margin of 33% (cost). But, when consultants conducted their own marginal assessment, the results were different, at a 42% (cost). The restaurant underestimated their food cost and overestimated their profit margin, leading to an overly optimistic prediction. In short? They added the risk of under-capitalization to their restaurant opening. But, with the help of the experienced consultants from The Fifteen Group, they changed their financial plan, increasing 12% to a 30% margin and creating a bigger cushion for their future success.

    Consultants are important because not all restaurants are the same. Opening a high-end restaurant is different than a quaint corner diner. Consultants learn your business from the ground up and work with you to create unique solutions for your business’ unique challenges and opportunities. With the right consultant partnership, you'll make better decisions from day 1 through day 100.


5 Reasons Why Employees Quit & How You Can Help Them Stay

The restaurant industry’s employee turnover rate is high, and it’s climbing. In 2016, the annual employee turnover rate was 73%. That means, on average, out of 100 employees, only 27 remain from the original staff after a year. That’s shocking, and it’s costly. High employee turnover can hurt a restaurant's bottom line: it causes a spike in training, a lack of stability in staff scheduling, and a lower productivity level. In fact, replacing one hourly employee can cost up to 16% of the persons annual salaries.  In short, learning how to increase employee retention, even by one person, can help your business succeed.

So why do employees leave? Here are a few common reasons why employees leave and a few tips on how to make them want to stay.

  1. Managers are bullies.

    Bad management—in any industry—drives away good employees. People don’t like working for someone they don’t respect. The Gordon Ramsay “scream-louder-to-motivate-people” management approach is for entertainment, not retention.

    The fix? Hiring managers who can handle conflict (rather than spark it themselves) is important to help increase employee retention. Empathy, the ability to understand the feelings of another, is an important quality when looking for successful managers.

  2. Poor coworker relationships.

    A simple truth: happy workers stay. Building friendships helps build happiness. In fact, 67% of workers say that friendship makes work fun, and 55% say it makes work more fulfilling.

    The solution? Encourage team building, and  incorporate activities and games into training or everyday practices. An example is starting a little friendly competition among the morning and afternoon shifts (after all, nothing sparks teamwork like sharing a common enemy).

  3. Lack of performance acknowledgement.

    People need to feel seen. They need their hard work to be noticed. As a manager, it’s easy to only speak up when something goes wrong. It’s the “why fix it if it ain’t broke” troupe a lot of managers fall into. But complimenting your workers is like oiling the machine: it keeps them working better and for longer. 28% of the employees said their most memorable feedback came from a manager. Managers’ voices matter.

    What's needed here? A simple “thank you”. With two words and eight letters, you can easily increase an employee's commitment to their job, especially when they’re faced with a tough challenge. Building in weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly one-on-one meetings with team members and managers for them to discuss performance can help build employee loyalty and show that you see their hard work.

  4. Unpredictable (and low) pay.

    The restaurant industry is fueled by minimum wages and unpredictable tips. In addition, overstaffing and scheduling can short employees of hours that they need to his their budget. It’s a business with a lot of factors and few guarantees.

    The solution isn't to grossly overpay employees, but to show employees that you value them by fairly increasing their pay. Meet or surpass the minimum wage and benefit requirements to create a steady environment for your employees. Make it a routine to revisit the staff scheduling staff numbers to ensure you aren’t under or overstaffing.

  5. No room for growth.

    Employees want opportunities; the millennial workforce crave it. If you aren’t offering, they’ll look elsewhere.  Additionally, when the economy is climbing (and there are more job options on the market), employee retention sees significant falls.

    To hold onto millennials, develop training programs to help them learn cooking, communication, leadership, and other growth-based skills for the industry. Also, be transparent in your promotional practices and create an environment where people feel comfortable expressing a lack of challenge in their work. Invest in your staff and they’ll invest in you.

 

 


Restaurant Start-up: Lease Terms to Look Out For

It can be daunting when navigating the waters of restaurant leasing. Whether your restaurant business is brand new or you're moving spaces and just getting ready to enter into a new lease, there are some important terms and leasing principles to keep in mind. It’s important to do your homework as a restaurant owner to ensure that you are up-to-date on leasing terms. It's in your best interest to ask questions and ultimately, to consult an attorney to review the lease with you. It's crucial to remember that you'll likely have this lease for a number of years. It would be a true worst case scenario to be locked into a lease not having an in-depth understanding of what you signed; especially if you discover that it could negatively affect you in some way or even force a restaurant owner to close the doors. A typical restaurant lease can be up to 40 pages long and peppered with provisions, fine print, and words that make your brain hurt.

However, negotiating your restaurant lease terms is not only empowering, but it’s just plain smart. Exploring the three categories below, we've put together a list of terms to examine that will help you navigate the details of your next restaurant lease.  

Protection

There are some key restaurant lease terms to keep in mind to ensure that your restaurant business and tenant rights are protected. Keeping these terms in mind will help your protect your business from a liability and monetary perspective.

Rent Exclusions

  • When reviewing your lease, make sure to check on the rent clause that may include a “percentage rent exclusion.” This is when a tenant is required to pay the landlord a percentage of the gross business revenues generated from that business. By carefully reviewing the definitions of what's included in gross revenue or gross sales, you can ensure that the lease is only including the general exclusions and deductions; and that you're not losing hard-earned business revenue.

Common Area Expenses

  • It's important to check the details under the terms of common area operating expenses. This is to distinguish which areas are to be maintained by the tenant and which are included in maintenance responsibilities of the landlord. Protecting your  business from potential liabilities or injuries is important; and by checking the specifics of the lease in terms of this will ensure that you know where the boundaries relating to your responsibilities. You'll know ahead of time (enabling you to negotiate if unfavorable) where you may need to put work or resources in under the common area expense clause.

Security and Personal Guaranty Burn-offs

  • Generally, as a protection to landlords, burn-offs are required. As a restaurant owner, it's possible to negotiate these clauses in a way that's not so restrictive and allows you to build trust with your landlord. The personal guaranty burn-off requirement is generally required of shareholders, partners, and other stakeholders demonstrating important business connections and serves as a safeguard to your landlord (should you be unable to pay). Security deposit burn-offs are another way for landlords to protect themselves further.

    By requiring hefty security deposits, landlords ensure that they'll be taken care of, even if you default. Negotiating additional clauses in creative ways allows business owners to demonstrate good faith by possibly paying a higher deposit, for example, with the agreement that the owner will get a portion returned at the end of the lease.

 

Operation

There are also lease terms to be aware of under the umbrella of operating your restaurant. When signing a lease as a restaurant owner, it's important to keep in mind the terms below in order to further protect yourself in your day-to-day business operations.

Sampling Clause

  • When operating a restaurant business, it may be a smart business choice to think about offering samples to your clients. Ensure that your restaurant lease includes a sampling clause so that there are no limitations on offering such a service. Who knows, maybe offering samples while guests are waiting or walking by, will be a part of your future business marketing plan!

Exclusive Use Rights

  • One of the worst things to an existing restaurant operator, is for a competitor to open near their business. If this clause is overlooked, it would be a complete nightmare for a restaurant owner; especially if the competition is unexpected. When negotiating a lease, it's detrimental to outline the terms around allowing an outside, competing vendor to do business within your establishment. There's great protection for a restaurant owner who knows that he or she has exclusive use of the space without the threat of competition or confusion. Make sure to clarify this use of property rights provision.  

Relocation Clause

  • Generally speaking, most operators choose a specific brick & mortar area, based on demographics, community metrics, and many other business-related factors. As a result, it may not be in a restaurant owner’s best interest to sign a lease that that could possibly force them out of their space and into another less promising area.

Kiosk Clause

  • It's imperative for restaurant owners to consider whether or not the lease allows food trucks or other types of enterprise, retail, and/or business carts in front of its location. It will help ensure that you can operate your restaurant in a given space without the fear of unnecessary and confusing competition.

Termination

  • Restaurant leases may last for many years, however, they do end. How they end is important to keep in mind. The termination of a lease could result for several reasons, many of which may not be in the best interest of a restaurant owner and their livelihood. Keeping the following lease terminology regarding termination in mind will surely protect you and your business from headaches and loss down the line. These are also important to keep in mind should you decide on your own business exit strategy, if that unfortunate situation should arise.

Subleasing

  • If you decide to sublease or transfer your lease over entirely, it's very important to have a plan in place that will help you do this with ease and as seamlessly as possible. Even if you're going into your business thinking that subleasing is not something you would ever venture towards, it is a smart business decision to weigh in on this provision and ensure that it protects your business needs.

Delivery of Premises

  • When you sign your restaurant lease, keep in mind what your landlord is promising in terms of space, renovations, vacancy from another party, etc. It's up to you and/our your consultant to ensure that the lease takes these promises into account. It's your right to have the premise delivered to you in a way that corroborates what was agreed upon by both parties. An important part of protecting your business is having a clause that allows a tenant to vacate a lease; particularly in the case that the aforementioned agreed upon items are not addressed in accordance to the lease agreement.

Legal Permits and Licenses

  • Prior to opening and during the operation of a restaurant business, certain guaranteed documents like permits and licenses must be obtained. These can include city and governmental permits and liquor licenses. As a result, if you find a space to lease before all of these permits are in-hand, it's key to ensure there's a place in the lease that protects you. In the case that you are be unable to obtain these permits in time, this clause will save you time, sanity, and money. Make certain that you're able to get out of a lease without penalties. Especially if something falls through in one of these essential categories, due to something out of your control.

Gross Sales Kick-Out Clause

  • This is another thing that can prevent extreme resource loss. A gross sales termination right is strongly recommended to be included in your lease. It allows a tenant the right to vacate the lease should the annual gross sales not reach the agreed upon financial and timing threshold. This will prevent an evolution of several years to pass, where each year the financial loss becomes even greater. Allowing a tenant to vacate the lease under these circumstances truly protects both tenant and landlord from unnecessary financial loss and hardships.

 


Ultimately, it's in a restaurant owner's and tenant’s best interest to do homework and research before signing a long-term lease. As a restaurant owner, your specialty is to serve up amazing food and provide the best service; while providing a welcoming place for your restaurant team. This is why it is important to allow an expert in the real estate/leasing field to help guide you in this legal portion of your business journey.

 


Restaurant Labor Management: 3 Tips for Minimum Wage Increases

Labor cost is always rising and on October 1st 2018, the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba will introduce a new minimum wage for all employees. Minimum wage hikes are great for employees but they can be costly for business owners. The key here, is to prepare for change. So we’ve put together 3 tips to manage minimum wage increases:

Invest in technology

Battling extra costs with more costs? Doesn’t make sense right? Wrong! We may be biased, but our biggest tip in managing wage increases, is investing in technology like employee scheduling and time tracking software; and then integrating these labor scheduling tools with payroll. The benefit here? You’ll eliminate 3 key things:

  • time theft
  • manual data transfer errors
  • and extra costs like overtime

When technology eases the redundancy and tediousness of restaurant management tasks, your time can be better spent on strategizing how to track your costs.

Track labor

As employee labor is one of the biggest costs of running a restaurant, achieving the perfect  balance of scheduling enough employees, but not too many, is the hardest part of creating a cost effective schedule.

To combat the dynamic environment of the restaurant industry, being on top your labor is key. Comparing your sales vs. labor is one of the most important metrics you should be following when optimizing costs. Your scheduling goal should be to always maximize your labor, without going over your forecasted cost.

Viewing your hours and costs in real-time is a huge bonus when scheduling employees and With restaurant technology, the task of manually calculating of your labor costs should be eliminated!

Its also crucial to understand the behavior of your employee's clock times.  If multiple employees are consistently clocking in late for a 5pm shift, this may tell you that:

  1. they're consistently late or
  2. the restaurant is busy and they didn't have a chance to clock in.

Understanding the behaviors of their clock in times will allow you to be proactive for the following schedules

Time tracking software is a great tool in auditing employee clock in times. If employees are consistently working overtime (OT), you should be able to set flags on your time tracking software to investigate why OT occurs.

Cross train employees

When you have cross trained employees, you gain peace of mind knowing that they’ll have the skill set to handle different areas of your restaurant. Especially for states where restaurant owners are required to pay employees a daily minimum. If you happen to accidentally over-schedule on a slow day, you can move them to areas that may need assistance.

Cross training your employees is beneficial to both managing your labor costs, and also to your employees in the long run. When employees are equipped with a stronger skill set, your scheduling is made easier, and more flexible. With skills that are easily transferable to another area of your restaurant, your employees are better equipped to handle any sudden changes that happen - like if someone calls in sick!


3 Must Have Features for Compliant Labor Management Software

Compliant Labor Management Software

What is compliance and what does it mean? For us, it’s about covering all your bases as an employer. As advocates of making work easy, we’re passionate about streamlining day to day tasks, and automating the aspect of break management.

Here are 3 must have features for labor management software to handle compliance:

Meal and rest period tracking automation

What does meal and rest period tracking entail? First and foremost, making sure employees actually go on their rest or meal period, and having notifications to remind you to send them!

The hardest part of tracking meal periods? Ensuring that employees actually go. Unless you have the capacity to hire a manager solely responsible for sending employees on their breaks and covering other sections, you can never predict the environment of a restaurant floor. Whether its an unexpected 20 person walk-in party or a table of VIPs, the hustle and bustle of day to day operations can add to how managers can forget when to send their employees on their break.

When sending employees on their  meal period, as a business owner, you must ensure two things:

  1. First being the employee’s break is taken  in the threshold of 3 hours after their shift started and 1 hr before their shift ends, if they work a 6 hour shift.
  2. Secondly, making sure other employees can cover their section while they go on an interrupted 30 minute meal period.

This is where labor management software systems come in.

With meal period tracking, it's key to be proactive rather reactive. Labor management software should have the ability to notify you of upcoming, and pending meal and rest periods. This way, you can properly plan breaks in advance and prepare for possible edge cases where employees may waive their meal or rest period.

And when meal or rest periods are missed, you should have the ability to set up waivers to occur at clock in before an employee's next shift.

As for scenarios where employees' wish to waive their meal or rest period before their shift starts, they should also be set up to occur at clock in and before a missed break.

Again, the labor management software should allow you to be more proactive than reactive; especially with shift violations!

Employee facing clock approvals

To optimize your time, make the step of approving employee clock hour edits, easy for employees.

Stop chasing employees for signatures for clock edits and allow labor management software to empower staff to be proactive with their clock hours. You'll cover your bases and make it easy for employees by allowing them to approve clock edits from anywhere.

In an employee friendly state like California, record keeping like clock approvals need to be employee friendly too! If a part time employee works one day a week, you should be able to have them remotely approve their hours. Rather than sending in their hours and adjusting their pay (if necessary) for the next pay run.

The key to maintaining and even strengthening compliance is by streamlining the approval process by putting the process into your employees hands.
Instead of power calling employees for their written agreement of adjustments, send them a message, and have them digitally sign their approval.

Saving paper and time? Sounds good to us!

Document management

For meal and rest period tracking, the other half of the compliance lies with document management. Though meal waivers are not required to be in writing, it's always about being as transparent as possible as an owner. And if a class action lawsuit claim may arise, you'll be as prepared as you can possibly be.

Accessing daily rosters and waivers should be easy, intuitive, and editable. On your daily roster, you should be able to edit or change meal period times, and confirm or deny meal waiver requests!

Documents like daily rosters are crucial pieces for daily restaurant operations and labor management software providers should be able to be automate daily rosters and do the heavy lifting; like sorting employee break times.

And in the case where employees (who work in shifts less than 6 hours) decide to forgo their meal or rest period, signed waivers are crucial in avoiding potential labor code related lawsuits. We don't believe that all employees are out there to sue you, but it's important to keep all your bases covered in an employee friendly state like California.


If you're looking for labor management software to stay on top of compliance, key factors like: meal period tracking automation, easy roster management and employee friendly clock approvals, should be the bare minimum features. After all, restaurant technology should be making work easy for you!

Not sure where to start with labor management software? Contact us for a demo!

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Restaurant Management: The Value of Pre-Shift Huddles

With the hustle and bustle of the restaurant environment, it can be difficult to check in with your employees, and for your employees to check in with each other. This, is where the value of pre-shift huddles is exemplified!

Now what's a pre-shift huddle?

It's a quick check-in with your staff, and a time for your staff to communicate with each other.

And 3 key factors make up their purpose:

Educate

The first thing that your daily huddle should address is any information that your employees should know. This being specials, events, or general day-to-day notes that they should be aware of. Huddles are also great for team building, between FOH and BOH teams.

BOH team members could explain firsthand what the specials are to FOH employees and FOH team members could share their strategies on how to push more specials amongst their peers.

Huddles are a great way to be proactive rather than reactive. If you have a restaurant management tool that has daily logbook capabilities, you can look for any recurring problems from the day before, and address the most outstanding problem.

Engage

Huddles are meant to improve communication,  and ultimately enhance employee performance for better guest experiences.

But the key here is to keep things short and sweet to make sure everyone is heard. A good exercise could be a quick "win" for everyone in the huddle, and any identifiable "goals" for their shift! A win could relate to anything; like someone could say they arrived to work early for the day or it could be something personal like acing an exam.  And a goal could be anything from not dropping any forks, or selling 20 promo dishes.

Motivate

Again, the biggest strategy for huddles, is engagement and communication with your team. To foster a fun and healthy workplace culture, it's crucial to consistently check-in with your team. Make work fun for them, and they'll likely go above and beyond for you. After all, your business wouldn't be as successful without a solid set of employees.


Huddles should be consistent for every shift and they shouldn't be more than 15 minutes! This is to ensure that you're making the most of your time. And if you find someone going off track, reign them back in or move on to the next person! The purpose of a huddle may be having an open channel where employees can bring up any questions or concerns they may have, but it also needs to stay short, sweet, and focused.


Restaurant BOH Management: 3 Things We've Learned from "Ratatouille"

How many times have you watched a movie that inspired you? Whether in your personal life or professional life, movies have a tendency to invoke feel-good moments and relate to your own personal life. In this case, Remy, the main character in Disney's Ratatouille embodied key qualities of every aspiring chef. And with his culinary idol's ghost helping him pave his way with the motto "anyone can cook," we've put together 3 restaurant back-of-house management tips we've learned.

Give credit where credit is due

This'll be difficult without providing any spoilers, but let's just say things went awry when Linguine, the human garbage boy turned chef, took all the credit for Remy, the sewer rat turned chef's, talent. But long story short, Linguine wouldn't be able to do what he did, without Remy.

via GIPHY
But instead of the circumstance of stealing credit, we're focusing on the aspect of praise. Restaurant kitchens are the most demanding department of a restaurant. Kitchens are hot, usually confined in a small space but cooks, sous and chefs alike are working towards one goal: feeding their patrons. And when you're grinding over a hot stove for 6 hours , a beer and a high-five for your employees could be very appreciated. Which relates to ...

Poor work environment = no employees

Touching on the point of restaurant kitchens being tough to work in, the restaurant industry also has a high rate of turnover. One of the biggest contributing factors, is the work-life balance of employees. And a positive work environment is a combination of different things like providing the right tools like online restaurant staffing schedules, having a clear communication channel and making time off requests easy.

Passion is Key

For some people, there's a distinct memory that pushed them to pursue their career. Almost like how Push Operations was created. Our founder was a frequent diner at restaurants. And when he saw that there was room for improvement, he took the opportunity and ran with it. But at the forefront of it all? Passion.


via GIPHY
Much like how our founder was passionate about solving complicated problems with easy solutions, Remy had a dream of cooking in a kitchen, which is unconventional for a sewer rat; but hey, they both did it! The lesson here? Don't let your environment determine your outcome. Perseverance, integrity and passion are the key ingredients that makes a successful business owner.

Delegate, Not Command

Things don't tend to work if you're a helicopter manager. Especially if you're constantly hovering over your employee's work station, and "making sure" they're doing everything correctly. It's one thing to hold an employee to a high standard, and another thing to teach them how to get there.

What comes out of your kitchens is only as good as the team working in it. And with the right training, and the opportunity to learn and grow with your mentorship, you'll build a team of rockstars.


Restaurant Technology: 5 Tools Disrupting the Restaurant Industry

The dining experience is changing with the fast paced culture and demand for convenience.

In turn, technology has played a large role in the restaurants industry’s adaptation to its changing environment. The National Restaurants Association 2017 study notes that 4 out of 5 restaurant owners found that technology increases sales, makes their restaurant more productive, and provides their restaurant a competitive advantage.

Ultimately, the integration of technology in the restaurant industry has benefited both the guests and restaurant operations. Greater efficiency is achieved, and positive workflow is easier to manage. Here are 5 technology trends changing the restaurant industry:

Emergence of Mobile and Online Delivery Services

They’re popping up left, right and center. The National Restaurant Association's Mapping the Technology Landscape report found that predictive ordering is the leading edge tech. There’s a demand for convenience, and the ease of ordering allows users to effortlessly customize their orders to their liking! Apps like Foodora, UberEats, JustEat, and SkipTheDishes allow guests to easily order and recieve a meal from the comfort of their own home. However, this allows guests to rate restaurants solely based on take out – which can be hugely problematic, if something goes wrong.

Tablet Integration

Quick, fast, and easy are staples in running a restaurant. Restaurants, especially fast casual and fast food, are adapting to new technology and integrating tablets into their workflow. Bypassing a hardware terminal medium, servers are able to send orders straight to the kitchen.

In addition,  tablets can also be used for food delivery services or used for time tracking via time attendance software. With the camera function, tablets are a great tool  for combating time theft and buddy punching.

Cloud Based Workforce Management

Technology is inching its way towards guest and staff interaction, but it’s also disrupting the field of restaurant management – in a positive way. Integration of technology in the restaurant industry eliminates the rigidness of restaurant management by automating mundane administrative tasks. And this is on top of having the ability to manage your business and your employees, anytime and from anywhere.

Restaurant management software can be found as solutions for multiple key parts like restaurant scheduling, restaurant payroll, and employee time tracking. You can automate everything. Whether it's compiling labor reports or tracking employee performances, restaurant HR software organizes employee management onto one platform.

Technology in the restaurant scene is the perfect solution for business owners to create better workflow, guest experiences, and environments for their staff.

Restaurant Aiding Apps

Hospitality is more than just a service; rather it’s about guest experiences, and meeting or exceeding expectations. Quick and good customer service is what guests are looking for and the bottom line is to always improve your guest experiences. But ensuring a restaurant runs smoothly, is the delicate balance of good front-of-house and back-of-house management.

And as there are virtually apps for everything nowadays, we found two apps that restaurant owners may find worthwhile investing in:

DINR

  • an app for extremely busy restaurants. Last minute cancellations happen, and DINR allows guests to make same day reservations. You'll be able to fill seats when available, and diners will be able to try your restaurant! It's a win-win situation.

Coastline Market:

  • an app that connects restaurant owners to local BC fishermen and eliminates the middleman. Data on who, when, where and how seafood is caught is retained and traced by Coastline so that restaurant owners are guaranteed with certified local ingredients.

Power of Social Media

Some customers could care less of a negative review, but word of mouth never goes out of style. Rather than the literal action of word of mouth, online communities are fostered to share favorite restaurants, and dishes. Social influencers are on the rise, and they’re the ultimate vehicle in spreading the word.

This doesn't mean you should make their experience any different than a regular diner. More often than now, influencers are already a fan of your brand. The key here, is to use their platform to showcase your business!

 

 


Restaurant HR: 3 Key Interview Questions for BOH Employees

Kitchen staff are one of the hardest employees to hire and retain. The work hours are long and the expectation level is set high. Though back-of-house (BOH) staff are working behind the scenes, a restaurant can't be a restaurant without them.

And with quality dishes, you need passionate employees. When hiring new employees, here are 3 must ask interview questions for BOH employees:

Where do you see yourself in  5 years?

This will give you insight as to what their career goals are. The restaurant industry employs 10% of USA's workforce, and more often than not, their time at your business, especially if they're looking to advance in the restaurant industry, could be a great stepping stone for them.

But even if an employee doesn't plan on staying in the hospitality industry, their future goals will give you an idea of how they are as employees. This doesn't necessarily mean that those who don't know what their future entails, will be poor employees; rather the way they respond will give you insight on their personality!

Can you describe a time where you ran into a problem with a manager?

The answer to this question will tell you two things. Firstly how they deal with conflict and secondly, what they find is important enough to address. More often than not, managers are overwhelmed with their own day-to-day tasks; and other aspects of employee management can be neglected.

For example: A manager consistently posts a schedule late. This can make shift requests that are time sensitive and shift changes, confusing. On the employee end, it's easy to see how they could be frustrated. If an employee brings this up, depending on how they deal with the situation, addressing issues like these, could show leadership qualities!

What's the hardest job or the hardest thing you've ever had or done?

For those whose first job may be your restaurant, their answer may not be industry related. But questions like these allow you to gauge their personable skills. Whether it's problem solving or teamwork, the way in which they deal with conflict will determine their fit in your kitchen!

Working in a restaurant can be overwhelming. When hiring new BOH staff, it's crucial to find individuals who deal with change well; and are able to think on their feet.


When interviewing new candidates, always read between the lines. Much like how quiet individuals could be great servers, those who don't have any kitchen experience, could be groomed to be superstars.


Understanding the Restaurant Industry: 3 Benefits of an All-In-One System

More often than not, restaurant software providers offer 1 out of 3 things that you need.

If there's labor forecasting, you may need to export your hours into another software provider; and then cross reference the two. The automation of pulling sales, or calculating labor costs is great, but without the step of streamlining steps 1-3, its like having a cupcake without the frosting.

In our experience, we found that an all-in-one restaurant software provider should have 3 key things:  automation,  efficiency and ease of use. And to show the value of all-in-one restaurant management software, and how they embody all 3 qualities, we've put together a list of its key benefits:

Time Savings

Perhaps the biggest benefit of using an all-in-one workforce management software is the elimination of data transfers and manual work.

Auditing, reviewing, compiling and generating reports manually, are extremely labor extensive. You could be calculating your numbers, entering them into a spreadsheet or reporting software, and there would still be errors. Which means, you would have to repeat the steps all over again.

Time is money; and with integrated restaurant management tools, all important aspects of restaurant management can be made simple on one inclusive platform.

Cost Savings

With an all in one system, payroll errors significantly decrease and the amount of time saved on administrative tasks is invaluable.

You could be a numbers wizard, but there is always room for error when doing something manually.  Especially when dealing with pen and paper clock auditing. If you wrote 0, but it looks like the number 8, 10 hours could look like 80 hours.

Approving hours is also far more simple when you can cross reference what an employee was scheduled for vs the hours they worked. Especially if you're outsourcing an accountant three days a week to run payroll. Their time could be better spent evaluating your numbers and improving your business; rather than simply auditing payroll.

Focus on Growth

If you're generating more profit from cost savings and freeing up more time, there's no better aspect of your business to focus on, than growth opportunities! When data is readily available for you to review and analyze, you're able to strategize and optimize your business plans. Did you need more time to work on features like partnerships or social media? All-in-one software works with you to streamline you, your employees, and your managers work life.

Instead of spending time on maintaining your business, all-in-one restaurant management software works with you to help grow your business.

 

 


Restaurant Analytics: 3 Labor Metrics That Your Restaurant Should Be Tracking

The best part of running a restaurant? Touching tables, building relationships and sharing your love of hospitality! But that's just the easy part. Far too often, metrics other than food costs and labor costs get overlooked. And you can only fix things that you're aware of.

When evaluating your restaurant analytics, factors like turnover rates are unassuming at first, but they always come back to haunt you. To help ease the storm of restaurant management, we've  compiled 3 key labor metrics that you should be tracking:

Performance

This is for both ends of the spectrum, starting with their behavior outside the dining room or kitchen. If an employee is consistently clocking in late, taking extended breaks, or clocking out far past their actual end time, these actions can be costly.

To put it in perspective, here’s an example:

You have an hourly employee that works 2:30pm to 10:00pm 4 days a week, with an unpaid 30 minute break. Their wage is $12 an hour.

They clock in 15 minutes early every shift and clock out 5 minutes late without your permission, regardless if the restaurant is busy or not.

On a weekly basis, this employee is being paid an extra 80 mins of unauthorized work.  This works out to an additional $16 that your labor forecasting did not account for.

On a yearly basis, this works out to be:

  • ($16 x 52 weeks) = $832 of unauthorized work for one employee.

Tracking the behavior and performance of your employee will allow you to recover any hidden costs; and you'll be able to be more proactive! Especially if you're equipped with online restaurant software tools like camera time tracking or shift management software.

Labor Vs Sales

Labor is a big expense in running a business. Therefore, it’d be a wise move to stay on top of how much gross profit you’re bringing in daily, in comparison to the amount you’re spending on labor.

Being on top of your labor cost vs your total sales, will allow you two things: productivity and proactivity. You’ll scheduler faster and more strategically when you’re able to see when your sales are highest, what days you’re busiest, and  how much you should be ideally spending on labor.

It’s hard on your employees if you under-staff during busy times, and hard on your costs if you over-staff. The medium here? Looking at your restaurant’s data and being proactive.

Restaurant computer software is an extra cost in running your business. But with tools that tailor to your business, the return-on-investment is easy and quick to find.

Turnover

Good help is hard to find, and even harder to keep. The National Restaurant Association found that 1 in 3 Americans got their first job experience in a restaurant. This means a large portion of restaurant businesses employ young part time employees, who are usually students. And in a demanding environment like restaurant kitchens, poor working conditions, in terms of employee management and flexibility, can play a large role in high turnover. Turnover is expectedly high in the industry, as students leave, and poor working conditions heavily contribute to low retention rates.

As a business owner, you should be tracking your turnover rate for 2 key factors. Firstly, training employees is costly. You’re teaching an employee a skill set that can be transferred across different jobs, and the time and investment you spend on a new employee can be easily wasted if they do not work out. Secondly, when you’re able to see the actual turnover rate, you can evaluate what’s causing employees to leave, or when you should be hiring seasonal employees.

For example: if you’ve changed your training process, or if you’ve hired a new training manager, as a business owner, you need to find the common denominator between your training process, and what’s causing employees’ to quit.

As a result, you can be more proactive; especially since you're able to actively improve your operations and its numbers. After all, your employees are the engine behind your business!


Restaurant Technology: Looking for a Restaurant POS System For You

The best POS system out there, is dependent on your business model. Are you a small business with minimal square footage? Maybe opt for a cloud based POS system. Are you a multi-unit restaurant group that needs robust reporting and reservation capabilities? Maybe a hardware based POS solution is the best option for you. The key in looking for restaurant software is finding something that is flexible to your restaurant; not a “one size fits all” model.

So we're put together a small list of the possible point-of-sale systems that are best for your restaurant:

LightSpeed

Lightspeed is an all -in-one technology solution partnering your POS with a FOH and BOH experience, unique customer ordering options and a built in loyalty program. Pricing for this option is extremely affordable with a one location POS set up for as low as $69 a month.

Pros:

  • Restaurant focused
  • Loyalty program built in (extra fees may apply)
  • Customer self ordering screen
  • Integration options like Xero accounting, Wisk Inventory Management and many others

Cons:

  • Slow system during busy usage
  • Inventory auto add feature

Toast

Toast is a cloud based platform that creates an all-in-one environment. With Toast University users can learn the ins and outs of the system in an online classroom setting giving your team the ability to understand the system in its entirety.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Quick system set up
  • Integrated digital ordering platform
  • Toast University
  • Built in loyalty system (extra fees may apply)

Cons:

  • Processing fees
  • Less sales tracking options
  • Customization options limited

Squirrel Point of Sale

As the first touch screen point-of-sale system on the market, Squirrel is a leading point-of-sale provider in the restaurant industry. With a quote based model for pricing, their software caters to small businesses to multi-location restaurant groups.

Pros:

  • Hospitality and restaurant focused
  • Flexible pricing and products
  • Software and hardware options
  • Robust multi-unit location reporting

Cons:

  • Level of ease of use is dependent on restaurant software knowledge

Lavu

Looking for a mobile point-of-sale system? Look no further! Lavu is a restaurant specific mobile point-of-sale software that is made for those who love details. Their reports are extensive, and they offer inventory management for restaurants.

Pros:

  • Restaurant specific
  • Monthly contracts
  • Detailed reporting

Cons:

  • Compatible with Apple/iOS devices only
  • Different tiers of support
  • Limited device options based on tiers

Square

One of the tablet POS systems taking the industry by storm, is SquarePOS. With a payment terminal that’s presented as a sleek white square, SquarePOS works best for new restaurants, and quick service type establishments.

Pros:

  • Compatible with both Apple and Android devices
  • Easy set-up and navigation
  • No extra hardware
  • Third party integrations
  • Loyalty program and marketing tools available

Cons:

  • Interac/Debit cards can only be tapped, with a $100 limit
  • Transaction flat rates can get expensive
  • Costly for high revenue businesses
  • Limited phone support

 


Restaurant Labor: The Value of Real Time Data

Restaurant management is more than just evaluating numbers. Especially when it comes to growth. This is where restaurant real time data comes in. Instead of solely focusing on crunching numbers, owners and managers should be looking at employee performances, customer satisfaction, and questioning what they aren't excelling in.

And proper understanding of the value and importance of real time data requires three key steps: awareness, improvement, and growth.

Awareness

As an owner, having a management team that you can depend on is crucial in aiding in the success of your business. Check in daily with your team. Know your costs, and where they’re going. Has someone clocked in late for their last three shifts? Do you have the right tools to track metrics like overtime or no shows? Being aware of the day to day activities at your business will ultimately affect how you can improve your business.

Improvement

If you’re not keeping a daily logbook of your restaurant’s activities, you could be losing out of valuable information about your business. Tracking real-time events like promos, could be telling you how well your serving staff is doing. Alternatively, tracking dishes that get returned is also a good way to measure kitchen staff performance. Consequently, if there’s an influx, something has to be wrong. Are employees not performing well enough? Is your kitchen not properly stocked? Metrics like these, will remind you instantly on how you can improve service.

Growth

Being aware of the shortcomings of your business is the best way for you to improve and grow. Especially when understanding what your restaurant real time data is telling you will allow you to make decisions wisely. When looking at data, it’s more than just looking at what you’re excelling in, but also evaluating where you can improve upon. For example: you may want to change your operating hours if you find that sales are spiking right before your closing time.


Though restaurant real-time data is a key component of restaurant growth, there is always room for error when manually handling or analyzing data. Report automation solves this issue! Centralize all your important notes, trends and numbers into restaurant management software and get reports on the fly. Interested in learning more? Book a demo in 30 seconds!

 

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7 Common Misconceptions about Scheduling

Restaurant scheduling... seems like a simple task right? Think again!

All businesses with 10 or 100 employees can understand the complication of creating an employee schedule. Yes, your business is growing, which means more employees; which equals to more administrative work; which results in less time interacting with your employees and customers.

So we've put together a list (for those who are new to the industry, or for those who are looking to improving their methods) of 7 common misconceptions about scheduling.


Its easy to schedule with employee's availability on a piece of paper or excel sheet.

Unless you have two pairs of eyes and a 360 rotating head, referencing a separate document for employee availability can be confusing. Especially if you’re still doing schedules on paper! Different staff have different availabilities, and relying on a stagnant sheet of paper, or a non-intuitive excel sheet, can make it difficult to schedule. Especially if you're trying to make minimal changes once is has been released.

Which leads to our next example...

The availability list will never be lost

It’s the classic case of jinxing yourself! As much as you would like to keep all your important papers in a neat pile, things can get easily get lost. Even then, availability changes, time off requests, and  coffee stains are guaranteed to make an appearance.

Its easy having staff cover and take other shifts

Staff may not get it, but business owners do. Paying overtime can get costly, and availability of staff can be iron clad. Accepting shift swaps needs to be strategic; if a new hire is the only person who can cover an experienced servers shift, accepting a swap like that is a recipe for dining room trouble!

Verbal or SMS time off requests won't be forgotten

You know that excuse children gave their teachers about their dog eating their homework? Let’s assume they weren’t lying. The same goes for managers when they forget to approve a requested day off. It happens, verbal reminders get lost in the bustle of the business, and written reminders can get lost.

The staff won’t mind if the schedule comes out a little late

But on the contrary - last minute schedules equals to last minute schedule changes. In an industry that's powered by millenials that value a work life balance, things are guaranteed to come up.  If your schedule is inflexible, workplace happiness is compromised and it can aid to the rampant issue of employee turnover. In short, putting out a schedule without a cushion for changes can be troublesome; especially individual circumstances are unpredictable.

Calculating labor hours isn't worth the time. Schedule freely!

Going with your gut will usually get you out of sticky situations, but in this case, taking a chance can be costly. Without the ability, or time, to compile calculations on labor hours or to review labor vs sales percentages, making scheduling mistakes can be costly.

Pen and paper schedules are the best way to schedule employees.

Maybe you tolerate using pen and paper, or maybe its something that you've grown accustomed too. But you shouldn’t have to remain using it. Change can be scary but change can bring improvement.

With an intuitive scheduling app, scheduling can be made faster. Rather than blatantly sell you our awesome and easy to use online workforce system, we’ll just try and show you the value of it!

If scheduling software is something you are looking into, we highly recommend three features. One being ease of use (it shouldn't make your life harder), second being smart scheduling (meaning it should show labor costs, and employee shift requests on the same screen) and thirdly being software that's made for you and the restaurant industry.


Okay, maybe the list started to become a tad (ton) more biased on our end, but Push is all about efficiency. In a nutshell, our robust system is tailored to your business needs; scheduling is made easy, payroll is a breeze, and we offer real time labor and sale reports. Running a business is hard enough, let us make managing it a breeze with our streamlined workforce system!

Book a demo today!

 

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Restaurant Employee Labor: 3 Ways to Save on Labor Costs

With the recent increases in labor in BC, Ontario and Alberta in the last year, labor cost is only going up. And as one of the biggest expenses in running a restaurant, our team put together 3 tips on how to save on restaurant labor costs!

Track labor day-to-day

Tracking labor day-to-day will help you with 2 key things. One being, how to understand your restaurant's labor behaviors and its importance and secondly, allowing you to be proactive rather than reactive in terms of recovering costs.

When you have easy access to your labor costs, you’re able to review quickly, ask questions like where you should be focusing on, and whose in charge of your schedule creation. From an owners’ standpoint, how your managers schedule and their method behind it, is crucial in the success of your operations. Tracking labor will also allow you to keep an eye on costs like overtime, and re-evaluate its behavior (like who keeps working overtime, who allows it, and why does it keep happening).

Schedule based on sales

Sales = profit, and labor = cost. If you aren’t scheduling based on your sales, you’re losing money daily. Forecasting labor using your sales is a huge tool in optimizing your scheduled labor. Blindly scheduling employees can eat up your profit margin - especially if employees are constantly working OT shifts, or doubles.

To put it in perspective, let’s say your sales last Tuesday and this Tuesday’s sales forecast is $8000. To turn a profit, your restaurant labor cost needs to stay below 18% of your forecasted sales ($1440). Figuratively speaking, you need 6 cooks, 4 servers and 4 hosts, and all your employees are paid $15 an hour.

If you schedule all employees for 8 hours shifts =

(8 hours x $15) x 14 employees = $1680

$1680 / $8000 = 21% of your sales

Based on this calculation, you know that your restaurant labor percentage is over 3%. This, will allow you to adjust the rest of your week to cover your costs.

Know your employees

Employee turnover in the restaurant industry is one of the highest amongst the working industry; and training and hiring employees can get expensive. Getting to know your employees will aid in your retention rate.

You’re taking the time and money to train an employee - if they decide that they’re unhappy with their workplace, they’re taking the skills that you’ve trained them in and leaving! If you build a good relationship with your employees, not only will you be able to trust them to do their job but they’ll also make the effort to work their hardest. Those who are invested in their job are more prone to go above and beyond their role. After all, good employees are happy employees; and happy employees don’t quit!


Restaurant Management: 3 Time Management Strategies

Restaurant management isn’t an easy task. You’re consistently dealing with factors like balancing books, managing employees, and calculating labor costs.

But luckily for restaurant management, restaurant software programs and their useful tools are are slowly being introduced.  As a business owner, workforce management software aims to ease the daily administrative tasks! As an advocate of making work easy we've put together 3 time management strategies with workforce management software:

Automate

We may be a little biased, but automation is everything when trying to save time. Spending an hour every other day rounding employee clocks? Automate that by using time tracking software. Spending countless hours trying to calculate your labor costs? You can also automate that. Automating administrative work like data transfers or calculations will distractedly cut your time spent auditing numbers!

Delegate

There’s no I in team and delegating tasks will save you tons of time. If you’re creating schedules but you’re unable to be on the floor day-to-day, pass on the torch.

Restaurant employee scheduling is no easy task but it requires a lot of grunt work. It involves a careful mix of knowing employee performances and calculating labor costs.

If you've done the hard work, like automating labor costs, giving an time consuming task like scheduling will teach your managers more about the ins and outs of restaurant management and build their skill set. After all, employees who see learning opportunities with their current workplace, are more likely to stay!

Organize

As often as we hear it, organization can be a difficult task. But organization is key - especially if you’re running a multi-location establishment. Things like employee management software will allow you to store all employee data in one place.

Continuing with our scheduling theme, workforce management software will allow you to house all your employee time off requests and availability requests. Therefore, you can hold yourself or your team responsible for dealing with employee requests in a timely manner; and employees’ can’t take advantage of the “I told you last week” excuse!


Restaurant Management: Benefits of Integrating Time Clocks and Payroll

Generally, restaurant management is made up of three parts: scheduling, time tracking, and payroll. You can’t have one without the other; but you can make the payroll processing simpler and faster with an integrated workforce.

As advocates of making work easy, we’ve put together three reasons as to why you should be integrating your time clock to your payroll system:


Accuracy

The first and biggest reason to integrate your time tracking system and payroll software? The elimination of data transfers. When you integrate a time clock to your payroll system, you’re removing the manual step of transferring hours. And less manual work = less payroll errors. As meticulous as you can be, data transfers are always prone to human errors. And errors can be costly; you could be typing 10, and enter 100 instead. With a restaurant payroll of 500 employees, it can be extremely difficult to catch an typo of one number.

Efficiency

Integrating time clocks to payroll = less auditing of employee hours. And less work to do = more time! Payroll is a timely task to finish and paired with another auditing tasking like approving hours and then transferring them, could take hours. When hours are automatically funneled to your payroll software, you as a business owner can, focus on working on your business rather than in it!

Employee Accountability

If employees know, or have an idea of how they’re clock-in behavior reflects their pay, its likely that they’ll be less late! In addition, you’ll no longer have to worry about if employees are really clocking in at their actual start time. If your time tracking software has features like camera time attendance or geo-tracking capabilities, you’ll no longer have to worry about buddy punching or time theft! (And syncing your time tracking tool with your scheduling software is a huge plus too!)


Interested in learning more? Book a demo with us now - it only takes a second!


5 Key Trends to Look for When Scheduling Restaurant Employees

Restaurant Employee Scheduling Software: 5 Key Trends to Look for When Scheduling Employees

When creating a restaurant employee schedule, its crucial to schedule strategically. Its about knowing where you're spending your labor, what departments your employees excel in, and how you can optimize your labor.

Here are 5 key trends that restaurant managers should be paying attention to when scheduling their employees:

Overtime

Too often, when you’re scheduling to fill spots on your employee schedule, overtime can easily be reached. Whether it’s weekly overtime or daily, overtime can be costly, but easily avoidable.

Especially when it comes to shift swaps! An employee who works one 4 hour shift a week may be trying to swap with someone who has already worked 44 hours for the week already! Paying attention to little details like these will allow you to keep an accurate pulse on your OT spending.

Stat Holiday Eligibility

For some provinces, stat holiday pay is calculated to give an employee their “average day wage.” This, can be a high expense for restaurant owners if they’re not paying attention to how their scheduling.

In BC and Ontario, employees are paid an average day wage. Meaning, whatever they had earned in the last pay period (exempt from some earnings like overtime or vacation pay), is divided by the numbers of days worked.

In this case, some employees will earn $0 in stat holiday pay if they had not worked the pay period prior or; they could be paid $104 ($13 x 8) in stat holiday pay if they worked one shift!

Sales vs. Labor Budget

The method of scheduling strategically, is crucial in cost savings when running a restaurant.

Scheduling is so much more than filling spots on a roster. When creating a restaurant employee schedule, you are scheduling labor. Using a sales vs. labor percentage is a great tool in accurately forecasting and effectively planning your schedule.

To calculate your forecasted sales vs labor percentage, take the dollar amount that scheduled, divided by the forecasted sales.

For example:
$1500 in labor cost / $5000 forecasted sales = 30% of sales is spent on labor.

Calculating your scheduled labor cost can be difficult, so we highly recommend investing in scheduling software that has automated sales vs labor forecasting!

Communication

Happy employees are productive employees! Its key to produce and publish your staff schedules well in advance of the destined work week. You need to make sure you’re leaving enough time for you and your employees to make any sudden changes.

If your schedule is released last minute, you’ll be forced to make high-priced last minute changes. For example, if your evening server is calling in sick two days before their Saturday shift, and the only server that's available to cover will be reaching their overtime threshold, you’ll have very limited and costly options.

Whereas, if your schedule was released in advance, you would still have enough time to move employees around; and find the most cost-effective solution for your operations.

Employee Performance

Paying attention to your employee performances will allow you to optimize your labor; and provide your clients with the best service and experience you and your team can offer.

This is where you can schedule employees to their strengths. If you have one server who is a superstar at pushing specials, maybe schedule them during lunch or dinner rushes. If you have a seasoned bartender and a new barback starting, maybe schedule them together so your new hire has the proper training.

On top of paying attention of your employee’s performances, actually get to know them! Getting to know your employee’s will allow you to properly plan your restaurant employee schedule. If your assistant manager is almost complete her school program, maybe offer her a long term position. If your server is planning on studying abroad for the summer, you can prepare for their departure and hire more servers to cover her role.

 


Restaurant Management: Why You Should Consider HR Software

What is HR or Human resources and what exactly does it mean? For restaurant management, HR can mean a lot of things.

In actuality, restaurant management is more than just payroll and scheduling. Restaurant owners also need to be aware of employee performance, annual leaves, and workplace happiness; which can all contribute to HR.

But the most complicated aspect of HR management, is employee compliance.

Evidently, fines regarding audits and employee management can be hefty and severely affect your workplace culture. But don’t worry, there’s a solution! The introduction of technology in the restaurant management has vastly improved employee management for restaurant owners.

HR software tools have become crucial in tracking metrics like employee retention and most importantly, compliance. With that being said, we’ve put together a list of why you should consider HR software for your restaurant:

Stay on top of employee compliance

Are  you on top of vacation tracking? In Canada, vacation pay is mandatory. For some provinces,  an employee who is employed by a company after x amount of years, is eligible for a vacation pay increase.

For example: in Ontario, after an employee has been employed by the same company for 5 years, they’re eligible for a vacation increase of 4 weeks to 6 weeks.

In the US, annual leaves are not required, but for employers who offer it, HR software can help keep employers keep track of what type of vacation they offer; whether it's unpaid days off, accrued vacation days, etc.

HR management software is also a useful tool in storing important documents, specifically relating to the  Affordable Care Act (ACA). ACA compliance is an extremely sensitive task. Restaurant employers that do not provide ACA-compliant health coverage are susceptible to outrageous fines. However, restaurant HR software can be used as a tool to track, organize, and store all these documents to track accurate compliance!

Streamline the Hiring Process and Reduce Turnover Rates

HR software should also have the ability for new hires to fill in their onboarding documents remotely!  Skip the game of phone tag;  collect applications or hiring packages with HR onboarding software!  Employees can fill out their own information and all their documents will be stored in a single, secure space.

As one of the most rampant problems of the industry, tracking and addressing employee management issues like employee turnover is a key aspect of restaurant HR.  HR software should allow you to track employee performances and factors like turnover rates or yearly anniversaries.

These metrics are crucial in the growth of your business and the quality of your team. If you’re having a spike in your employee turnover rate, evaluate the factors like your training processes, or observe any behaviors that may be contributing.

Generally, if you have low retention rates, you should be re-evaluating your management, or training processes. Alternatively, you should also be looking at how you're managing a high retention rate; or confirm if your employee data is being accurately recorded. More often than not, if you see inconsistencies with retention rates, it's likely that your data is being inaccurately tracked.


Centralize Employee Documents

One of the biggest perks of restaurant HR software, is the ability to store all employee documents in one place. Cloud based software allows you and your managers to access different documents across one platform. This is a huge benefit for multi-location brands!

Cloud based HR software has the ability to act as an online filing cabinet. You can store all your employee performance documents, write-ups, etc in one place - that's accessible from anywhere! Yearly performance reviews are made 10x easier when you’re not digging for old documents and employee performance tracking is made easy throughout the year.

As a business owner, your role is to make your managerial tasks easy for you and your employees. HR software can help with this!

Generally, printed restaurant training guides are easily lost or misplaced as soon as they're handed out. As a result, restaurant policies can be easily forgotten.  But by having important documents like employee handbooks easily accessible, the excuse of not having the restaurant rules is eliminated.


Restaurant Labor Scheduling: Why We Love Restaurant Reports

Seriously, we love restaurant reports. They’re valuable pieces of information that allow you to look at your business collectively, without bias. They're labor scheduling tools that help you optimize your employee scheduling process.

You may assume that this Monday morning is your slowest day, but it could be the Tuesday night instead. Numbers don’t lie! Let us show you how real time reports can be significant to your business.

Make Decisions on the Fly

In order to manage your labor costs effectively, you need to have the right tools to make decisions - quick. Are you close to reaching your sales vs labor threshold for the day? Reports like labor cost vs sales reports are great labor forecasting tools to allow you to be proactive rather than reactive. You have the ability to adjust the following days of your schedule before you overspend on labor.

Understand your labor

Labor costs are one of the biggest costs of running a restaurant! Should you really be scheduling two seasoned servers during your slowest part of the day? Or should you be scheduling one new hire, and a regular server? Having the ability to review your labor reports daily is crucial in understanding your employee labor. With a labor forecasting tool at your fingertips, you'll be able to see  how much you're spending on labor, and where and how you can save costs in real time!

Understand your sales

Comparing sale and labor reports to real time gives you the opportunity to evaluate your business at face value. What things should you change? Are you using your hours productively? Should you hire more staff? All these questions can be answered with an easily accessible report that'll show you your real time sales vs your worked labor.

All in all, restaurant reports give you a better pulse on your business. Reports should be meaningful to you and your business. You should be able to make informed business decisions on the fly!

Labor scheduling tools like Push Operations can help you streamline the process of managing labor. There's no manual transfers of data from your time attendance system to your scheduling system to calculate costs. Everything is done in one place!

Interested in learning more? Book a demo here!


5 Places to Visit in Yaletown

Pssst... did you know? Late April to May is the best time to travel to Vancouver! And though Vancouver is notorious for its rain, the sun is just starting to peak out in May.

With a quick weekend trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, one of the must-see areas is Yaletown. Once an old warehouse district, Yaletown is now one of the trendiest areas of Vancouver.

If you're planning on taking a spontaneous trip, we've put together a quick list of things to do in one of Vancouver's popular neighborhoods:

  1. Breakfast at the Distillery Bar + Kitchen
    Start your weekend trip off with a bang with a visit to Yaletown's The Distillery Bar + Kitchen. Part restaurant, part of gin and vodka distillery, and sister restaurant to Yaletown Brewing Company, the Distillery has a little bit of something for everyone! If you're here for a weekend, come for a $10 breakfast or $10 pitchers of mimosas - who knew $10 could be so fun!
  2. Stroll and Shop the Streets
    After your hearty breakfast, take a leisurely stroll around Yaletown. Take in the cobble stone streets, visit stores like Teaja Organic for trendy teas or Ganache Patisserie for a quick treat, and observe the abundance of puppies walking around. If you have a four legged friend, a visit to Barking Babies is a must!
  3. Lunch at Minami
    You can't visit Vancouver without trying sushi! And Yaletown is home to one of Vancouver's best Japanese restaurants. Minami is the sister restaurant to Miku Vancouver and Toronto but the experience in this Yaletown location is second to none. Things you have to try? The sablefish, oishi sushi, and of course - the aburi!Take your dessert to go (the Matcha Opera Cake is a must try), and take a short walk to Falsecreek and ...
  4. Enjoy the waterfront view and Yaletown's history!Roundhouse Turntable Plaza is a stones throw away from the beautiful water of False Creek! Tour the Yaletown Roundhouse, or take a seat on one of the wooden benches and take in what beautiful BC has to offer. If you're feeling active, work off your meals with a bike ride of the seawall, or venture off to Granville Island on the False Creek Ferry!Once you've had your fill of fresh air and seagulls and...
  5. Have dinner at Blue Water CafeConsistently named one of Vancouver's best seafood restaurants, Blue Water Cafe is a must-visit. You can't visit the west coast and not have any seafood!  As a pioneer of sustainable seafood,  the selection is fantastic and the service is impeccable.  Their wine list is also extensive and for meat, plant, and pescetarian diners alike, the menu is diverse with East meets West dishes!

 

 

 


Restaurant Time Tracking: 3 Ways to Ensure Your Staff Clock In & Out

Restaurant Time Tracking: 3 Ways to Ensure Your Staff Clock In & Out

Half the battle of controlling restaurant labor costs, is ensuring staff’s worked hours are tracked accurately.

Implementing restaurant time tracking software is the first step in the right direction. But ensuring staff clock in and out is the real battle – especially if they’re used to old fashioned methods of pen and paper.

Instilling fear about not paying employees for their time worked, regardless if they clocked in or not, doesn’t work. Employees’ will call your bluff – you must pay your staff for their time worked (it’s the law), and they know it too.

Whether its 21, 66, 18 or 245 days, routines take time to form. But the habit of clocking in and out could be made easier when there’s support from your day-to-day managers and employee incentives.

So we’ve made a list! Here are 3 ways to enroll your staff to clock in and out:


 Make the system valuable to managers

The true enforcers of employees’ clocking in are the managers at the ground level. It goes the top down. If your managers are nonchalant about staff behaviors with clocking in and out, it’s likely the staff will be too.

One of the best way to enroll your managers to enforce employee clocking in and out, is show them the value of the system. Invest in a system that works for you as an owner, and for managers as day-to-day users.

With Push Operations’ time attendance, tracking employee hours goes beyond payroll.

With an integrated time attendance and scheduling solution, managers are able to view their actual labor cost in real time. We use employee hours to provide meaningful reports for managers to make informed decisions – especially when it comes to labor costs.

And if you’re already having managers compile labor reports for you, this is a bonus when this task is automated. If the incentive of employees clocking in and out for managers is less data entry and administrative work, it’s likely that they’ll influence their staff to routinely clock in and out.

Make it fun!

At Push Operations, we love making work fun.

One of our restaurant camera time attendance users had a contest for the BEST daily photo. The Push time attendance system took photos of staff when they clocked in and out; and when approving hours, managers voted for their favorite photos. The prize for this brewery? A case of beer!

The initiative was fun and their enrollment rate of clocking in and out shot up by 150%. Everyone was having fun and remembering to clock in/out. After all, beer solves all problems. 

Some people don’t like getting their photo taken so we’ve made our camera feature for our tablet clock in module optionalbut it can still be a fun way to engage staff in clocking in.

We have clients who also enroll employees in workplace initiatives like friendly competitions for the least amount of missed clock ins and outs. For example: which ever position, say bartender vs server, has the least missed clocked ins and outs within 30 days, wins a free lunch! It’s a fun and inexpensive initiative to engage employees in clocking in and out, and fostering a fun work environment.

Empower Staff with Data

Everyone loves transparency - especially when it comes to a paycheck. But with the hustle and bustle of the restaurant environment, missed clock entries can be missed in payroll.

It’s understandable but it’s not fun when an employee is owed pay after the pay period has ended.

Again, getting employees into the habit of continuously clocking in and hard can be difficult but when you allow you staff to view their hours as soon as they’re approved, they’re empowered with ability to audit their own hours.

Allowing employees to access their approved hours, in real time, is more than holding their managers accountable for more mistakes. They’re able to review their exact paid hours to budget their finances before pay day.

With the incentive of having the ability to compare their schedule hours to their clocked hours, staff are more likely to enroll in properly clocking in and out.

 


Why Choose Push Operations Over HotSchedules for Your Restaurant Scheduling Software.

Push Operations vs. HotSchedules

We often get asked: Why Push for Scheduling? Specifically over HotSchedules. So, we thought'd we provide some insight as to why you should use push over HotSchedules for Restaurant scheduling.

If you’re looking for simple restaurant scheduling software, then HotSchedules is great - especially if you were previously using pen and paper. For those using HotSchedules, the general consensus is: why fix something when it’s not broken? But we find that restaurant scheduling is a complex machine; it requires well oiled parts  and Hot Schedules lacks 2 key things:

  1. Accurate labor forecasting with real time changes
  2. Ease of Integration with POS systems

It’s more than just having easy-to-use software. Push prides ourselves in providing our users with the right tools to optimize their workforce. When systems like payroll and scheduling are fragmented, data transfers or calculations delay the efficiency of restaurant scheduling software. And there shouldn’t be delays in schedule forecasting. Whether you’re adding hours or shortening shifts, you should be able to see an accurate forecasted labor percentage with real time changes.

Push Operations

Benefits for Restaurants:

  • Multiple POS systems integrations for sales forecasts based on previous sales history, that can also break down sales forecast based on different meal periods (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Accurate labor forecasting with real-time changes (adding hours, cutting shifts, etc)
  • Real-time labor vs sales percentage display to see what your scheduled labor is against
  • Restaurant focused labor reports
  • Overtime analysis (daily and weekly) for shift swaps based on payroll rules of desired province or state
  • Optional time attendance module for real-time reports of actual vs. forecasted hours
  • Instant reflection of employee wage and position salary updates to forecast labor
  • Less manual work with an streamlined labor management system

Streamlining Payroll and Labor Management

At Push, we believe that effectively controlling your labor starts with labor planning. If your restaurant’s goal is to keep FOH labor under 10% of sales, you should be able to see, in real time, how much you’re spending on labor based on your sales forecast. It’s the most efficient, and cost-effective method, to control your labor costs!

Push Operations has one of the best labor forecasting tools on the restaurant scheduling software market. It’s not because Push has a magical scheduling system; but we have their own payroll module. Though we don’t force clients to sign up for our payroll module, clients who use Push for payroll processing are able to integrate employee pay rates, which are funneled automatically into our scheduling module.


Want to learn more? Book a demo today and ask for Tina. I'd love to give you a demo of our system personally!

Book a Demo

Restaurant Highlight: Rosemary Rocksalt's Teena Gupta

The story behind Rosemary Rocksalt? Two successful entrepreneurs, and two bagel aficionados.

You’re always hearing stories about how you shouldn’t go into business with a friend. But if you’re looking for a success story, the founders (Teena Gupta, Ken Sim, Tim Hopkins and Parise Siegel) of Rosemary Rocksalt have defied that.

Teena and Ken are also the co-founders of Nurse Next Door, an award winning Canadian home healthcare service. But with taking a step back from the day-to-day operations at Nurse-Next-Door in 2012, Teena and Ken sought a new venture.

Now where does home health care services and Montreal style bagels unite? In the form of bagel expert Parise Seigel. They knew they wanted to work with a friend – Ken and Teena saw an opportunity, and they took it.

Dubbed the Director of Spreading Happiness, Parise’s expertise in Vancouver’s bagel scene came from her experience of her father’s legendary bagel joint. With their backgrounds in finance, Ken and Teena crunched and reviewed the numbers and paired with Tim and Parise’s expertise in bagels from Seigels, Rosemary Rocksalt came into existence.

With the emphasis of quality products, workplace happiness, and the subtle accents of the trio’s friendship, Rosemary Rocksalt is stealing the hearts of their bagel patrons.

Their social media feeds are littered with photos of their employees (who they call team members), real life photos of their bagels and express an all around quirky and playful vibe. Their brand is charming – from the tailored caricature murals for each of the 5 corporate locations, to their slogan of #realbagels. They’re honest, they’re fun, and they’re darn good.

Highlighting one of our favorite fast casual chains, we spoke to Teena on the success and growth of Rosemary Rocksalt.


  1. If you had to describe RRS in three words, what would they be?

    Off the top of my head - real, fresh and chewy

  2. What’s your current favorite dish on the menu? What’s a must try at RRS?

    My current favorite is the Strathcona on a rosemary rocksalt bagel because I like spicy foods and it has jalapenos! But I normally do it without the meat because I’m not a huge meat eater.

    And I think what’s a must try is the Mont Royal, a smoked meat sandwich. People just love it!

  3. Your background is in finance, and you’ve had experience in operating an extremely successful healthcare service (Nurse Next Door)...What pushed you to take the jump and open Rosemary Rocksalt? Was there anything that drew you into the restaurant industry?

    It wasn’t the restaurant industry in particular. What happened was, stepping out of daily operations of Nurse Next Door, I wanted to do more. I didn’t know if it was going somewhere else being an employee or starting something.

    What ended up happening, is that for one of my kids, (I have four boys), the second one was at Montessori with this kid that he really liked and I really liked the parents. She had a bagel company and was thinking of maybe expanding but didn’t know how.  And knew that Ken and I had experience in expansion.

    It was organic and we just started talking about it from there. Ken looked at the numbers and the financials because he's really good with evaluations like that.  Then we thought, maybe let's do something together, you guys seem like cool people and it was really more of that than anything!

    It was taking best practices [of Nurse Next Door] and applying it to another widget.

  4. Do you have any advice for those who are potentially looking to start a business with a friend? What kind of qualities are important in finding the appropriate business partner?

    Number one is: you have to get along with the person. Just because you’re friends, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to do well in business together.

    I think a lot of people think that’s gonna happen and it ends up breaking up their friendship. I think you need to know, before you even start, what each of you is willing to bring to the table. And its setting clear expectations before starting and enduring. I think its how committed each party is going to be and the passion is very important.

    And sharing some of the same qualities and core values of that other person!

  5. In terms of running a successful business, do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? What are some key traits that they should have?

    Key traits in running a successful business? I think you really have to believe in something and keep plugging away. I think, especially for entrepreneurs, don’t take no for an answer.

    It takes so little effort to go from good to great and so few people do it. I think so many people stay in the good area but if you’re willing to put in a little sweat …

    And resilience. Don’t take no for an answer, keep plugging away, keep plugging away, even if it means you fail at one, your first or second or third business, you generally should be learning from whatever you failed at. Look at those as opportunities and you just keep plugging away. Resilience is a big part of that.

  6. What do you consider one of the most difficult aspects in running a successful business?

    The most difficult aspect? I think transitioning from an entrepreneur to owning an actual business.

    It’s easy to be an entrepreneur, and say “Hey I’ve got this great idea” but then to put it into action [is different].

    As a business owner, you have to take on all the duties and its important know and learn how to delegate those duties to people you can trust and rely on. so you can focus on the bigger picture, on the strategic picture. It’s about having someone help with the actual operations and transitioning from an entrepreneur to a business owner.

  7. Since 2012, you’ve opened 5 locations, with one on the way. How do you ensure that new and returning guests receive the same quality service and consistent food?

    The key there is just maintaining really really high standards. If you maintain and your following procedures and they’re consistent in all stores, that’s how you’re gonna have consistent food.

    And training, it has to be the same way for every store partner, and every artisan.

  8. And what do you call your employees?

    We call our employees team members. Everyone is a team member. There’s no top to bottom, it’s all lateral. As the business owners,  we call ourselves the support center. We are here to support our team members to grow those stores to really successful business.

    Our GMs are our store business partners. We give them the autonomy to run the store within the policies and procedures of RRS. They have the autonomy to act like business owners and entrepreneurs. And they don’t have to come to us for every little decision. We want them to be self-led to make decisions on their own with coaching of course. If they need help, ask. For small things like a janitorial issue, we want to give them the opportunity to figure it out.

  9. What kind of factors do you look for when opening a new location?

    For new locations, ideally we want high traffic areas. We have our locations here in Vancouver and we just opened up in Richmond in December. That’s our first real suburb location and its doing quite well.

    So those are the kind of markets that we want to expand into. We want people who want grocery items. So not just to come in for sandwich but maybe you know what, I want to buy a dozen bagels and maybe grab a sandwich at the same time.

  10. In a span of 5 years after, there are now 5 locations open and growing. What kind of factors have contributed to your success?

    Perseverance and again, not taking no for an answer. And really, above all, I think having a great team and key members of your organization, who really believe in what we’re doing. Who truly believe in what we’re doing.

    Passion is core and I think it's being able to see the bigger picture. It’s easy to get lost in the daily sh*t storm, but to see the bigger picture is so so important.

  11. Is there anything you would do differently? Were there any lessons you’ve learned along the way?

    One of the biggest lessons would be always stay true to your core values; in terms of team members.

    When you know that you have someone who isn't the right fit, it's better to free up their future, sooner than later.

    We are slow to hire and quick to free up people futures .. and that kinda got lost along the way a little bit. But we’ve learned from that.

    And another thing, I think as a small business owner, is being more involved in daily ops in the short-term, and making sure you really trust your key people… and keeping them and yourself accountable.

  12. What’s next for RRS? It has almost been five years since the first location opened, and you’ve expanded quickly and successfully. Do you plan on opening locations outside of BC?

    We do. Right now we’re corporately owned and not franchised; and we plan on staying corporately owned. Its very important for us to solidify our operations here in BC first and foremost before we even get out.

    We do plan on opening outside of BC but we haven’t determined where just yet. Our next 10 locations, at least, will be in BC, probably in the lower mainland area including the suburbs. We need to solidify operations, and our training programs, before we go out.

 

 


Restaurant Payroll Software: 3 Tips on Managing Labor

Restaurant owners pay close attention to inventory; it usually represents the biggest expense in their businesses. But after food cost, restaurant labor is the next major expense.

 

Managing inventory is important, but so is payroll and employees. When payroll processes are disorganized, it's likely that there will be costly errors to employee pay.

Hand in hand with employee labor is payroll. When managing employees, payroll errors may cause legal issues and upset employees. Unhappy employees lead to low employee retention. Looking long term, training and hiring new employees is expensive and inefficient to your workflow; especially if the employee ends up leaving.

To efficiently manage your payroll and employee labour the first thing you should do is find a reliable payroll software provider! Here are 3 tips on how payroll software helps manage restaurant labor:


Track and Pay Taxes Accurately

Human errors are inevitable when manual payroll processes require meticulous monitoring. Invest in an automated payroll software provider to ensure that you're properly paying your employees!

An an employer, you are required to manage and process your employee’s salaries, sick days, taxes, CPP, EI and other employment information relating to remuneration. Processing this sensitive information manually is extremely time-consuming.

Every pay period, employers are obligated to withhold the correct amount of taxes from each employees’ paycheck. These taxes must be paid to appropriate parties, along with a portion from the employer for each employee yearly. As a result, failure to pay on time can result in large penalties. A good payroll system should be able to calculate and pay these automatically.


Optimize Your Workflow

A good payroll system should also be able to integrate with your other workforce management systems such as time attendance software, restaurant scheduling software, or employee management software.

Camera time attendance, is a great tool to accurately track employees clocking in and out of work. When integrated with your payroll software, it should have the ability to automatically push your employee hours into payroll, to streamline your payroll process!


Store Data in One Place

The key in being organized, is centralizing your documents. Instead of flipping through paper files or books, store your payroll records, and employee data in a secure space online.

With a reliable payroll provider, you shouldn't have to hire IT staff to protect your data. Invest in a cloud-based payroll software provider that is committed to keeping your business data and employees’ personal information safe and private. In particularly, safe from malicious forces like hackers and viruses and only privy to only you as an employer.

By integrating with restaurant employee management software, you should be able to easily pull labor reports and accurately track employees' development - letting you centralize your workflow!


As a restaurant owner, payroll is a sensitive matter but you shouldn't have to be an accounting expert to run payroll. Automate your payroll process and leave the heavy lifting to a reliable, secure, and intuitive cloud based restaurant payroll software provider.


Time Clock Software

Restaurant Employee Time Attendance Software: Top 3 features

Restaurant Employee Time Attendance Software: Top 3 features

Time Theft Prevention

As great as your employees may be, mistakes are still made when clocking in with ancient methods of pen and paper; and it costs your business in the end. Integrating technology into your business allows you to optimize your workforce and employee time attendance software allows your business to retain an honest working environment.

You’ll be able to ensure that employees are only paid for their time worked; and any time clocking discrepancies will be easy to track. You'll also be able to make sure that staff arrive for their shift work- ready. Camera time attendance is a great tool in ensuring employees are uniform ready when their shift starts - you’ll no longer have to worry about staff changing after they clock-in. Plus it’s fun, who doesn’t like a selfie? Camera time attendance reinvents the method of time attendance - it makes clocking in and out fun and new!

Control Unauthorized Clock Entries

Integration with restaurant scheduling software is key for preventing any unauthorized time approved to payroll.

For example: an employee is scheduled for a 10:00 AM and signs in early at 9:50 AM; an efficient time attendance system should be able to flag this extra ten minutes for manager approval. An extra ten minutes may not sound like much, but if a restaurant has 20 shifts a day, over a course of a year, an extra ten minutes added to a shifts can end up being thousands of dollars.

Integrating with restaurant time attendance with restaurant scheduling software allows you to keep track of common occurrences like overtime, early and late starts, etc. You’ll have real time information to approve or unapprove clock hours,

Eliminate Manual Hours Transfer to Payroll

Manually adding up approved hours and transferring them to payroll is not only time consuming but it can also result in costly errors. Throw in statutory holidays that are required to be calculated every other pay period, and you’ve guaranteed yourself hours of tediously calculating payroll hours.

Essentially, if you're running a restaurant with 50 employees, spending 10 minutes to manually transfer hours for each employee, equates to a full day’s worth of work. Integrating time attendance software with restaurant payroll software saves your payroll administrators time and saves you money. Accurate hours also means accurate payroll with no mistaken costs. 

Decrease Error Costs

Generally, period end dates and pay dates are fixed dates. There are usually only a few days between period end dates and pay dates. As a result, your payroll admin has an extremely limited time to transfer employee clocked hours over. On a scale, a 2% error factor on an annual payroll of $500,000 equates to $10,000 in errors a year.

Limited time leads to increased errors - especially when transferring clocked hours to payroll. The biggest issue with errors is that it creates an untrustful environment with employees.  It’s also more than likely to be a one way street. If you over pay employees, you’ll likely won't hear about it much. However, it's likely that errors will be found instantly if employees are underpaid.

Errors aren't hard to come by - especially with time constraints and deadlines.  They're guaranteed when considering the sheer volume of hours that must be manually calculated and transferred.

With time attendance software auto-pushing your employees clocked hours to payroll, you'll save yourself and your payroll admin time and money!

Real-Time Access to Labor Costs

Completing the workforce management trifecta with restaurant time attendance, restaurant scheduling and restaurant payroll, allows you to evaluate, review, and grow your business using real time data.

The restaurant environment is extremely fast paced. Your margins are thin and decisions always need to be made on a whim. If you're manually transferring hours to payroll, you only really know your labor costs two weeks out. However, operating on two-week-old data is not the best scenario for a restaurateur.

Making informed decisions, based on the real time numbers that your restaurant is telling you, along with understanding what they mean, are a key practice in running a successful business. Running a successful business is more than having the right mindset, but also the right tools.


Push Cares 2017: Strathcona's Holiday Safe Place

Push Cares 2017: Strathcona's Holiday Safe Place

As of 2016, Push Operations made the commitment to give back to our local community. This past holiday season, we re-visited our old friends at Strathcona's Holiday Safe place.

The Holiday Safe Place

The Holiday Safe Place program is a seasonal program, introduced by the Strathcona Community Centre. The name of the program is a direct reflection of what it offers - a safe place for children during the holiday season.

The program was created for at risk children who are vulnerable during the holiday season. When schools are closed for the holidays, children living in poverty are most vulnerable and at risk over these extended school breaks.

 

 

The Push Operations Initiative

For many of the children who are part the Holiday Safe Place, they come from low-income and single parent families. For many, they never receive a single Christmas gift.

That's what our team wanted to change. This holiday season, the Push Operations team returned, with hopes to again brighten up each child's holiday season.

On the last day of the program, the Push Operation Elves brought some holiday spirit to Strathcona's Community Centre!

Led by Business Development team member Tina Lum, our team had two days to purchase, wrap, and write cards for each child. Armed with a wishlist for 70 children, our team personally picked out customized gifts from each child's wish list, and hand-wrote each card.

Getting things ready for the children was only half the fun. Seeing the children's excitement for Push Operation's Present Drive was the best part! However, our visit wasn't just to give the children gifts - rather it was to show them that the world is their oyster.

"I didn't have a lot growing up, but I had a dream and I worked hard.  Today I'm here to show you that if you work hard and follow your dreams, you can give back to your community one day too." - Tina Lum, Business Development

 

 

As a company, we offer more than just payroll. With the new year, our team hopes to take part in more initiatives within our local community. If you'd like to connect with us to help a local non-profit charity, we'd love to hear from you!

 

 


Restaurant Reports: Keeping Track of Labor and Cost of Sales

When we think about the success of a restaurant business or any business for that matter, the first thought that usually comes to mind is profit.

Profit is the amount of financial gain when we subtract our expenses from our sales. That sounds simple enough, we just need to make more sales than we spend.

But wait! How are you going to accurately calculate the labor and cost of sales involved in the business? Especially in a restaurant business - you have enough on your plate: menu items, food preparation, maintaining inventory, scheduling, etc. The last thing you want to do is spend time crunching numbers during your break.

Worry not! Here are a few tips to assist in keeping track of labor and cost of sales at your restaurant:


Use Software

Not just any software, but one that is specially designed for restaurant and hospitality sectors like Push. Having to do things in your head or with pen and paper is frustrating and takes up precious time. With Push, you can forget most of the manual work and put the focus back into your business rather than calculations.

With a click of a button, Push allows you to view reports that show you the exact percentage being spent on labor compared to your sales. Data is generated, sorted and filtered in different ways that are meaningful to you; such as by time period or by positions. Furthermore, Push can be integrated with your POS system to automatically grab and input sales numbers, so you don’t have to manually input it!

A comprehensive software like Push is highly recommended if you want to get rid of the headaches attached to labor cost calculations.


Track Costs

Get into the habit of recording the price of inventory items purchased. It's much easier down the road to make calculations when all the data is right there in front of you - when you need it!

Let’s say a bag of 15 potatoes costs $3; which comes out to 20 cents per potato; and you’ve made a record of this on a spreadsheet. You just came up with a new dish that makes use of two potatoes.

Since you’ve recorded prices of your inventory items, you can easily bring up your spreadsheet and see that you'll using about 40 cents per dish. This will assist in centralizing the data for subsequent price changes, so you can adjust accordingly.


Think holistically.

Now that you know the ingredient costs involved in your new dish, costs that are associated may not immediately jump out. The cost of turning on the stove for an hour to heat up 20 potatoes is a bit different than turning it on for 1 potato.

Sometimes, it’s not just the price of the ingredients you put into a dish; there are other aspects you need to think about as well.


The tips above are not meant to be comprehensive; but they should be thought of as a starting point to building a foundation for practices in keeping track of labor and cost of sales.


Restaurant Payroll: 4 Tips on How to Run Payroll Faster

Processing payroll is one of the many hats that a restaurant owner wears.

But its time consuming, tedious, and requires a lot of auditing. This is where restaurant payroll software comes in. Restaurant payroll software users experience up to 3% of cost-savings efficiency through labor cost recovery and savings!

But if you're already using it, are you fully optimizing your restaurant payroll software's capability? Here are 4 tips on how to optimize your payroll process:

Approve Clock Entries Daily

Get in a habit of getting your manager to approve the clock hours daily. Ideally, it's best to approve hours at the end of each shift. That way, you won't forget the details of each day. Maybe there were some special changes to shifts, or maybe an employee skipped a break; making same day approvals ensure that these are still fresh in your memory!

Audit Everything

Even when hours are approved, it's important to audit your clock entries. If your restaurant payroll software has integrated with your time attendance software, make sure it has the capability to run a report to audit your clock approvals daily.

Having all your clock entries on one report will allow you to easily catch employee with missing rates, unapproved clock hours, overlapping hours and verify if the multiple shifts are valid.

It's always better to catch a mistake before you've approved payroll; especially if a new hire is supposed to be paid $11.60 hourly, not $116!

Plan Accordingly

If you know you have multiple bonuses, deductions, or advances to enter into the system, be sure to add them ahead of time.

Add the earning and deduction entries as you receive the information, instead of all at once when your planning to run payroll. Having to input a large volume of earnings and deductions can be stressful and the chances of errors is higher.

Doing this ahead of time will expedite your payroll process when you actually have to approve payroll, and leave enough room for you to make adjustments as necessary.

Review, Review, Review

Always verify that you’ve inputted the earnings and deductions correctly. Sometimes, $100 bonuses may be entered as $1000, or advance deductions could be entered by multiple managers.

Make sure you allow yourself adequate time to make adjustments; or use reports to view your pay run summary on one page!


Restaurant Employee Management: How to Keep Employees Happy

Restaurant employees are some of the hardest employees to retain in the industry. Good help is hard to find, and employee turnover is rampant in the restaurant industry.

With restaurant employee management, happy employees are loyal employees and that's key for employee retention.  Here are tips on how to keep restaurant employees happy:


Acknowledge Hard Work

Hearing recognition is what differentiates a good employer from a great employer. Recognition is free. Work is just work for some, but when your staff are going above and beyond, hearing recognition can mean a lot.

Let employees know when they're doing a great job, or when clients praise their service or dishes. Especially when dealing with difficult customers, or getting out of the weeds in the kitchen.


Invest in Your Employees

Think of your employees as an investment. They're the engine behind your business and investing in them, is ultimately investing back into your business!

Especially with back-of-house staff - they're extremely hard to retain in the current climate of the restaurant industry. If you have a star employee, help them hone their skills!

Invest in classes that your employees can take, and help with grow with your business.


Award Longevity

Track how long an employee has been with you. Yearly employee reviews are a great way to reflect on your role as an employer. What made them stay? How can you improve as an employer?

Show your appreciation for your employees' loyalty with a raise after ‘x’ amount of time.  It's a win-win situation for you and your employee. After all, hiring and re-training new staff can take longer and costs more money.


Introduce Incentive Programs

Create incentive programs for pushing new dishes or recruiting new employees. Host draws for the most items sold, most upsells or have FOH and BOH departments nominate an employee of the week. These are fun ways to get employee's involved and have a little bit of friendly competition between staff.

They're also a great way to track an employee's performance and drive sales!


Get to Know Your Staff

More often than not, their workplace is their home away from home!

Employees like to know that you care about them on a personal level. They're more than just bodies that keep your restaurant operating.

Employees generally work harder for employers they like. If they're looking for a career in the restaurant industry, you can help them on their career path or journey. Who knows - you might be looking at your future General Manager!


Support a Work Life Balance

When scheduling, avoid scheduling employees for back to back close and open shifts. Tired employees are unhappy employees and they'll appreciate your mindfulness.

It's also key to remember that employees have social lives outside of their job. Be flexible when you can and during the holiday seasons, firmly outline your time off rules to avoid scheduling mishaps.


Encourage Fun at Work

Keep it fun - but professional. Foster a positive work environment by introducing activities like end of shift wins, or pre-shift concerns to keep morale up and encourage open communication.

You can also set aside a designated budget for a staff meal once a month. It'll be a great opportunity for your front-of-house and back-of-house teams to interact and partake in team building activities like two truths and a lie or telephone!


Show Appreciation

1 phrase, two words: thank you. Two simple words that can make any staff member feel appreciated. It lets employees know that as an employer, you're aware and appreciative of their hard work!


Always remember that your workforce is made up of people first - they're not just your employees! As an employer, always remember to check in and look for ways to be a better boss.

Introducing technology into the workplace is a great step in restaurant management. Restaurant owners are jacks of all trades, and the growth of technology in the workplace is a great way to help manage restaurant employees.

If you haven't already, the introduction of cloud based scheduling, automated payroll software or camera time attendance are awesome tools for restaurant management!


Restaurant Time Clock Software: Tracking Shift Times for Restaurant Employees

Tracking shift times for restaurant employees is proven to be a difficult task especially when a restaurant contains a large number of staff.

It's an extremely time consuming task to track all your employees shift times manually; especially if your establishment has little downtime. The pen and paper method of tracking employee hours is just no longer cutting it. However, tracking employee shift times is definitely one of the most important tasks in order to run a restaurant efficiently and profitably.

As a  time tracking expert, I've put together 3 best practices on how to accurately track shift times for restaurant employees:

Invest in Restaurant Time Clock Software

In the world of restaurants, it's almost impossible to accurately keep track of when employees are arriving and leaving; especially without the help of a time clock software.

Although there may be many software options out there to track employees’ shifts, it's beneficial to choose a software that's restaurant specific. Avoid the struggle of understanding software tailored toward corporate industries, and invest in a software that is catered to restaurants.

Setup Clock In and Out Rules

Once a software has been chosen, you’ll soon realize how much more efficient having restaurant time clock software can be.

By setting up clock rules, you'll have the ability to see an employee’s adherence to their schedule at a glance. You'll no longer need to babysit  employees that aren't following their schedules.

Say goodbye to the headache of time theft and the manual method keeping track of an employee’s attendance record day to day!

Optimize Your Workflow

Generating a report can tell you instantly how well your employees are sticking to the script. You should have the ability to simply run a report to view the behaviors of your employees' clocked hours; like how many hours an employee has worked over time.

With all of your employees shifts documented electronically, as an employer, you could easily take those shifts to compare them with your sales. This allows you to look at your labor to determine where to distribute shifts to ensure maximum profitability.


With the integration of technology into your restaurant,  restaurant time clock software is now becoming a basic restaurant industry necessity.


Restaurant Time Tracking: 5 Reasons to Adopt Time Clock Software for your Restaurant

Restaurants have long struggled with the problems that traditional time tracking brings.

It's labor intensive and prone to error - especially when traditional methods of time attendance aren't tailored for restaurants.

It's worth considering these 5 benefits of adopting restaurant time clock software for your business. You'll be amazed at what it can bring to your day to day operations and company growth!

Save Time and Improve Accuracy

Automating the process of manually tracking employee hours eliminates another avenue for human error and saves your managers from having to manually approve or process each employee.

Any good restaurant time clock software should also perform convenient tasks for you, like automatically deducting breaks or flagging OT hours.

Solve Common Clock-in Issues

Time clock software can solve problems like buddy-punching by adding an authentication step to the process, such as taking a picture during each clock-in.

Camera clock-ins are a great way to ensure employees are uniform ready for each shift; you'll only pay them for their time working.

Setting up clock rules will also allow you to automatically handle early clock-ins or late clock-outs the way you want.

Easily Audit Clock-ins

Look for time clock software that comes with powerful reporting solutions. This will make analyzing clock discrepancies significantly easier. Managers can easily monitor missed, or overlapping clock-ins, and compare the clocks to the scheduled shift if the occasion arises.

Allows Flexible Clock-in Methods

Traditional time clock solutions require you to maintain hardware like punch card machines and card scanners. The maintenance on these types of hardware can be expensive; and when they break, you'll likely be resorting back to pen and paper tracking.

Now, most restaurant time clock software can run on any tablet - which can be affordably purchased and easy to maintain. Some time clock solutions also allow employees to clock-in via an application they can install on their own phones.

Open New Communication Channels

Some time clock solutions allow managers to broadcast messages to staff as they clock in; and allow employees to send messages during clock out as well. This gives managers and employees new ways to communicate and provides another opportunity to gather data that could not be previously done with traditional means.

By reducing the cost of time-consuming processes and adding value via innovative features, the adoption of a time clock software solution could significantly improve your restaurant's business operations.


Restaurant Scheduling Software: Best Practices for Scheduling Your Staff

Restaurant scheduling is one of the most time consuming and sensitive tasks when running a business.

Owner and operators can understand how creating schedules, especially with pen and paper, are always prone to sudden or unexpected changes - the first posted version is never the final version. Scheduling the right employee for a certain shift is crucial for smooth sailing in your day to day operations but it’s a meticulous and long process.

To optimize your restaurant scheduling process, here are the best practices in scheduling your staff:


Know Your Business

You should be checking on your labor costs everyday, and recognizing the behaviors. It’s crucial to understand which days and which hours are your busiest. What days are there local events? When are your lunch or dinner rushes? Knowing these numbers will allow you to properly schedule your employees and optimize your labor costs.


Know Your Employees

Playing to your employees' strengths is key in making your business run smoothly. Do you know your employees well enough to know whose availability is flexible and whose is iron clad? Do you know which employees are cross trained?

Creating a schedule is more than ensuring you have enough staff on hand. Its crucial to know and understand what areas your employees excel in, and give them the right tools and opportunities to succeed.


Cross Train Your Employees

Cross training employees is greatly beneficial to both you and your employees. Your staff will learn a larger skill set; be prepared for unexpected changes; and you'll have the flexibility to move employees to different positions if the occasion arises.

Cross training will grant "...your team [has the] capacity [to be] flexible in respond[ing] to fluctuation workflows..." If your dining room is short on servers but you have enough hostesses for the evening, an employee who is cross trained in both positions can float between, or be assigned to the needed position.


Create and Communicate your Schedule in Advance

Set a designated day for your schedule to be posted. You’ll be held accountable to post the schedule consistently and you’ll have the ability to be flexible with any scheduling changes that may come up. Leaving time to adjust is not only beneficial to you, but also for your employees. Staff will know when they should get their time requests in and any necessary changes to your schedule can be made in advance!


Use Technology

Technology may be invading every aspect of our lives but in this case, scheduling software will quicken your scheduling process.

Pen and paper schedules are classic method of creating schedules, but they serve only one purpose: showing your original schedule. Instead of using old, complicated, and fragmented methods of pen and paper or Excel, invest in restaurant scheduling software.

Most scheduling software allows you to streamline the scheduling process by centralizing the creation of your schedule, employee time off and shift swap requests. Eliminating printed schedules from your scheduling process will cut down the amount of phone calls or text messages during business hours; and you’ll have all employee requests in one place.


Scheduling for a staff of 15 is a headache, and scheduling for 150 employees can be a nightmare. With the right tools, and an accurate pulse on your business, scheduling can be made easy with the aid of technology in your workplace.

 


Restaurant Labor: How to Engage and Retain Restaurant Employees

How to Engage and Retain Restaurant Employees

Employees are the engine behind every business. Engaged employees are happy employees, and happy employees are committed to your business. In the restaurant industry, employee turnover is one of the biggest pain points for every business owner. Finding good employees is only half the battle of employee management – keeping them is the hard part. Here are the 5 best practices on how to engage and retain your restaurant employees:

Support a Work Life Balance

Inflexible work hours or poor management is a large factor in low employee retention. Its crucial to be fair in employee’s scheduling requests. Scheduling software is a great tool to make scheduling easy for you, and fair for your staff.

Supporting a work life balance doesn’t mean agreeing to every employees’ time off request or shift request, but understanding that employees have lives outside of work, and sometimes, things happen.

Make Work Fun As Possible!

It’s likely that if an employee is not at home or school, then they’re at work. Employees generally perform better when they are happy - in fact, employees are 12% more productive.” Team building activities like pre-shift meetings or charitable initiatives are a fun and great way to boost employee morale. Celebrating daily wins or tracking employee milestones can also be a great tool to let employees know that you appreciate them!

Grant Opportunities to Grow

If you’re looking for someone to take over some of your responsibilities, there’s no one better than someone who knows your business inside and out – your existing employees!

National Restaurant Association found that 9 out of 10 restaurant managers started at entry level position. As an owner, you should work to improve and strengthen your existing employees’ skill sets – it’s likely they’ll be the one to fill important roles within your business.

Think of employees as investments. Hiring new employees and re-training them can be expensive and time consuming, especially if your turnover is high. The time you spend re-training new hires could be spent improving your existing employees’ work performances.

Track Employees Progress

Introduce tools like restaurant HR software to monitor your employees progress. This will give you insight as to which employees are struggling and why. Have you provided them with all the right tools? Have they received the proper training? Paying attention to the behavior of your employee’s work will answer these types of questions.

Especially with millennial employees - Canada's restaurants employ 520,000 young people under the age of 25.  By tracking their progress and paying attention to their day to day behaviors, you'll have a better pulse on how to improve their skill set and help them grow!

POS systems are a great tool to track upselling specials from individual employees. During dinner rushes, you’ll be able to differentiate which employees are pushing specials like no tomorrow, and those who are not.

Conduct Employee Annual Reviews

Employee reviews are a great tool in gauging how employees are feeling about their work and they’re crucial in keeping track of employee performances.

Clear lines of communication between staff and management are vital in improving employee retention.  It lets them know that "hey, we're here" and we're happy to chat.

It’s key to consistently check in with employees and to make sure that you’re addressing any common issues that come up. Unhappy employees will produce in poor work and happy employees are more than likely to go above and beyond!

 


High pay or raises are only a band-aid to bullet hole solutions to workplace happiness. If the work conditions are poor, or unorganized, employee turnover is guaranteed to be high. Tools like Restaurant HR Software are great for managing your employees and setting them up for success. Good employees are hard to find and even harder to keep if they’re unhappy. At the end of the day, your employees are your ambassadors and their commitment to your business is key to employee retention.

 


Restaurant Management: 3 Tips From a Billionaire Restaurateur

Restaurant Management: 3 Tips From a Billionaire Restaurateur

You don’t have to be a chef to be a successful restaurateur or restaurant manager.  Evidently, Tilman Fertitta, a billionaire restaurateur, embodies what is means to be a successful business owner.  Fertitta is the CEO, Chairman and sole owner of the Landry's Inc, an American hospitality company that owns the likes of the Golden Nugget hotel chain, Rainforest Café, Morton’s Steakhouse, and BC’s own The Boathouse.

He is the world’s richest restaurateur. Forbes estimates his real time net worth to $3.5 billion USD as of 10/17/17, and he sits at #212 on Forbes 400 2017 list. He has achieved the American dream; he’s a self made billionaire, who got his start in the hospitality industry, peeling shrimp at his father’s restaurant. You could say business is in his blood; his cousins co-own Stations Casinos and are the former owners of the UFC; his grandfather ran a legendary nightclub; and his father owned and operated a seafood restaurant in his hometown of Galveston.

Fertitta owns over 500 properties, and over 50 brands. He’s been described as a “brash, arrogant, bargain-basement, bottom-feeding acquisition nemesis,” but his business sense is admirable. At 23, he took out a loan and opened a 160 room hotel, which he sold to buy a majority stake in Landry’s; which was then used to be a single seafood restaurant. From then, he has bought failing businesses on the verge of bankruptcy, and flipped them into thriving fortunes.

So how has Tilman Fertitta been so successful in his ventures? We’ve found 3 aspects that are key to his success:

Look for Flaws

95% of perfect isn’t enough for Fertitta. He doesn’t see the perfectness of his business, rather he looks for the 5% that could be better. It’s the details that matter; 95% of everything could be perfect, but there is always 5% wrong, whether it’s the cigarette butts in a hotel parking lot, or a burnt light bulb in the lobby. The key is to look at your restaurant and focus on the 5% and make them right. When you’re in constant motion of improving your business, little details can be overlooked, but they do have an impact.


Know Your Business

Fertitta also stresses the importance of knowing the numbers of your business. Often, restaurant owners don’t know what their numbers are, and they don’t understand what their numbers are telling them.

You have to know the operations side, you have to know the sales and marketing side and you better know the numbers and financial side. If you only know one or two of those, you’re going to be unsuccessful.

When you know your numbers, you’ll know your business. Your numbers will tell you your sales, food cost and labor margins. If you don’t know or understand these numbers on your restaurant reports, it could be detrimental to your business. Your numbers allow you to analyze the problems of your business and see if things are profitable or not.

Fertitta says” you cannot be successful in business if 1) you don’t know how to operate what you’re doing, 2) if you don’t understand the numbers of your business and all your costs, 3) if you don’t know how to sell and market your product." Evidently, if you have all three, along with working capital and a good product, you have the potential to be profitable.


Be Relentless

Fertitta is resilient. He’s been in the business for over 20 years, and he’s acknowledged his mistakes and opportunities he’s missed. But he holds his head high for one reason: he never gave up. Often, business professionals take constant signs of failure as a means of defeat. For Fertitta, even in the face of bankruptcy, he still prevailed. The key is to stay hungry and have high standards. Fertitta takes calculated risks, surrounds himself with people who know how to do things he doesn't, and focuses on the bigger picture.

The mountain of skills that he has, he has honed to excel at. In other words, the things he knows how to do, he does well. He’s meticulous, detail orientated, and efficient -- all values that he puts into his businesses. Since his acquisition of Landry’s, he has purchased a multitude of restaurants, and slowly transformed Landry’s into the monster hospitality group it is today.


Employee Payroll: Everything You Need to Know About Ontario Statutory Holidays

Last updated: September 5th 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Ontario Statutory Holidays

Ontario's general holiday rules have been amended as of January 1st 2018. Though employee eligibility has remained the same, the method of Ontario's statutory holiday calculations has been changed. Below, you'll find everything you need to know about Ontario's general holiday rules.


Did you know? Ontario is the only province in Canada where Boxing Day (December 26) qualifies as a statutory holiday! Here are the additional 8 holidays that are observed as statutory holidays in Ontario:

  1. New Year's Day
  2. Family Day
  3. Good Friday
  4. Victoria Day
  5. Canada Day*
  6. Labour Day
  7. Thanksgiving Day
  8. Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.


Employee Eligibility

To be eligible for stat holiday pay in Ontario, employees simply have to follow the "first and last" rule - there are no restrictions on how long an employee has worked an employer.  Employees must work their last scheduled shift before the stat holiday, and the first scheduled shift after the stat holiday, unless they have permissions to miss their shift due to reasonable cause or have their employer's consent.

  • For example: Joe works Monday to Friday, and the next stat holiday falls on a Friday. Joe is scheduled to work on the Thursday before the holiday, and the Monday after the holiday. He must work these entire shifts  to be eligible for stat pay.But Joe has requested Monday off to extend his weekend. His manager approves his request, therefore Joe is still eligible for stat average pay.

However, if Joe's request is not accepted, and he does not show up, he will only be paid premium pay for the hours he has worked on the stat holiday.


Stat Pay Calculation

As of July 1st 2018, the method of general statutory pay has been amended. The new calculation will be reverted to how it was calculated previously. The calculation is as follows:

  • Total amount of regular wages earned and vacation pay four work weeks before the work week in which the public holiday occurred, divided by 20.

The four weeks before the public holiday is based on the employer’s work week. For example, instead of a Monday to Sunday work week, it could be a Sunday to Saturday work week.

Here's an example:

In the last 4 weeks, Peter is paid $14/hour and worked 30 hours. As he also worked his last scheduled shift before the holiday, and will be working the first shift after, he is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.

  • Regular wages earned in the last 4 weeks = $14 x 30 hours = $420 + $16.80
    (vacation pay, paid out per cheque)
  • $436.80 / 20 = $21.84 in regular stat payIn total, Peter will be paid $133.84 in regular statutory pay

Stat Premium Pay Calculation

In addition to stat holiday pay, employees who work on the day of the statutory holiday, are also entitled to premium pay. This is calculated by multiplying their regular hourly wage by 1.5.

  • For example:

    Last pay period, Jane is paid $12/hour and works four 8 hour shifts. She also works an 8 hour shift on a stat holiday. She is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.  As she also worked her last scheduled shift before the holiday, and will be working the first shift after, she is eligible for both regular and premium stat pay.

    To calculate her total stat pay:

    • Regular wages earned in the last 4 weeks = $12 x 32 (8×4) hours = $384 + $15.36 (vacation pay, paid out per cheque)
    • $399.36 / 20 = $19.97 in regular stat pay
      PLUS
    • 1.5 x ($12 x 8 hours) = $144 in premium pay
    • In total, Jane will be paid $163.97 in statutory pay

After that long read, your thoughts on calculating statutory holiday could only go two ways:

  1. "wow, I think I get it!" or
  2. "... I need to read that again."

If you've got it - awesome! If you haven't, automating payroll will save you a load of time.

For further information on automating stat holiday calculations, please contact Push Operations or download our handy ebook guide below!

Download the Guide

 

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. ("Push Operations") for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


Employee Payroll Everything You Need to Know About Manitoba Statutory Holiday

Last updated: September 5th 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Manitoba Statutory Holiday

Holidays observed in Manitoba's General Holiday are the 8 holidays below:

  • New Year's Day
  • Louis Riel Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day (the Monday preceding May 25)
  • Canada Day*
  • Labour Day (first Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving Day (second Monday in October)
  • Remembrance Day**
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.

**Most industries are not allowed to operate on Remembrance Day but restaurants are an exception. It is not a requirement to pay all employees regular stat pay. Only eligible employees who work the holiday are entitled to at least half of a normal work day at 1.5x their regular wage. In addition, they are also entitled to general holiday pay of an average day's wage or 5% of their gross earnings in the 28 days preceding the holiday.


Employee Eligibility:

All employees are eligible for statutory holiday pay unless: 

  1. They are absent from their last scheduled workday before the holiday*
  2. Do not work their first scheduled workday after the holiday*
  3. And do not work their scheduled shift on the general holiday

**without the employer's permission.


Stat Pay Calculation:

Those who consistently work the same amount of hours on a weekly basis receive a regular day of pay.

For example: if John works 40 hours a week, 5 days a week, for 8 hours, at $20/hour. He is entitled to:

  • 40 hours ÷ 5 days = 8 hours (1 regular day of work)
  • 8 hours x $20 = $160 in General Holiday pay

For employees who work hours that vary, their general holiday pay is calculated at 5% of their wages over the course of 4 weeks, preceding the Stat Holiday.

For example:

in the last 4 weeks, Jessica has worked  120 hours prior to the stat holiday at the rate of $15/hour.

To calculate her stat pay:

  • $15 x 120 hours = $1800
  • $1800 x 0.05 % = $90 of general holiday pay.

For eligible employees that work their scheduled shift on the actual day of the stat holiday, they are also entitled to premium pay of 1.5 x their hourly wage. However, they must also attend their scheduled shifts before and after the holiday.

For example:

In the last 4 weeks, Tom worked 140 hours at $22/hour. On a stat holiday, he works a scheduled 8 hour shift. To calculate his general holiday pay and premium holiday pay:

  • (140 hours x $22) x 0.05 = $154 general holiday pay
  • PLUS
  • ((1.5 x $22) x 8 hours) = $264 premium holiday pay.
  • $154 (general holiday pay) + $264 (general holiday work pay) = $418 Tom's total general holiday pay

Alternatively, if employees receive regular wages on the holiday, they will be provided with a day off with general holiday pay (within the next 30 days) in return. If there is an agreement between the employee and employer, employees may also choose to take their day off at a later date.


Statutory holiday calculations are a breeze when they're automated. Let us do the heavy lifting - contact Push Operations for further information on automating stat holiday calculations.

 

For further information on automating stat holiday calculations, Download our handy guide on Canadian stat holiday calculations below!

Download the Guide

 

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. ("Push Operations") for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.

 


Employee Payroll Everything You Need to Know About Saskatchewan Statutory Holiday

Last updated: September 5th 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Saskatchewan Statutory Holiday

If you haven't noticed already, different provinces have different statutory holiday rules!  In Saskatchewan, everyone is eligible for general holiday pay! The following holidays are observed as statutory holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day*
  • Saskatchewan Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.


Stat Pay Calculation

Stat holiday average pay is calculated by taking an employee's wage (including commissions and vacation pay but excluding overtime pay, bonuses, and tips),earned in the four week period (28 days) prior to the holiday and multiplying it by 5% (0.05).

Again, all employees are eligible for stat pay even if they don't work the holiday. However, their statutory holiday pay must be paid in the same pay period that the holiday lands in.

The equation for regular stat holiday pay is:

  • Total wages x 5 percent(0.05) = stat holiday pay.

An employee's total wage refers to:

  • An employee’s salary, commission, and any other form of monetary compensation, work or services, excluding overtime pay, paid in the last four weeks before the holiday.

Here's an example:

  • In the last four weeks, Joe earns a regular wage of $500 per week. He also makes $200 in commission, and takes a paid one week vacation of $500. He does not work the holiday, but the holiday falls within the same pay period.

To calculate his earnings:

  • ($500 + $200 +  $500) x 5 percent (0.05) = $60 in stat holiday pay.

All employees, including managers, who work on a public holiday, are entitled to both stat holiday average pay and a premium holiday pay.

The equation for premium statutory holiday pay is:

  • Hourly wage  x 1.5 = premium stat pay*

Here's an example:

  • John works an 8 hour shift on Victoria Day. He has an hourly wage of $12/hour, and in the last 4 weeks he's earned $1,920.

For his stat holiday pay, he will receive:

  •  $1,920 (total wage) x 5 percent (0.05) = $96 in stat holiday pay.

In addition, to his regular stat pay, the premium stat pay he'll receive is:

  • ($12 x 8) x 1.5 = $144

In total, John earns:

  • $96 regular stat pay + $144 premium stat pay = $240

Though Saskatchewan employers can skip through the step of filtering through which employees are eligible for statutory holiday pay, it's only half the battle of calculating statutory holiday pay. The act in itself is tedious and time consuming and can often cost business thousands in errors.

Investing in a third party payroll provider can seem daunting, but in the long run, automating payroll not only eliminates human error and unnecessary costs but it also gives you peace of mind.

 

For further information on automating stat holiday calculations, Download our handy guide on Canadian stat holiday calculations below!

Download the Guide

 

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. ("Push Operations") for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


Employee Payroll: Everything You Need to Know about Alberta Statutory Holidays

Last updated: September 5th 2018

Everything You Need to Know about Alberta Statutory Holidays

So what days qualify as statutory holidays in Alberta? Only the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Alberta Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day*
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.

And exactly who is eligible? There are two factors that an employee must have to qualify for statutory holiday pay:

  1. They must work scheduled days before and after the stat holiday.
  2. They must also work on the stat holiday if they are scheduled.

Working on a Stat Holiday

If an employee works on a stat holiday, they are entitled to one of two options.

  • An average daily wage (stat average pay) AND 1.5 x employee’s daily wage for hours worked (premium pay) OR
  • Their regular hourly wage including OT (if applicable) PLUS a future day off, with pay of their average daily wage and before their next annual vacation.

If an employee does not work on a stat holiday, they are only eligible for stat average pay.


Calculating Stat Average Pay

Here is how to calculate stat pay:

  • Regular wages, vacation pay, and general holiday pay earned during previous 4 weeks to the holiday x 5% 

Here’s an example:

Joe earned $4,320 in the last 4 weeks. He has worked his scheduled shift before the holiday, and will work the day after the holiday.

To calculate his stat pay:

  • $4,320 wages earned x 0.05 = $216 in statutory holiday average pay.

If he is working the stat holiday, he is entitled to premium holiday pay in addition to his general holiday pay.

Therefore:

  • $4,320 wages earned x 0.05 = $216 in statutory holiday average pay.
  • PLUS ($20 x 1.5) x 8 hrs = $240 in premium holiday pay

In total, Joe earned $456 when he worked a statutory holiday.


If you’ve been following our statutory holiday calculation series, you’ll notice that stat pay calculations can drastically vary from province to province. Technology in the workplace can be intimidating but when it comes to stat holiday calculations, the pros of payroll automation heavily outweigh the cons.

 

For further information on automating stat holiday calculations, Download our handy guide on Canadian stat holiday calculations below!

Download the Guide

 

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. ("Push Operations") for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


Employee Payroll: Everything You Need To Know About Statutory Holiday Calculation in BC

Last updated: September 5th 2018

First things first: what constitutes as a statutory holiday in BC?

The holidays that do qualify are as follows:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day*
  • B.C. Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Christmas Day

*If Canada Day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday will be observed as the statutory holiday.


So, who is eligible for statutory holiday pay?

For normal non-union environments, employees:

  1. must be employed for at least 30 days prior to the statutory holiday, and
  2. have worked at least 15 out of 30 days,  preceding the holiday.

However, if an employee is working under an averaging agreement or variance at anytime before the 30 days prior to the holiday, they are not required to meet the 15 day requirement.


Now how do you calculate statutory holiday pay?

Eligible employees (who work 15 out of the last 30 days preceding the holiday) are entitled to general statutory pay, which is equivalent to an average day’s pay.

Here’s the equation:

  • Amount paid ÷ number of days worked = general statutory pay

The amount paid or “total wages” refers to:

  • Wages earned in past 30 days preceding statutory holiday.
  • This includes: regular wages, commissions, statutory holiday pay and annual vacation pay and excludes overtime.

Days worked refers to:

  • Number of days worked or earned wages within 30 calendar days
  • This includes: days on paid annual vacation, paid statutory holidays

For example:

Peter worked 22 days, earning $5,280, including $480 in overtime, in past 30 calendar days preceding the statutory holiday.

To calculate his statutory holiday pay:

  • ($5280 – $480) /  22 days worked = $218.18 in statutory pay (average day’s pay).

If Peter is given the day off on a statutory holiday, he is still entitled to $219.18. But if he works on the statutory holiday, then he is also paid:

  • 1.5x regular wage for the first 12 hours worked
  • Or 2.0x regular wage for hours worked above 12 hours

For example, if Peter works 8 hours on a statutory holiday, he will be paid:

  • (1.5 x $30) x 8 hours + $219.18 = $579.18

For those who do not qualify for statutory holiday pay, but work on a statutory holiday, they will be paid their regular earnings, without any additional pay.

If the employee was not scheduled to work in the last pay period (0 days worked & $0 regular wages), the employee’s general holiday pay entitlement will be $0.


Statutory holidays can be confusing and a headache to calculate. When manually calculating statutory holiday pay, you must double and sometimes even triple, check your calculations. Statutory holiday rules vary province to province and it will cost you if you aren’t careful.

But being meticulous takes hours, which results in exhaustion, which in turn causes mistakes…which can all be avoided by automating payroll.

Interested in learning how easy payroll automation can make your statutory calculations? Book a demo with our team of experts below!

 

This document is provided by Push Technologies Inc. (“Push Operations”) for information purposes only. This is not an official or legal document and should not be taken as legal advice. Push Operations does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check with the proper governing authority.


Workplace Personalities: Managing Introverts and Extroverts

There are people that enjoy working by themselves, and there are others that thrive in working with others.

If you haven’t caught on already, that’s the difference between introverted and extroverted type personalities. It can be difficult to find a balance between the two types as workplace is primarily a social space - especially in the restaurant INDUSTRY.

However, it is up to the manager, or the person in change, to understand that different individuals have different modes of socializing. Here are two crucial tips on how to manage introvert and extrovert restaurant employees:


Educate Yourself

There is an unfair stigma around the personality of an introverted individual and it's untrue! Introverted does not mean shy, rather they just don’t react to social rewards or situations the same as extroverts do. Being an introvert doesn’t mean the individual is any less capable of doing things an extrovert can. It also doesn’t mean that they don’t enjoy interacting with others, or have a lack self-esteem. They just simply find pleasure in other things.

Still unsure?

Science Alert has put together a perfect “sciencey” explanation between the two:


Understand Your Team

Observe what kind of individuals you have on your team. Take note on those who enjoy having short conversations with multiple guests, or a long one with a few. Look at employees who create lasting impressions on guests with their conversation or with their service. In the restaurant industry, extroverts often thrive in dealing with and serving large parties. Introverts are more likely to excel behind the bar, or with individual parties. How often have you had a quiet server receive the kindest compliments, and how often do sociable servers are praised for their friendliness? It is crucial to understand that different individuals excel in different roles and situations.

The top three of the richest people in the world are introverts. Need I say more? There is an underlying assumption that extroverts make better employees but that’s not the case. Both personalities have different work ethics to offer. Bartenders are usually people who listen well, enjoy conversation with two to three people, and are okay with manning the bar alone.

Servers are usually enjoys chatting and socializing with people, and has the ability to easily open up! With that being said, the dichotomy between the two is not simply shy vs outgoing.

The key is to let the employee be an introvert or extrovert, while as a manager, you should provide equal opportunity. If you have a meeting, and would like some feedback from everyone on the team, extroverts are likely to provide answers during the meeting. Take the initiative to seek introverted employees after the meeting and speak to them one on one. Or send them a follow up message to see if they have anything to add. It's more likely that they’ll voluntarily provide you with an answer in an environment their comfortable in!

“Extroverts might be the loudest ones in the room, but that doesn’t mean that their ideas should be taken by default." -  Jacob Shriar, Office Vibe

Being an introvert does not mean that the individual’s work is not as good as an extrovert, and being an extrovert doesn't mean you're loud and obnoxious. As an restaurant owner, its crucial to understand your employees, to help them succeed and to optimize your labor!

Employers must have the ability to identify the type of employee they have, and actively participate to aid in their success in the workplace.



Payroll for Restaurants: Why Automation Will Save You Thousands

Payroll for Restaurants: Why Automation Will Save You Thousands

Payroll is easily one of the biggest headaches of every restaurant business owner. Manual data transfers, statutory holiday calculations, along with multiple positions and pay rates are basic examples of tedious tasks of payroll. Innovative payroll software automate this process and helps business owners  gain peace of mind that their employee payroll is done accurately. Here are three benefits of restaurant payroll software and how it can save restaurants thousands of dollars:


Save Time

With everyone you hire, you are purchasing labour. By automating payroll, payroll admins can spend their time on more important tasks and managers can spend more time on the floor.

In short, the cost savings add up significantly. A typical restaurant who has to manually transfer clock-in/out hours from paper or their POS to their payroll system, can spend on average 5 minutes per employee, per payroll run.

With a 100 employee establishment with a 26 pay-period frequency, this can cost $4,333.00 annually in related payroll administrative costs (100 employees x 26 pay run x 5 minutes x $20/hourly rate).

By investing in restaurant payroll software, you can reduce the amount of time and money spent on the burden of administrative tasks and increase productivity.

Payroll Error Costs

Human errors are inevitable when manually calculating hours to payroll. Almost always, mistakes happen whether you're doing manual transfers of employee hours from your POS system, or via pen and paper.

Payroll errors will negatively impact your employee morale and cost you thousands of dollars.  Employees will only complain about payroll mistakes if they are underpaid - which leaves the company susceptible to overpaying employees for payroll errors.

If your payroll is $500,000 annually, a 2% error factor equates to $10,000 in costs.

 


Time Theft

Time theft, along with buddy punching, is one of the biggest unintentional costs of your business. The American Payroll Association found that 43% of hourly worked exaggerated their time worked during a shift. Arriving late and clocking in as on time, and buddy punching are a few examples of time theft.

Time theft can add up to thousands of dollars annually.

  • A hourly employee ( $10/hr) racks up 1 hour of unauthorized time per week.
  • That single employee is costing you $500 per year ($10/hr x 1 x 50 weeks = $500/year per staff).

On a 100 employee establishment, that can cost up to $50,000 annually.

Mistakes are made less when time attendance software is used to track employee hours! By automating payroll and streamlining hours into payroll allows data to be accurate. This way, there won't be any discrepancies between employee hours and employee pay.

Get Organized

Automating payroll will streamline all payroll data. Everything payroll related, for staff or management, can be easily accessible online and found in one place. Most restaurant payroll software providers allow employees easy online access items like their T4s, or pay stubs instantly. You’ll be able to centralize documents too! Legal and government documents can kept securely, and you'll no longer have to search for something in 10 different places.

 

 


5 Tips On How To Optimize Restaurant Labor Costs

Every restaurant across the country has the same major concern: labor cost. Its expensive, problematic, and always in flux.

You've probably heard it a million times, but if you're not growing, you're decaying. Successful business owners know that the money they make day in and day out, is ultimately invested back into their business, particularly through their workforce. Achieving the perfect labor cost is a combination of different factors. Here are 5 tips on how to optimize your restaurant labor:

Streamline Communication

By allowing staff and management to communicate on a single platform, day off requests and schedule changes are made more consistent and easy. No more phone calls during rush hours, forgotten conversations, and lost or crumpled written requests!

Staff are also more likely to communicate with one another, and covering shifts will be easier accessible and more stress-free. Broadcasting messages to staff makes communication simple and schedules are easier to create, even with a constant flow of requests. Making work easy for you and your employees will also likely reduce your employee turnover rate!


Eliminate Paper Schedules and Reduce Schedule Making Time

Making schedules sounds simple and straightforward, but with a large amount of staff it can take hours. Sometimes employees will be scheduled for dreaded "clopening" shifts (back to back close and opening shifts). It can be frustrating and tiring for staff, consequently affecting guest experience.

Scheduling mistakes can be costly; confusion and inconsistency with scheduling can often lead to under-staffing or over-staffing. Keeping errors out of scheduling can further aid in the success of calculating labor costs and vice versa. By using different templates or variations of a schedule, allows you to compare the hours used previously, and labor and sales reports allow you to schedule accordingly.


Avoid Understaffing or Overstaffing

Overtime, understaffing and overstaffing will cost you a significant monetary loss. With overstaffing, there is an assumption that sending someone home early is better than not having extra staff around. But in actuality, there is a lack of productivity and you’re essentially paying staff to stand around. Understaffing is quite the opposite; staff are always busy. Not only will your labor cost to sales cost never be optimized, but employee burnout is higher probability, shortcuts are more likely to occur, and guest experiences may be compromised.


Cross Train Staff

You’re purchasing labor when looking for people to fill your workforce. Give your staff more than a pay check, and teach them skills that they can use across different mediums. Cross training your staff will help improve their skill sets, and aid in employee retention.

A solid set of staff who know what they’re doing will allow you the flexibility when creating a schedule. There’s nothing quite like knowing that your business has a solid team behind its success.


Know Your Numbers

If you know your numbers, you’ll know your business. Depending on your workforce management provider, your reports can tell you anything from  labor cost vs your real time sales, to daily employee clock entries.

You have to understand the reports in order to receive an accurate pulse on your business. Like the world’s billionaire restaurateur has said “you cannot be successful in business if 1) you don’t know how to operate what you’re doing, 2) if you don’t understand the numbers of your business and all your costs…"

Understanding your reports and ultimately your business' behavior, will allow you to accurately forecast labor costs, schedule staff accordingly, and make better decisions to improve your business.


Employee Scheduling Software: 3 Must Have Features

Employee Scheduling Software: 3 Must Have Features

Employee scheduling is a headache. Between adding, dropping, and swapping shifts coupled with the time spent on making a schedule; paper and pen methods don't cut it anymore. Investing in the right employee scheduling software provides you with the opportunity to schedule faster and smarter. With a booming technology industry, it's no surprise that there are multiple platforms on the market. However, its key to find a system that fits your business needs. Here are 5 must have features to look for in employee scheduling software.

Simple and Easy to Use

Trying something new can be intimidating, therefore it’s key to find something that's intuitive and easy to use. If you're still creating schedules through Excel or pen and paper, it's likely that you're taking hours balancing labour budgets. Especially if you're a growing business - you need the appropriate tools that fit the demand of your business.

Some key features to look for are: ability to copy and paste schedules,  real time labor-to-sales % updates, multiple position support.

Seamless Communication

Having a formal platform to contact your staff is key in having clear communication. Often, text messaging, and Facebook messages are informal ways on contacting staff and vice versa. Message can get lost, and conflict can also arise with the casualness of the platforms.

It's crucial to keep formal communication channels available between staff and management. A platform solely used for employees to communicate between their peers and managers will hold employees accountable for any requests, and keep work related matters are professional.

As a manager, you should be able to broadcast messages to the entire team. You’ll have the advantage of knowing all messages filtering through the platform, are work related.

Some key features to look for are: ability for employees to swap shifts, release shifts, send messages to each other regarding work schedules.

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Time Attendance Integration

Restaurant managers can all agree that scheduling is only the beginning of labour management. Scheduling is the initial process to ensure that labour costs are controlled. The next step in completing your employee scheduling software search is to couple the budgeted hours with the actual hours employees worked to ensure hours pushed to payroll are authorized.

Some key features to look for are: Ability to compare actual start/end times with scheduled times.


Restaurant Scheduling Software: The Ultimate Time Saving Guide

Restaurant Scheduling Software: The Ultimate Time Saving Guide

Scheduling can take hours when you have to use the anarchic method of pen and paper or the complicated method of Excel. Investing in restaurant scheduling software will save you time, and it will grant you the flexibility to focus on growing your business. Here are 5 features to look for in restaurant scheduling software to save time:

View Every Aspect of Scheduling on One Screen


When investing in online restaurant scheduling software, having the ability to view everything from employee availability, time off requests and labor costs, is important to expedite your scheduling process and save time.

Seeing your schedule in different views, like monthly or weekly, will allow you to be more flexible, and grant you the ability to create different templates if necessary. Powering through making schedules in advance will allow you to make minor adjustments if the occasion arises, rather than scrambling to make changes to a last minute schedule.

Seeing your schedule in different views will also allow you to easily add or remove shifts as needed and you should be able to clearly see which shifts need to be filled, and how many hours are within your labor cost budget. An intuitive and easy to read scheduling platform should ultimately eliminate the confusion of excel sheets and paper schedules.


Access Shift Approvals, Swaps or Changes from Anywhere

Cloud based restaurant scheduling systems should allow you to make or adjust the schedule from anywhere. Most scheduling software providers have the capability for you to approve or reject shift requests from your phone!

This way, you'll no longer have to be in your office to approve shift swaps or changes; granting you more time interacting with your employees and your guests.


Eliminate Unnecessary Phone Calls and Messages

Every restaurant scheduling software provider should have the ability to notify employees when there has been a change in their schedule. They’ll be able to view their revised schedule instantly - eliminating the amount of calls to the workplace.

Employees should also be able to submit their availability and request forms from their own personal phone or desktops. This will significantly decrease the number of written sticky notes, and phone calls regarding employee schedules or shift requests.

Restaurant scheduling software providers should also have a centralized message centre. Message centres are a great tool to broadcast messages to your team, without having to play phone tag!

 

Take Factors Like Community Events and Weather into Account

Restaurant scheduling software should also have the capability to allow you to make small notes on weekly or daily schedules. It is crucial to know about community events, peak times, weather and game days to schedule properly. If you own a pub, and Tuesdays are usually slow, it's likely that you are going to schedule less staff.  But there could be a popular game playing on a Tuesday.

Seeing a visible reminder on your employee schedule will keep you aware and ensure you have enough staff to cover your demands!


Understand Reports to Schedule Accordingly


You'll be able to schedule easier with instant access to sales and labor reports. With integration with a point of sales system, you can have real time sales vs scheduled labor comparisons. You'll no longer have to do manual calculations for actual vs scheduled labor - your software does the math for you. You’ll know exactly how many hours are available, how much you're spending on labor and where you could be saving on labor cost!

 


Employee Scheduling Software: 3 Cost Saving Tips

When making a schedule, it's more than just filling in work hours. After all, labor is usually the biggest cost for those in the hospitality industry.

You have staff with different positions, different  skill sets, and often you're hoping your schedule will work itself out. However, creating bad schedules can be costly to your business. You're essentially purchasing labor from your employees, and you need to use your employee schedule as a tool to optimize it. Here are 3 cost saving tips on restaurant employee scheduling:


1. Time Clock Software

Time theft is the most subtle money drain of a business. An extra five, ten, or fifteen minutes here and there for every employee can add up to thousands of dollars. Forgo a pen and paper and invest in time clock software - in particular, camera time clock software. Say goodbye to time theft! Camera time attendance ensures that your employees will be uniform ready and you'll no longer have to worry about buddy punching. Scheduled hours will be also be accurately accounted for, and and you'll only pay employees for their time worked!You no longer have to monitor employees like a hawk when they're clocking in and out.


2. Understanding Reports

The importance of labor reports can often be lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday tasks. Labor costs are a balancing act of many variables and its key to understand where you're spending your profits. Sales and labor reports are a great tool to aid in creating a cost effective schedule. It's crucial to understand what your labor reports tell you. Your labor reports will show you when to schedule more staff (like peak seasons) and when not to schedule employees during slow times. Labor reports will allow you to efficiently use your hours, forecast accurately and optimize your labor.


3. Reducing Employee Turnover

They say time is money and in this case, it can be literal. Employee turnover can be high in the restaurant industry, and Hiring and training new employees can be  a costly expense. It’s in your business’ best interest to keep good employees, who can potentially grow with your restaurant. As a manager or owner, ensure you're doing everything possible to make work easy, for you and them!

Create employee schedules in advance, and ensure that they're easily accessible. This will make shift swaps and releases a breeze for your employees to request and for you to approve! Cloud-based scheduling systems are a great solution as they usually allow access from a mobile phones or online via a desktop.

Employee's can be held responsible for their shifts and employee annual reviews will be made easy when you have KPIs like % of worked shifts vs scheduled shifts, or late starts refer to!


Top 5 Wine Bars in Vancouver

Our Favourite Wine Bars in Vancouver

Once again voted the best Wine Festival and Event of 2017 by The Georgia Straight, the 2018 Vancouver International Wine Festival has made its way back into the city.  It's no surprise that the coveted event is one of the world's biggest as there are "173 wineries from 15 countries [that] will travel to Vancouver to pour and discuss their wines at 51 events over [the span of] eight days." In honor of this year's festivities, here is our list of our top 5 wine bars in Vancouver:

 

Uva Wine Bar

Home to one of Vancouver's top Bar Managers Sabrine Dhaliwal, Uva is the destination for creative cocktails and classic wines. Sharing a kitchen with their stylish sister restaurant Cibo Trattoria, Uva offers everyday lunch and late night menus, in addition to their specially crafted cocktail lists. Whether it's a mimosa in the morning, or a glass of chardonnay in the evening, Uva Wine and Cocktail Bar has something for everyone.


Brix & Mortar

If you're looking for a welcoming date night venue, Brix and Mortar is where you want to be. Housed in Yaletown's 1912 heritage brick building, Brix and Mortor offers contemporary Canadian cuisine, inventive cocktails, and a selection of over 50 different types of wine. Though the restaurant is spacious, the atmosphere is warm and inviting and their renowned wine menu is paired with friendly staff. PS: at their Live Music Mondays from 7:30 - 11:00pm, you'll receive 30% off wine bottles under $100!


The Wine Bar

Situated along the beautiful waters of False Creek, The Wine Bar is a small but mighty establishment. They easily have one of the best happy hours in the city and next door is their sister restaurant Provence Marinaside. Daily from 3pm to 5pm, both establishments have house wines, and bites, ranging from $4 - $9! With a wine collection including over 50 different types of wine by the glasss and a selection varying from BC to France, The Wine Bar is the perfect spot to kick back and relax.


Salt Tasting Room

Charcuterie and wine? Yes please. Gastown's The Salt Tasting Room is the hottest spot in Vancouver for 2017 food trend: charcuterie boards. Their premise is very simple, do-it-yourself or we can help! They offer a rotating selection of meats, cheeses and condiments for guests to chose from and if you can't decide, then they expertly craft a unique board for you. Their staff are knowledgeable, passionate, and you're guaranteed to have a unforgettable meal!


CinCin Ristorante

Though not technically a Wine Bar, CinCin Ristorante is home to 2017 Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS)'s Best Sommelier of B.C. winner Shane Taylor.  You can't have an award winning sommelier without an award winning wine collection, and CinCin has just that. Their vast collection houses over 1000 labels from around the globe, in a premium cellar, ensuring each glass is top quality. If you find yourself at CinCin one night, Mr. Taylor's award winning expertise paired with CinCin's Chef Andrew Richardson's thoughtfully created dishes never disappoints.

 


5 Casual Restaurants to Spend 2018 Valentine's Day in Vancouver

This year, Valentine's Day lands on the day after BC's Family Day long weekend. Skip the fine dining this year and opt to dine at one of Vancouver's casual restaurants. But with a bustling dining scene in Vancouver, it can be hard to find a special spot that suits you and your date. To celebrate our favorite Hallmark holiday, here are some of our favorite casual restaurants offering Valentine's Day specials:

 


Maenam*

Looking for a place with ample vegetarian and meat dishes? Maenam is the perfect spot for Valentine's Day. Found along W. 4th Ave, and in the heart of Kitsilano, Maenam brings authentic Thai cuisine to Vancouver. Whether you’re with a partner, or a group of friends, Maenam's 4-course meal, at $80 per person**, is the perfect spot for meat eaters and plant lovers alike.


 

Au Comptoir*

Nothing says romance like French cuisine, and Au Comptoir serves exactly that. Reminiscent of a Parisian café, they offer an intimate and cozy atmosphere. On Valentine's Day, Au Comptoir will service a set menu for $80 per person**, and their dining experience is guaranteed to make Valentine’s Day extra special.


 

Forage*
Dinner and a stroll is the perfect recipe to a romantic evening, and Robson Street’s Forage is the perfect location. Housed on the corner of Robson and Bute, Forage is praised as one of Vancouver’s best sustainable dining restaurants. For your Valentine’s Day dining needs, Forage is offering a delicious prix fixe menu at $95 per person**.

 


 

La Mezcaleria

Make your February 14th, Gal-entine's Day! Spoil yourself and your girlfriends with a fun-filled date to La Mezcaleria. Skip the prix-fixe menus and plan for happy hour outing. Items like cheesy quesito fundido and ceviche are all under $10! Throw in a $5 house wine, and you and your friends are guaranteed to have a good time.


 

Tableau Bar Bistro

French is the language of love - it only makes sense to visit Tableau Bar Bistro on Valentine's day. Extend your Valentine's Day celebrations and take a stay-cation at the Loden Hotel andnjoy Tableau's Valentine's menu for  $75 with an optional $45 for wine pairing!

 

*reservations recommended.

** tax and gratuity not included.


5 Places to Watch Sports in Vancouver

Vancouver: the home to multiple professional sports teams, and their proud fans. However, ticket prices can be steep! The next best thing? Grabbing a group of friends, and heading to sports bar, pub, or restaurant! Since the recent rise of the  Vancouver's craft beer scene, sporting establishments have been popping up left, right and center. To help, we’ve created a list of our favorite places to watch sports. Here are our top 5 favorite spots to catch a game:


Yaletown Brewing Company

Found in the heart of Yaletown, the Yaletown Brewing Company is the ultimate spot for drinks, food, and game days. They offer a large menu with classic items like sliders, ribs, and deep fried pickles; but they also have unique items like duck confit pizza. Come early and grab a comfy seat in their lounge or opt to sit in their big open dining area - which guarantees that no one’s head will be in your way.


Central City Brewing

Central City Brewing, found at Central City Surrey and a stone’s throw away from BC Place, offers over a selection of over 35 hand-picked, BC craft beers, with food specials rotating daily. Pair their renowned Red Trucker beer with a burger, and your game is guaranteed to start on a good note. Secure a spot with a reservation and you’ll have a prime view on one of their large screens.


Malone’s Social Lounge

Malone’s Social Lounge is a great spot to spend game day with multiple HD screens, a new audio system, and 38 rotating craft beers on tap. They have ample seating in both their lounge, and bar, which is key in looking for the perfect spot for game day. They're specials rotating daily; Wine Wednesdays means 50% bottles of wine (from 3pm) and from 3pm-5pm everyday, 16oz sleeves and highballs start at $3.90.


Yagger’s Restaurant and Sports Bar

With the choice of two locations in Downtown Vancouver and Kitsilano, every seat in Yagger’s Restaurant and Sports Bar has a view of their HD televisions. Their Vancouver location has been around since 2005, and they know how to do game day well. They have “fun food, and serious drinks,” and they offer a great selection of rotating drink and meal specials!


Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub

Are you sensing a theme yet? You can’t have football Sundays, or any game day, without a good brew! Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub on Main Street (yes, it’s the same as the one in Whistler!) offers big screens, classic Irish fare, and a lively atmosphere. In addition to their daily specials, they also offer game day meal specials for $12. Irish favorites like meat pie and a pint of Guinness are the perfect recipe to a good night.


Restaurant Highlight: Levetto's Kam Zahedi

Authentic, affordable, and addictive. Three words that perfectly describe Levetto from the mouth of CEO and President, Kam Zahedi. Along with his business partner Shahir Massoud, they have created an extremely successful recipe for success. With Kam’s business sense, Shair’s creativity, and their combined passion of good food, came the birth of Levetto.

In the bustling market of pizza franchises, Levetto offers something different. They have a unique Romana style dough that’s 85% water and seems dense, but in actuality, it’s crispy and light! It’s distinct to Levetto, and people can’t seem to get enough of it.

Sometimes fast can translate to frozen, but that’s not the case of Levetto. For every location, they share one important quality: their pastas, pizzas and salads are all made fresh from scratch daily! Quality and taste are never sacrificed in the environment of fast casual dining.

Each location shares the same menu, offering unique takes on pasta, pizzas, and salads but differing locations also have their own specials. Given Toronto’s notoriety for offering a diverse culinary scene, Levetto’s Chinatown locations offers an exclusive pizza: Peking Duck Pizza. Tailored to its neighbourhood, Levetto’s distinct Romana style dough is generously topped with a delicious blend of Peking Duck, Hoisin sauce and scallions.

Doing what you love has considerably contributed to Kam and Shahir’s Levetto success, but hard work and a keen business sense have significantly aided in exceeding their goals. We sat down with CEO and President Kam Zahedi, and spoke about how Levetto has exponentially grown their business and continue to work at their goals.

 

Levetto - a place where people can get classic Roman pizza, freshly made pasta at a reasonable price. What sparked the idea for this concept?

 

  • I was a small business lender at RBC who primarily dealt with SBL (Small Business Loans) sponsored by the government for start-up restaurants. I had the privilege of dealing with many fast food businesses in the pizza and pasta realm. I came up with the idea with my investor partner because we felt there was a huge void in serving fresh pizza and pasta from an expert culinary standpoint.

Your background is in finance, and you had minimal knowledge of the restaurant industry outside of funding. What pushed you to take the jump and open Levetto? What drew you into the restaurant industry?

 

  • I believe that in life if you believe in something, do not be afraid to go for it. You have to plan and explore all options ahead of time. Never give up, stay the course and fight for quality and creativity that you truly believe in ….my drive and persistence in keeping this dream alive led me to Shahir. Both of us worked day and night for 6 months in the first location at Dufferin... the rest is history :)!

Levetto first opened in 2015 and in a short span of two years, there are now 7 locations open and growing. What kind of factors have contributed to your success?

 

  • I think that providing great comfort food at a reasonable price has really resonated with people. We also strive to provide exception customer service, every day, and I think that’s helped to maintain and build loyal customers.

Is there anything you would do differently? Were there any lessons you’ve learned along the way?

 

  • … Not really …. You need to believe in your staff and surround yourself with people who care. Our core team has always been the same. Those individuals that started with us on day one have excelled and moved up into management positions. We have just signed our 9th store deal. We have over 90 people working in the stores. This is a huge achievement to grow jobs for Canadians.

"You need to believe in your staff and surround yourself with people who care."

What are some things you wish you knew or did prior to starting your business?

 

  • Tough question, it would be easy to turn back time and undo all the mistakes we made. But I think you need to make mistakes to become better. It's a journey and I don't regret anything :)

 

What is the most important metric you follow in running a successful restaurant concept?

 

  • Set a plan and set goals. Follow them religiously. In order to reach the final goal, you need to implement trial and error. People who don't strive to be better will never push ahead. Never feel that you have hit targets, keep setting them higher!

In terms of running a success business, do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs? What are some key traits they should have?

 

  • Never give up. Keep your focus simple and stay the course. Do not let people dictate what you should do ... take good advice, but apply to the goals in a structured manner. Build a road map and a business plan and stick with it.

How do you ensure that new and returning guests receive quality service and consistent food?

 

  • We hire great people and train them all extensively. Keeping the menu simple and having a person like Shahir oversee creativity and quality is key. Passion has to be at the forefront. People who join Levetto need to respect the food and have the ability to replicate what we have created.

"Passion has to be at the forefront."

 

What do you consider one of the most difficult aspects in running a successful business?

 

  • People, people, people. This is a team effort and with people working together for a common goal we can accomplish amazing things!

What kind of factors do you look for when opening a new location?

 

  • The person who is franchising the store. We have opened in the worst areas that have no visual aspect or close to high traffic zones. These locations somehow turn into destination places since the passion and drive of the franchisee will draw many patrons. I believe in the person rather than the property.

What’s your current favourite dish on the menu?

 

  • I love ❤ them all... hard to say :))

We imagine running a successful business, on top of being a first time father, can be hectic. What are some spots where you go to relax and have a drink? What’s your drink of choice?

 

  • If time permits, a glass of Chianti wine…watching Season 7 of The Walking Dead ... love that show in the living room while the kids are asleep.

With a growing restaurant concept, how do you ensure that all your locations offer the same standard of food and service you pride itself on?

  • We have an extensive training program and amazing managers.

We’ve read that Shahir is an instrumental part of Levetto, not only in terms of providing delicious menu items, but also in building your business and brand. What kind of qualities are important in finding the appropriate business partner?

 

  • I’m very lucky to have Shahir as a partner and the Executive Chef of Levetto. He’s an amazing chef and very creative - also, a great personality, which helps for building the brand! I think someone who shares your vision and is as hard working and dedicated as you.

In the age of social media, the reputation of a restaurant can be easily tainted with a simple Yelp or Trip Advisor review. What’re your thoughts on the platforms, and how do you collect and deal with customer feedback?

 

  • True! We monitor these daily and take all concerns (and praise!) very seriously. We feel very fortunate to have maintained high Yelp and TripAdvisor ratings for all locations. We love these platforms as they help people share their love for Levetto with the world, and also allow us another vehicle to interact with customers directly.

What’s next for Levetto? It has almost been two years since the first location opened, and you’ve expanded quickly and successfully…Do you plan on opening franchises outside of Ontario?

 

  • Continue to grow with great partners as franchisees. Hopefully by end of next year, we will be at 15 stores in Ontario. We need to master our own domain before we can expand to the States or another province. I always say, “build your dream one franchise at a time!”

 


6 Vancouver Happy Hours

6 Vancouver Happy Hours

Dining out can get expensive, and the lull between lunch and dinner can be long and painful.That’s where happy hour comes in - nothing beats a solid meal at an awesome price. Here are six our favorite unique happy hour spots:

 

  1. MeeT in Gastown

    Happy hour doesn’t have to solely consist of pub grub, but in the case of MeeT in Gastown, they put an inventive twist on it. From 3pm to 5pm every day, they have groovy gravy friends and corn fritters for $5, and $4 sleeves of Philips Lager. Stop by for a quick bite to tide you over till dinner, or stay for a full meal! Everything on their menu is entirely plant based. Meat eaters don’t fret; veggie and meat eating diners have often praised that their burgers are best they’ve ever eaten.

  2. Tacofino

    Long day at work, and looking for a spot to tac-o bout? Tacofino is the place to be. From 3pm to 6pm daily, their Gastown Taco Bar has items like $5 draft beers, and red and white wines, 2 for $10 tacos, $6 taquitos among a ton of other items. Looking to trek to Yaletown instead? Don’t worry, Tacofino’s Yaletown Burrito Bar has got you covered! Their menu may be a little different, but you’ll find their mouth-watering nachos on both menus!

  3. Gyoza Bar

    From 3pm to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, Gyoza Bar’s happy hour consists of items like $4.50 highballs and draught beer. For $10, you’ll get perfectly cooked gyozas and a cold beer – could there be a better combination? Throw in a piping hot bowl of ramen and you have an ideal Raincouver meal.

  4. The Parlour Yaletown 

    Want to go for some ‘za? Pizza culture is taking the world by storm and it looks like it’s not slowing down. The Parlour in Yaletown is the ultimate joint with a wide selection of pizza along with unique share plates as well. Join them for happy hour from 3pm to 6pm daily, for $6 wines, $5 draughts, $5 desserts and more!

  5. The Cascade Room
    Everyday from 4pm to 6pm, The Cascade Room is the place to be. Select cocktails, beers, and house wines are all priced under $6.  Starting at $4, items like crispy chicharrón, a sassy molassy burger, and fried green beans have homes on their menu for good reason. Not only do they pair well with an ice cold beer, but they’re also homey, comforting and tasty.
  6. Provence Marinaside and The Wine Bar
    Sometimes, happy hours can leave you feeling unsatisfied due to the small selections. You won’t have that problem at Provence Marinaside, and its neighboring sister restaurant The Wine Bar. The Tappy Hour menu houses over 10 food items, along with a selection of wine on tap, ranging from $4 - $9! Quality food, great company and a gorgeous view guarantee an enjoyable time.

Restaurant Payroll: Top 5 Features That Will Save You Thousands in Labor Cost

Restaurant Payroll: Top 5 Features That Will Save You Thousands in Labor Cost

When looking for a restaurant payroll provider, its crucial to look for software that fits your business. In the restaurant industry, labor is one of the biggest costs in running a restaurant. Payroll software can be expensive and payroll mistakes are costly. Restaurants Canada notes that “more than 30 cents of every dollar spent at a restaurant, goes directly to payroll costs. ” When searching for restaurant payroll software, here are the top five features to look for:

 


Pay Staff Only For Their Time Worked

To ensure that you are only paying employees for their time worked, invest in reliable time clock software that will also deter from "buddy punching".  Buddy punching is a continuous menace in labor management. A fingerprint or photo stamp clock-in device will ensure hours are capture to payroll accurately.


Streamline and Automate Payroll


Automating payroll is more than just saving your business money, it'll also save you a significant amount of time.  If manually transferring data takes 5 minutes per employee every pay period, this activity alone will take 500 minutes per period or 216 hours per year!

It's even more frustrating when an error happens - you'll then have to re-audit your hours to look for the mistake. Rid yourself of this minuscule task and invest in a system that will automate employee hours directly to payroll!


Automate Statutory Holiday Calculations


On average, a statutory holiday will occur every month, and depending on the number of employees you have, calculating statutory holidays can take days! Varying hours, positions, rates and deciphering who is eligible for statutory is time consuming, and errors can be costly. Start loving statutory holiday's again by investing in a platform that can help automate this process!


Watch the Clock 


What happens when an employee clocks-in 10 minutes before their scheduled shift? What about 15 minutes after their scheduled shift? If these hours are automatically being pushed to payroll - then you may be paying employees for unauthorized time. If your managers are reviewing each shift manually then you should really ask yourself - how efficient is this process?

Look for payroll software that automates your clocked hours to scheduled hours comparisons, and receive alerts for approvals in hours that are beyond budget. This feature alone will save you thousands.


Sales Integration


Great, labor cost was 10% lower this month compared to last. Every restaurateur knows that labor is only half of the equation. A good restaurant labor management system will couple costs with sales, so you're in the position to properly assess how your restaurant is doing.

Integrating with your point-of-sales software will allow you to keep an accurate pulse on your labor cost!


It’s simple; classifying staff and ensuring their hours are accurate allows you to pay them for their actual time worked. Automating and streamlining payroll allows you to save time, money, and sometimes, your sanity. These payroll features will allow you to optimize your labor costs, and ensure you're able to properly assess your business.

 


Restaurant Employee Scheduling Software: Why Automate?

Employee scheduling is one of the most time consuming tasks that every restaurant manager or owner knows very well.  Those in the restaurant and hospitality industry understand that owners and managers wear many different hats, due to the various demands, and often, scheduling is left on the back burner. Creating an effective restaurant schedule all comes down to planning properly - but you can't plan without the right tools.  Investing in automated scheduling software grants you just that; here are 3 benefits of automating employee scheduling.

  • Scheduler Smarter & Faster

    Say goodbye to the days of excel spreadsheets and pen and paper schedules! Often, automating employee scheduling is done through a cloud based system. Scheduling is made easier and faster when you have your entire staff’s availability, in  one simple and clear platform. Covering dropped shifts is a breeze when you know which person is available for which days.

    Managers and owners are usually able to accept or deny shift swaps, and create or manage aspects of scheduling, anytime and anywhere. Cloud based restaurant scheduling software also allows you to make notes on important days, and make various versions of a schedule. If you own a pub, and its game day, it’s crucial to have enough staff working.

    It’s key to schedule according to what your forecasted sales. You’re not going to schedule two servers during the lunch rush, and you’re not going to schedule ten servers during a slow slump.Scheduling on a whim will cost you overtime pay, your staff will be exhausted, which will potentially cost quality service, and payroll will be a nightmare to deal with.


  • Streamline Employee Hours and Payroll

    Hand in hand with restaurant scheduling, is restaurant payroll. By investing in an automated restaurant scheduling system, the hours that employees work, has the ability to flow seamlessly into your payroll. Streamlining scheduling and payroll eliminates human errors in data transfers and saves hours with administrative work.

    Far too often, management teams are holed up in their offices unable to properly interact with their staff and clients. Automating scheduling will free up a significant amount of time that you can use to meaningfully interact with your guests and employees. Some restaurant scheduling systems also offer accurate, instant, and real time reports that are essential in building your employee schedules.

    Investing time in learning your business is key. How accurate was your forecasted labor/sales ratios in comparison to your actual? Whose clocking in and out properly? Have there been significant changes in hours and sales reports? Are there regular occurrences of overtime?  It's important to use these answers as a tool to optimize your workforce to the best of its ability.


  • Efficient Employee Management

    For most restaurants, labor is one of the biggest costs; you are essentially purchasing labor. Jobs in the hospitality and restaurant industry are the first jobs of many – the turnover is dangerously high.

    As an employer, it can be difficult to operate a restaurant day to day, while keeping your employees happy. Bi-weekly schedules are usually the unwritten rules between staff and managers, but it can be tricky to keep up with constant changes and daily duties. However, automating employee scheduling allows better and more efficient employee management.

    Cloud based scheduling not only allows smart scheduling for you, but it also makes it easy for employees. Staff will be able to drop, swap, or request days off, instantly, from an online platform.  Most scheduling software providers will also allow you to broadcast messages to the entire team, and eliminate the casualness of text messages. Employees will be able to easily access their schedules online through their mobile phones or desktop, reducing the number of staff calls during rush hour.


When you have more time, you feel less rushed, and you do better work. Owning a restaurant is more than just providing good food; it’s also about balancing on food and labor costs, maintaining excellent service, and managing quality staff. Managing a workforce and running a restaurant isn't easy, and sometimes you'll want to pull your hair out, but with the right tools, it can be a cakewalk.

 

For more information about a employee scheduling system made specifically for restaurants, please contact Push Operations for a demo.


Access Anywhere: Perks of an Online Restaurant Employee Scheduling Software

Access Anywhere: Perks of an Online Restaurant Employee Scheduling Software

Ah, scheduling, one of the biggest headaches of restaurant owners and managers. Pen and paper scheduling is a method that does the job, but it’s ancient and time consuming. Though spreadsheets are great for number crunching, they're not the best  for scheduling. It’s not intuitive and takes centuries to mock up and adjust. If you're tired of pen and paper schedules, here are 5 reasons why you should invest in restaurant scheduling software:

Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy!


Restaurant employee scheduling software is like the fairy godmother to every restaurant manager. It makes scheduling easier by tailoring a system that works best for your business. Some restaurant scheduling software even have the ability to calculate your forecasted labor in real time, to help make sure you’re not going over budgeted hours. Having scheduling software that's visually appealing also makes it easier to make sure all the available shifts are accounted for. Restaurant scheduling software can make your workforce management even easier when it's able to streamline your payroll and HR  in one place. Workforce management can be a cake walk!


Bye, Bye Staff Calls.


We think it’s safe to say that every business has that one employee who always calls during rush hour. With restaurant scheduling software, employees are able to view their schedule on their mobiles or desktops, receive notifications of schedule changes, and you’ll be able to broadcast messages to them instantly.


Up in the Clouds


Just like the title suggests, schedules will be accessible anywhere, and anytime. Using cloud based scheduling software will allow your staff to request time off, and swap or drop shifts with a click of a button. Your desk will probably lose some color with the lack of sticky notes from staff scheduling requests though.


One Small Step for Managers, One Giant Leap for Management!


Schedules are never set in stone when they’re released. Managers are able to make real time adjustments whenever employees need to swap shifts or request time off.Also, spreadsheets don’t tell you when you’ve missed filling a shift, and paper copies of availability forms are prone to go missing. Human errors are no longer an issue. A simple and easy to use, online scheduling system will help you plan your schedule in a flash. We might even say they’ll be fun to make.


Time i$ money


We all know your employees are probably wondering what you do in your office all day. Restaurant scheduling software can change that by significantly cutting your time spent doing administrative work. Your time will be better spent on managing your business, and you'll be able spend more time making valuable interactions with your customers and employees.


Now that you’re armed with all this information, you’re probably itching to try it! Good thing we’re here to help! Push Operations workforce system streamlines all major aspects of labour into a single, robust platform. Scheduling, payroll, and HR is compiled into an intuitive system that is tailored to your individual business.

But how are we different than our competitors? Not only will we support you along the way with our 24/7 customer support line, but we also offer valuable labour and sales reports. You’ll gain transparency in your workforce, whilst automated meaningful reports will give a better pulse on your business.

Request a free live demo today!


Five Soft Skills For Every Successful Restaurant Owner

Five Soft Skills For Every Successful Restaurant Owner

 

In a study done by Linkedin, the restaurant industry topped the list of top 10 industries where soft skills are crucial in success. They are an important component in hiring great staff, and they play a key role in shaping a strong leader. Hard skills, like inventory management and budgeting, are just as important in a successful restaurant manager, but soft skills are harder to learn. Anything can be taught, but it’s your attitude that is detrimental to success. The foundation of good leader lies within their soft skills. Here are 5 soft skills that every restaurant owner should have:


Clear Communication

Good communication does not just mean a clear means of communicating with staff, but it also means actively listening. Being able to communicate with your staff is key to a positive work environment. Encourage and listen to what your staff are saying; inspire them to do well, and speak to you comfortably.


Ambition


Be ambitious. The sky is the limit, and there’s always room to grow. Be open to learning new things, invest time to grow with your staff, and continuously search for opportunities of growth. The Godfather himself said “great men [or women] are not born great; they grow great.” Strive to be better, focus on goals you create for yourself, and set an example for your staff.

 


Organization


Make sure you understand what is going on in your business. There is nothing worse than not having a pulse on your operations. Disorganization on a management level exudes a certain type of unprofessionalism, and often, staff can see it. Respect among staff members and management are key to maintaining a collaborative environment, where guests are able to receive quality service.


Personality


Hand in hand with good teamwork, is an outgoing personality. Not everyone will like you, but it helps when staff are able to get along with their managers. A Linkedin poll found that the #1 in demand skill of Managers/Sr. Managers is a friendly personality. Generally, staff would likely want to do a good job for someone they like, or look up to.


 

Teamwork

Lastly, as cheesy as it sounds, teamwork makes the dream work. Being able to work well with others, and creating a comfortable work atmosphere is a fundamental part of a successful business. Leaders lead by example, and a role of a manager should be to foster a collaborative environment. Engaging in a hands-on work environment allows your staff to see your commitment to your business, and to them. Working with the staff allows you to connect with them, and see a first hand perspective on what they do.

 


How Top Restaurants Create Buzz

How Top Restaurants Create Buzz

New restaurants pop up left and right but sometimes it can be difficult to create buzz. You could have an enticing menu, educated staff, and a unique selling point, but it can be challenging to be successful when no one knows you exist. When it comes to creating buzz, the goal is to be the talk of the town. New and successful restaurants are keyed into three things: who they are, who their audience is, and what they offer. Here are some tips on how to top restaurants create buzz:

Start Your Social Media Feeds Early

In the age of social media, the effort of creating buzz starts long before the doors of a restaurant opens. The key is timing; start your social media feeds early. Let your customers join you in the process of opening your business. Show them sneak peeks, tease them with menu items, and pique their interest. Creating suspense will create a sense of excitement but it'll also create expectations! The trick of social media is keeping up with new trends yet not over saturating a user’s feed. You want to remain relevant, without becoming an annoyance.

Take the time to carve out a social media strategy, or invest in a professional to help develop your brand. It’s important to treat social media as a prime marketing medium; it's a major part in guest interaction, and you can easily host giveaways and contests.

Use more than one platform, and be engaging! Your account should be interactive, and encourage conversation. Ask followers what they’re most excited about, what they want to see, and establish a digital presence.

Social media could also be a platform to highlight your staff! Let your followers meet who will be serving them, and establish a relationship before your doors open. It'll be a fun initiative for employee engagement, and personalize your brand. 


Stay on Brand

Its essential to stay on brand. Any content that you deliver should have the same voice. Reiterate your restaurant’s values through your social media channels to contribute to your restaurant’s overall experience. Make sure that whoever is taking care of your social media understands your values as a business, to ensure that everything is consistent.

Everything you share and publish is essentially a process of creating a story. It should be continuous, consistent, and thoughtful. Tailor your content to your ideal client, but keep it vague enough for others to chime in the conversation and be interested too!

 


Tap into Influencer Marketing 

There is a huge trend of highly influential social media influencers and food bloggers. Strategically follow and research local bloggers and social media influencers and invite them to a media tasting to take advantage of their social media following! Canadian influencers like Team Chomp and Feed My Phone have over 30 thousand Instagram followers, that include local and international users. It’s your opportunity to tap into the new form of word of mouth marketing.

Make sure your dishes are up to your standards, encourage photography, and let them know you would like to be featured on their sites! Not only will photos of your dishes be great, but you’ll have an opportunity to reach thousands of their local followers.


Once you've created enough buzz, make sure that your restaurant is able to keep up with the demand! Hiring good employees is detrimental in aiding to the success of your business. But that's only have the battle, retaining good employees is another story. Click here on tips to engage and retain restaurant employees.


Six Bad Habits That Hinder Success

Everyone strives for success, but are we doing the right things to get there?

Here are 6 bad habits that every restaurant manager need to get rid of, in order to be successful:


1. No Plan

There are so many excuses to stop you from pursuing your goals, but laying out a plan will help get you there. It can be a daily plan of researching  and observing something, to a long term, contingent plan, of operating your own business.

Having plans A to Z is better than having no plan at all! When you have a plan, all the steps that you need to do are laid out before your eyes, and you have the responsibility to follow through with them.


2. Stay in a Comfort Zone

Is there something you want to learn or delve into but you have no clue about? Probably. Should you actively pursue it? Yes. Whose stopping you? Probably yourself. You have to step outside your comfort zone to experience new and fresh experiences. Try new things, foster your creativity, and let go of that fear of failure!


3. Don’t Acknowledge Weaknesses

If you want to open a restaurant, and you excel at customer service but your weakness lies in numbers… it’s not going to fly. If you don’t want to improve that skill, or if you’ve tried continuously and still failed, find someone to fill that void. Create a team where your strengths and weaknesses bounce of each other. Acknowledging your weaknesses allows you to take plan and take the proper steps to reach for success.


4. Sacrifice sleep

Somehow, we’ve gotten into an age where less sleep is seemingly a marker of success. That’s not the case. Jason Fried, founder and and CEO of Basecamp wrote an interesting post about how “being tired isn’t a badge of honour.” He notes that sleep deprivation isn’t a marker of success” but rather a “marker of stupidity.” When you’re tired, your work is a reflection of it. In the hospitality industry, people who are sleep deprived aren’t the best people to interact with either.


5. Wait for the Right Moment.

The right moment doesn’t exist. You are the sole creator of your destiny. It sounds lame but its true! There’s never going to be a “right” time. Take a risk, if it doesn’t work out, go back to the drawing board and start again. If it does work out, the experience can be rewarding and worth all the stress. You are responsible for your own success!


6. Settle

Be relentless, be persistent, and never stop pursuing your goals. Much too often, people have a singular marker of success, and once they’ve reached it, they plateau. A key trait of a successful person is to constantly seek and find new opportunities. Don’t settle for one type of success, chase new goals and create new opportunities for yourself!



Sustainable Seafood: Top 7 Ocean Wise Restaurants

Established in 2005, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program is gradually taking Vancouver, and cities all over Canada, by storm. For those who don’t know, the Ocean Wise program is a VanAqua’s initiative to keep oceans safe by working directly with those in the restaurant industry, including markets, food services, and seafood suppliers, by informing them with the most current scientific information on sustainable seafood, in order to aid them in making informed buying decisions. The Ocean Wise symbol can be found next to menu items that include sustainable seafood, making it easy for guests to make ocean-friendly dining choices! Here are 7 of our favorite Ocean Wise dining establishments:


  1. West Restaurant and Bar

    If you’re looking for delicious food paired with excellent service, look no further. West Restaurant and Bar has epitomized contemporary Canadian cuisine. Known as one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Vancouver by locals and tourists alike, West is a high end dining staple. You’ll find beautifully plated enjoyable food, made with quality ingredients along with inviting staff.Our favorite Ocean Wise dish: Haida Gwaii Sablefish

  2. Hapa Izakaya
    The very first of its kind to join the Ocean Wise program in 2010, Hapa Izakaya has made a wave in the culinary industry. With its introduction to Vancouver’s culinary scene in 2003, the Japanese izakaya chain is a local favorite. The quality of service and food is kept at a high standard with multiple locations found in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

    Our favorite Ocean Wise dish: Negitoro (Chopped Albacore Tuna) Served with Garlic Toast


  3. Miku Restaurant & Minami Restaurant
    If you didn’t know already, Miku and Minami are sister restaurants, all under the infamous Aburi Restaurant Group. Known for their unique take on Japanese cuisine and aburi style sushi, the Aburi Group’s namesake is no coincidence. With prime locations along Coal Harbour’s waterfront, and in trendy Yaletown, the two restaurants have a little bit of something for everybody.


    Image via Miku Restarant
    Our favorite Ocean Wise dish: Aburi Salmon Oishi
  4. CinCin Ristorante
    At CinCin, you’ll find a little piece of Italy along Vancouver’s iconic Robson Street. Come for a dinner and show; CinCin houses an open kitchen, with a massive wood fire grill. Not your thing? No problem, they also have a beautiful patio that offers a view of Robson’s bustling street.Our favorite Ocean Wise dish: Charcoal Grilled Albacore Tuna


  5. Provence MarinasideOffering a taste of France in the heart of Yaletown, Provence Marinaside is the place for dinner with a priceless view of False Creek. Artfully blending European influences with West Coast Cuisine, Provence Marinaside’s offers unpretentious food in an elegant setting. They also partake in seasonal events like the Tomato Festival and Spot Prawn Festival!Our favorite Ocean Wise dish: Steamed Mussels and Clams

  6. Bodega on Main
    Found along Main Street’s Restaurant Row, Bodega on Main is a welcome addition to Vancouver’s Spanish restaurant scene. They offer classics like paella and their famous Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes covered in a zesty dressing). With a focus on simplicity, Bodega on Main reinvents classic Spanish tapas with their own twist.Our favorite Ocean Wise dish: Pulpo A La Parilla aka Grilled Octopus


  7. Royal Dinette Awarded a coveted VanMag Award, Royal Dinette was named 2016's best new restaurant. Though Royal Dinette is fairly new to the dining scene, it is all about sustainability. 95% of their ingredients are local and organic. Their produce is from local farms, their meat is free range and non medicated, and all their seafood is Ocean Wise!Our favorite Ocean Wise dish: Baked Ling Cod

 

 


Tips On Managing Staff During The Holidays

As much as the holiday season is festive and fun, it can be stressful for those in the restaurant industry.  There is an influx of diners, which results in the need for more staffing among a multitude of other responsibilities. Restaurant managers and owners are tasked with the juggling demands for more hours and satisfying time off requests whilst still trying to keep a lid on the everyday function of their establishment. To try and lessen the stressful load, here are some 3 major tips on managing staff during the holidays:

Plan Accordingly

Be prepared to hire seasonal staff, but don’t go on a hiring spree. The hardest part of seasonal hiring isn’t finding employees, rather its finding the right kind of employee. Train them properly, and hire the right amount of people. The quality of seasonal employee you have on retainer; is dependent on the training you provide them. Maintain a standard of service for existing employees and new hires to ensure consistent quality service. Who knows, you might consider hiring your seasonal employees permanently!

Use your labour and sales reports from previous years to help determine the busiest times. They are a huge asset in forecasting labour budgets and sales costs as well. Scheduling too little employees will create chaos, and scheduling too many will eat into your profits. Refrain from scheduling the same employee back to back closing and opening shifts. Grumpy and tired staff will equate to poor service.

Check in with your existing staff to establish what kind of hours they’re looking for. Often, the holidays are the time where existing part-time staff are looking for more hours, which can cover the shifts requested off.  Make note of the employees who want more hours, or wish to book days off to avoid potential scheduling issues.

Be Flexible (As You Possibly Can)

Honesty is the best policy, and its your responsibility to be upfront about employees requesting time off. If you know there are dates that you cannot accommodate, used black out dates (far in advance) to prevent staff from asking for that time off. Set clear expectations for time off requests, to prevent confusion between staff and management. If possible, make public announcements to all staff to ensure equal opportunity for all, but do not guarantee any requests.

Make sure you notify seasonal staff prior to hiring them, and existing staff ahead of the holiday rush. Plan on making holiday schedules a month in advance, but be sure to let you employees know. Staff will appreciate the notice sooner rather than later. Making the schedule in advance allows you to make quick changes on the go, rather than rushing and having to make constant changes right after finishing.

Ask staff to submit time off requests a month in advance, so you can try your best to accommodate them. But you have to firm about how they are requests, not guarantees. Accommodate what you can, but be firm about how requests for days off are still requests. Make sure that staff understand and ensure that you are doing what you can to make the schedule work for everyone.

Spread the Holiday Cheer!

Get ready for the holiday season with a team dinner, or congratulate your staff for making it through the holiday season. It allows your staff, and yourself, the opportunity to de-stress. Hosting a holiday party also allows you as a business owner to show appreciation to your staff, whilst fostering a positive work environment.

 

Generally, staff who feel valued are going to want to do a good job. The more understanding you are of your staffs’ well being will likely contribute to a better work environment and camaraderie. Requesting time off during the holiday season can be frustrating, but as a manager you have to make it easy for all staff. Remember your staff are humans and not robots, and they have  lives outside of work.


Top Five Leadership Tips from The Godfather

Top Five Leadership Tips from The Godfather

"Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people.” Wise words from The Godfather Trilogies. Any fan of the trilogies can agree on one thing: they're not just any old gangster movies. The films follow stories of power, family, and respect. Don Vito and Michael Corleone have been described as cold and ruthless; taking leadership tips from a fictional gangster film may seem questionable, but the Dons' led with integrity. They led by example. They were relentless in their pursuits, always looked at the bigger picture, found the right tools, and they knew the line between business and personal - characteristics that restaurant owner's should manifest. Here are five leadership tips from the Dons for every restaurant owner's workforce management:

Separate business and personal.

A prominent theme in the Godfather Trilogy, is drawing a line between business and personal. Don’t let personal feelings affect business decisions. Acting instinctively on your emotions has the potential to have detrimental consequence; its key to make decisions that are best for your business. Always remember “it’s not personal, its business,” keep your feelings out of business decisions.


Your Word is The Most Important Thing You Can Offer.

Don’t make promises that you cannot keep."Your word is your bond," don't supply empty promises. It ruins the integrity of your business, and has the potential to tarnish your reputation. You are accountable for the promises that you give. Never offer something you cannot fulfill; it’s okay to say no.


Great Leaders Acknowledge That They Can't Do it All

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends, or in a business sense, your team. Much like the role of Tom Hagen as the Corleone family’s consigliere, your team is there to help your business. Surround yourself with people who have strengths that you lack. Your team will be well rounded, you’ll have different perspectives, and share one common goal.


Great Men are Not Born Great; They Grow Great.”

Find your passion, chase it relentlessly and lead by example. Set your goals high; you won’t get where you want to be without a constant pursuit of success. There is always room for improvement, for both yourself and your business. Invest in the right workforce management tools to aid in the growth of your business. It's crucial to The power is in your hands to make your business great.


Pay Attention to The Details

Plan ahead, and never make rash decisions. Look for things that others wouldn’t necessarily notice, and carefully plan your moves. Billionaire Restauranteur Tilman Fertitta follows this exact mind set when visiting his businesses.

In the wise words of Don Vito Corleone “I spent my life trying not to be careless -- women and children can be careless, but not men.” Ladies, I feel you on the word choice, but he makes a point of being careful. Seeing small details, and being cautious allows you to analyze your business at face value.