Restaurants Move Toward Labor Precision.

There is a new trend in the restaurant industry that I am particularly excited about; food service is beginning to make the transition into engineered labor models, where traditionally labor has been calculated as a % of sales.

Quick service restaurant companies have been working with engineered labor standards (ELS) for some time. Consider that quick service restaurants are essentially mini-manufacturing facilities with light service involved. It makes sense that their model would involve ELS given the need for very efficient, best method production.

We are now seeing table service move into this area, as they are recognizing the compelling value proposition in using an activity-based labor model to provide a more precise and robust mechanism to drive efficient and effective restaurant labor.

If you think about it, table service restaurants are two business models combined — manufacturing in the back-of-house, and specialty retail in the front-of-house. The kitchen focuses on speed, consistency, best methods, and efficiency, while the front focuses on guest service and guest experience.

Given all the options available to consumers, coupled with wage and other cost pressures on food service operators, consistent efficient execution with high service standards is absolutely required to maintain competitiveness and stay profitable in this industry. A labor model based on engineered labor standards is the best way to achieve this.

Very excited to see this gaining traction. I will continue to provide updates on this topic.

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Ty Law

Ty Law is the Director of Retail at Connors Group, and brings a rich perspective on the benefits of workforce management and labor modeling.
1 reply
  1. CJ Jones
    CJ Jones says:

    Excellent commentary and your observations are consistent with the labor management vision we’ve established at Buffalo Wild Wings, and the Connors team has helped it come to fruition!

    If I may piggyback on your thought process, we see tremendous value in an ELS or Activity Based Labor Model to account for location characteristics. The limited, sales-based models do not seem to effectively account for this crucial aspect of labor management.


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