How to Determine What Staff You Need

How to Determine What Staff You Need

Whether in preparation for your restaurant launch, or hiring simply due to employee turnover, it’s integral to constantly manage changing staff requirements. Learn to determine which positions are paramount, how many hands make light work, and how to juggle staffing times. Seek to attain and retain the most suitable staff members for your establishment to maximise the success of the business.

Know Your Staffing Needs
If you are opening a restaurant for the first time you will need to define your staffing needs with as much precision as possible. Even if you have been running your business for a while and need to hire again, consider the following:

  • The type of restaurant you run (fine dining, casual dining, fast-food).
  • The type of food service you offer (cafe-style, buffet-style, fine-dining).
  • The type of food on your menu (this determines what you need to cook and which kitchen stations you require).
  • The number of tables or seats available in your restaurant (this determines the number of servers you will need).

After you have been operating the restaurant for some time, you will begin to see shifts and trends in the daily and weekly business, and you will then get a feel for which people, and how many people, you will need for each part of the day.

Determine the Critical Positions for Your Operation.
Recognise your concept before determining what positions you will need to fill. For instance, a fine dining restaurant may need a chef and a sous chef to commence operation. However, a fast-food drive-thru will need a drive-thru order taker and fry-cooks. Additionally, consider the positions that will have direct contact with customers or guests. Hiring friendly and appealing staff will help outline the face of your operation and deliver the memorable customer experience you aim to achieve.

Determine How Many Employees to Hire.
Before hiring, be sure to consider the number of employees you should appoint. It helps to start out with a few more employees than necessary, in case some of the staff members do not work out. At the same time, make certain that your annual budget can accommodate the number of people you are considering to hire. Essentially, consider the following guidelines:

  • Assess the number of tables, seats or service stations. The number of tables you expect to serve will help determine the number of servers you need.
  • Consider the layout of the kitchen and the different kitchen stations. The layout of your kitchen and the cooking stations affect the number of line cooks or kitchen staff you will require.
  • Consider the peaks and troughs of your service times. Make sure that your busiest times, typically lunch and dinner, are adequately staffed. For instance, you might need to staff more people from 11am-1pm than you would in early morning hours.

Your budget will not only determine how much you can afford to pay your employees, but how many employees you can have working at any given time to keep your labour cost down.

Use a Sales and Guest Projection Chart
A staff chart is helpful when determining how many employees to schedule. Calculate the number of guests anticipated each hour, as well as the projected sales the restaurant will achieve each hour. This information determines the number of staff members needed per hour. You can organise your chart by number of expected tables if you do not know the expected hourly guest number. Be sure to consider your restaurant type, service style and layout when designing your chart, prioritising operating efficiency and customer service.


Manage Your Labour Cost
When you begin recruiting more staff, labour cost is a concern. Complete a comprehensive staffing schedule for all the staff you anticipate needing in your establishment. Cover all of your busy times and think about staffing according to the Sales and Guest Projection Chart.

Find the Right People
Once you have considered your budget, the positions your restaurant needs, and how many people to hire, the real search begins. With a plan in place, you can focus on finding the right people for your operation and watch it become successful. Remove the guesswork from managing your business by checking the numbers, as they are the ongoing indicators for your decision-making.

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