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Kitchen labor cost

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I need help here with the average labor cost for a kitchen. Having been out of the states for a decade and working under different guidelines it amazes me at how much has changed......So here's the straight and skinny of the situation...
I am running a free standing restaurant that last year did $5.5 million in food revenue; average check of $20; 53 item menu (basic American fare); average rate of pay $11.65/hour (does not include salaried staff); open 7 days with only one menu (lunch and dinner).
I will appreciate any input you all have....thanks P:chef:
post #2 of 7
So the most important question is how many cooks? You say you average 15 grand a day in food sales. At $20 a head, that's 750 people! You would need 4 or 5 line stations, plus one or two prep guys, and the dish washers. You need at least 15 people to keep overtime to a minimum...so at 11.65.....like 8% of gross for hourly's and probably another 6% to 8% on the salaries(chef, sous chef etc.). Leaving you somewhere around 15%

Houston's, where I worked for five years did about the same numbers, but had almost 20% kitchen labor alone...Overtime is killer. Watch out for the milkers, they will push it up 5% easy.
Keep those fires burnin'
Keep those fires burnin'
post #3 of 7
I'd say 10%.....stewards included at about 3%...salary kitchen labor not included......
You should be able to run a little spreadsheet and and track labor for stewards and cooks on a daily basis....letting you control the cost as the week progresses.....of course the real answer is....what ever the owners or GM tells you.......one dollar at a time....thats how you control it.....what's the average hourly rate for your cooks...????....
post #4 of 7
i always share the burden with the owner / gm. i expect them to provide me with accurate sales forecasts on a weekly basis. then just calculate your schedule and work it till it is about .5% under budget.

as far as what the budget should be that depends on the situation. fast service might be 8% (hourly) but fine dining might be 12-15%.

if you are not able to meet your goals one thing i always push is breaking down responsibilities. things like scrubbing the line. your line cooks will love you if you get someone else to do it, and you can probably save $4-8 an hour doing it.
post #5 of 7
One trick is dont worry to much about cutting back labor, but try and get as much production out of the labor hours that you do pay. Normally the higher your volume the lower your labor cost because the same amount of hands and time are serving more covers. Try not to overlap staff, new crew comes in old crew goes home. Start to clean up bfore closing dont wait till you close. Just sit down and look at overall picture, like peak times, slow times etc. good luck Chef ed
post #6 of 7
Ed's got it pretty much on the button.

While food cost is easier to manage, labour is always a cra*-shoot. Many Chefs that I know will never allow labour cost to be structured into their bonus system or salary--it's just too unstable.

May the wind be at your back, your owner on holidays in Hawaii, an the "U" word never, ever mentioned......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #7 of 7
Are you calculating off food sales or total sales? Are non alcoholic beverages (sodas, coffee, tea, juices and even the exotics like smoothies etc) counted? If there's a bar or lounge is that food also included in the end dollar figure? What about togo food. Some systems are set up to not count this. Believe me I worked for a pair of those type in the past. Killed me when they did food for their friends! This can make a big difference in what % you actually calculate.

Most of the time I was held to food sales and it seems that you are too. It's been a long time since the costs were looked at on the whole but I'm sure there are those that still do.

The replies you've received so far are good advice. Although there is a big discrepency between Psycho's 15% and Stephen's 10%.

How labor intensive the menu is seems to be the rule of thumb to consider as well. As it's been mentioned, stations need to be filled, prep needs to be completed, dishes need to be washed and since you're doing 5.5K per year, you can't do it all by yourself. As much as some owners would like to believe different.:crazy:

For your dollar figure's you've provided I'd have to agree with Psycho that you should settle somewhere in the 15 to maybe 18% range.

I'm not sure what type of speadsheet you use or the kitchen staff set up you have but if you'd like a copy of a theortical I have for an old place I once worked, PM me and I'll send you it. It's in excel and easy to use so....

Good luck.
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