Top 6 Restaurant Labor KPIs that Reveal Everything

studying restaurant metrics

Posted: Apr. 08, 2019

Running a restaurant is tough, and as the owner or manager of a restaurant, you want to use every tool available to you. With a restaurant POS system, studying restaurant metrics becomes much easier, and is vital to standing out in a competitive industry.

Because a significant portion of your earnings goes towards labor, today, we discuss the six essential labor KPIs for restaurants. (Here are the top four sales KPIs every restaurant should study.)

Labor Cost Percentage

When it comes to analyzing how much money is going towards labor, the first metric to look at is Labor Cost Percentage. Labor and food costs are your restaurant’s biggest expenses, so knowing the exact percentage going towards paying your staff helps control the budget.

Many people make the mistake of thinking the Labor Cost Percentage is for knowing when you are overpaying for labor, but you might find that you have been understaffing or under-scheduling, which could be impacting your bottom line just as harshly.

On average, the labor costs of a full-service restaurant should remain within 25% and 35% of total sales.

How to Calculate Labor Cost Percentage

Calculating the total labor cost is simple, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Multiply your employee hourly rate with the number of hours worked (including benefits and taxes per employee).

Step 2: Add the values for all employees together to get the total labor cost.

Step 3: Divide the total labor cost with the restaurant’s total sales (begin with total sales per month), and multiply by 100.

The result is your labor cost percentage.

This figure shows how much is going into staffing your entire restaurant. For a more thorough breakdown, we recommend performing the same calculation for each department:

  • FOH staff
  • BOH staff
  • Bar staff
  • Cleaning staff
  • Delivery staff
  • Management

The top two departments to look at are the FOH and BOH.

Front of House Labor Cost Percentage

This KPI reveals the percentage of employees out of the total workforce that manage FOH activities. If you find that you have been overscheduling, breakdown the FOH Labor Cost Percentage for each position, including:

  • Servers
  • Table bussers
  • Hosts

You might have one too many bussers on duty that are throwing off your numbers, and with a deep breakdown, you can make the proper changes.

Kitchen Labor Costs Percentage

Just like the FOH, kitchen labor should be analyzed carefully. Drill down into each kitchen department to guarantee each person on duty is justifiably scheduled.

In-Depth Metrics Analysis

This kind of in-depth breakdown of Labor Cost Percentages will reveal problem areas and their solutions. For example, you might realize you have too many bartenders on staff and can train the servers to handle the simpler bar needs, like pouring wine or opening beer bottles. Or you might find that the menu prices are just too low to support the optimal staff needed.

Lavu Pro Tip: If you haven’t updated your menu recently, now is the time to do it. See our tips for improving your restaurant menu here, and don’t forget to take advantage of upselling opportunities.

Your next step might be to review your scheduling process. Start using the scheduling feature in your restaurant POS to help you. It can alert you when an employee has hit his or her hour-per-week limit, as well as forecast future sales to suggest an efficient schedule.

Number of Guests Served, Per Server, Per Hour

Improving the table turnover rate is a high priority for most restaurant managers. There are several easy ways to improve restaurant turnover rates, yet it’s important to know if there are certain servers that need extra training. On the other hand, you might realize that your serving staff is overwhelmed with the number of tables in their section, and it’s better to hire one more server to give better service overall.

For this, calculate the Number of Guests Served, Per Server, Per Hour. It will show insights into the efficiency of your staff.

The formula: Number of Guests Served Per Server Per Hour = Total Number of Guest Served/Number of Service Hours Worked

Compliments Per Server

Compare the number of guests with the number of comments that come in. You’ll find that top servers are scoring high in the above KPI (Number of Guests Served, Per Server, Per Hour) and receive the highest number of compliments.

If a server has a high volume of guests but low feedback, he or she might need a refresher training course. Consider scaling back table volume for that server until you have assessed his or her performance.

Server Errors Per Guest

Your restaurant point of sale is tracking just about everything, including how often mistakes occur. Track a server’s errors to see how often incorrect items are rung in, or have to be voided. Too many server errors lead to inflated costs, unhappy customers, and low team morale. Track the Sever Errors Per Guest to address the issue and reduce the number of mistakes.

With restaurants often vying for the same customers, it’s critical to use KPIs to your advantage. Increase your efficiency and profitability by tracking these restaurant labor metrics and make your restaurant less vulnerable to external pressures.

Learn other ways your restaurant POS can help you, and harness the power of restaurant POS data to earn more and perform better.



Posted: Apr. 08, 2019 | Written By: Emma Alois


Schedule a demo with LAVU


It’s a fact: The quality of your restaurant’s POS system can mean the difference between profit and loss. Having the right POS solutions positively affects the functionality of every aspect of your business. From maintaining optimum customer care standards, to your ability to manage your inventory, effective POS can help your restaurant succeed beyond your wildest expectations.


Leverage Your Restaurant Data to Accommodate New Minimum Wages

Apr. 22, 2019 | 0


Discussing a fair and reasonable minimum wage for tipped employees must also include helpful ways restaurants can adapt to rising costs. In the restaurant world, labor efficiency can make or break your business. New minimum wage laws for tipped employees are taking effect, and restaurant owners…

read more


Increase Your Restaurant Traffic with These 6 Social Media Tips

Jan. 23, 2017 | 6


As a restaurant owner, you likely know how much of an impact social media can have on your…

read more

All Articles

Leverage Your Restaurant Data to Accommodate New Minimum Wages

Apr. 22, 2019 | 0


Discussing a fair and reasonable minimum wage for tipped employees must also include helpful ways…

read more

Using Restaurant Order Systems: The Definitive Guide

Apr. 19, 2019 | 1


With new technology spreading to the restaurant industry, there’s a heightened level of…

read more

RevPASH, the Essential Formula for Restaurant Management

Apr. 17, 2019 | 0


In restaurant management, the leading objective is to maintain the profitability of the business…

read more

3 Takeaways from a Fast Casual Chain's Success (and Catastrophes)

Apr. 15, 2019 | 0


The creator of fast casual dining set new industry standards over its 26 years in business. See the…

read more

A Restaurant Guide to Hosting the Most Popular Summer Events

Apr. 12, 2019 | 0

Success Tips

As people get ready to let loose and enjoy the warm air, remember that summer can be a lucrative…

read more

Is your FOH Restaurant Staff Doing This?

Apr. 10, 2019 | 0


Make sure your restaurant FOH staff isn’t turning off customers with these four irritating…

read more

Top 6 Restaurant Labor KPIs that Reveal Everything

Apr. 08, 2019 | 0


Running a restaurant is tough, and as the owner or manager of a restaurant, you want to use every…

read more

5 Mistakes Restaurant Managers Can Easily Fix

Mar. 29, 2019 | 0


Achieving perfection as a restaurant manager is impossible; every day presents new challenges. But…

read more

Restaurant Inventory Management Software: The Essential Guide

Mar. 27, 2019 | 1


Running your restaurant comes with its own set of challenges. You have to schedule staff shifts…

read more