Back of House v. Front of House in Full Service Restaurant

So after 2 months, I have a good handle on my numbers. 47% of my labor goes into the front of house (servers, bussers, hosts, bartenders) and 53% goes into back of house (dish/prep/cook). I want to know if this is typical. A few notes about my business:

  1. We are dine-in full service, full bar. No delivery.
  2. 22% of our business is beer/wine/liquor.
  3. We are decidedly overstaffed and are beginning to scale back where necessary (we are running about 31% total).

So, for those of you with full service places, what is your foh/boh breakdown? Is this close? I would have thought our BOH would be significantly higher. I’ve had to pay pretty good money to keep our best cooks (11 - 11.50).

I appreciate any input.

Patrick Cuezze
Next Door Pizza and Pub

I don’t track that type of info @ this operation, but…

Both BOH/FOH are high…

If you are doing a sales forecast & already have labor % & an ‘avg/wage/hr’ you can then better allocate, based on your forecast, where you need to have the labor, and which days…some heavy prep days may require added hrs in the BOH…

Start by trimming 1/2 hrs of starting times & stagger shift clock-in times…don’t be afraid to bring in the last lunch server @ noon or 11:45…blast out the opening cook @ 2 or so…be aggressive…

Begin to track how many labor $$ it takes to cover sales, and the department breakdown - will also help…labor %'s are great/useful, but so is tracking how many kitchen/server hrs it takes when compared to sales…

There will be a ‘skeleton’ labor cost required just to open the doors for business - that must be pared down to a bare minimum, then build your schedule accordingly…

I belive the OP meant that the 47%/53% is the breakdown of the 31% of sales for labor. So, of the 31% of sales he’s paying for labor, 47% of it goes to the front of house staff and 53% goes to the back of house staff.

Overall, I think that 31% should come down a bit, but only if bringing it down won’t have a negative impact on customer satisfaction and experience.

We’re full service, pub (beer & wine) with a menu ranging from pizza to steaks, with pasta & burgers in between. Our overall labor costs have stayed fairly steady after our opening week at 27%. The split will vary by the day of course but we are seeing a tad higher labor % used in the kitchen v. the front. We do a LOT of our own prep-cooking so that adds in, and of course our kitchen staff is paid a higher hourly than the servers who are making it up in tips. Our kitchen labor is at 55% v. 45% for the front if I had to lay out our average. Of course my own salary isn’t figured into that mix, I’m 99% kitchen management at this point, and yes…unpaid.

We’re full service and delivery. Probably a 65+% in the front compared to 35% in the back. *The front does a lot of cut & other kitchen work.

Thanks, that’s just what I was looking for. And Patriot, my total labor cost is 31%. That doesn’t include any $ for me (as I have yet to take home any $ :frowning: ) I know this is a little high but we needed to overstaff at first. I’m ready to take your advice and start shaving time. I have a few pikers that clock in early and extend the time needed to clean after the shift.

On that topic, I was thinking about cutting my cooks as soon as it’s time to breakdown and then bringing in one person to clean the kitchen for fixed price. Anyone tried that before?

I actually did try something similar to this once. The problem was that the cooks had very little incentive to keep the place clean during the rush. When they know they’ll be here for 2 hours after close cleaning if they let it get out of control the tend to keep things very clean while we’re busy. This is important to me because we have an open kitchen.

Yep I’d agree with that. When we first opened I had a ‘cleaning guy’ who came in an cleaned and did the washing up for 2 hours every morning. Now we don’t have a ‘cleaning guy’ we’re always out within 30 mins (at most) for closing thats a manager and an instore with maybe a driver for 15 minutes or so. So I save at least 30 minutes every day minimum. Some days we’re ready to go a few minutes after our close time so thats nearly 2 hours of labour every day.

Ditto us on the cleaning. Each station (pizza-fryers-cook line - dishwashing) is responsible for their own station. I have a list of “must do” taped at each station and it takes each person usually around 30 minutes from end of service to clock out. The one night I had my lead DAYtime guy in cooking to cover a shift and he wasn’t used to the clean up…what a mess! We adjusted his perception of the process a bit and it’s been remarkable how clean his unit is now after his lunch shift is over!