Net Labor Percentage - Staffing Employees

I’m curious as to how other pizzeria’s are doing with their payroll.

I just looked over my last 30 days and my net labor percentage is 19.87%.

Everyday I have at least 1 pizza guy, 1 phone girl/waitress, 1 cook, 1 delivery/dish guy. I usually have 4 people on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. 8 people for Friday (the additional four are a second phone girl/waitress, a dough stretcher and an oven guy and a separate delivery guy) and 7 people for Saturday (oven guy, phone girl, and separate delivery guy). I’ll likely be adding a 5th for Sundays and Thursdays as business picks up (separate delivery guy).

Typically, for 7 days a week, 2 of those 4-8 people include myself and my wife. This allows us to keep payroll low, or at least what I seem to think is low.

Clearly this is all relative to how busy you are, but I’m just curious to see how people staff and their net labor %.

I posted this in some thread awhile ago…

Off the top of my head, 2.5 people per $1500 in sales. On slow days ($400 - $1200) I only staff 2 people.
3 to 4 people for $3000 days.

So I guess what I’m saying is, you could cut some staff…

I guess different pizzerias work differently, so maybe this was a very ambiguous quesiton.

There’s no way I could cut staff. How can you staff 2 people when you do delivery/dine in/pick up. What happens when a pizza needs to get made for delivery and a pasta dish for dine in? Would you have the pizza guy make all the food, deliver the pizza and leave the waitress at the store by herself?

Also, the spread on our sales is very dinner heavy. I’ll only have 2 of us on for lunch for Friday (no delivery until 4), and then add 6 more for the night time rush.

How can you staff 2 people when you do delivery/dine in/pick up
Easy!! The front person doubles as driver/waiter/csr. If he or she is gone, the cook covers that position as well. Think cross-training. Can you run lunch by yourself? If not, try. You can answer the phone, seat a table, make the order all by yourself. Volume dictates how many you should need. CROSS-TRAIN!! I don’t deliver until 5pm, so its quite normal for 1 person to run the store during slow lunches (less than $600). A typical staff of 3 (cook,csr,driver) can do $500/hr during dinner. Keep in mind, all 3 can take orders, clean, buss, deliver, etc… I hope you see what I mean.

This all depends on your menu & concept.

I have a takeout, delivery, slice location and this would clearly be impossible.
We also make our own dough, shred our own cheese, and make all sauces, all with a 150 item menu.

Without my pay i run 23%, and with my pay its 29% & on busier weeks it drops about 2%.

i work 60 hrs a week.

I multitask like a mad man and there’s no chance I could do it all by myself. As mentioned in another post, everything we do is fresh so there is typically a couple hours of prep work to be done daily as well. There’s just no way to run any day with just two people if you’re doing Delivery/Dine in/Carry Out.

Assume there is a delivery to be taken. You’re now down to one person in the shop to:

  1. Answer phones
  2. Make pizza
  3. Make dinners, sandwiches, salads
  4. Wait Tables
  5. Assist customers who are picking up food
  6. Answer drive thru window (we have one of these)

Not practical in the least bit. We can get by with two people during lunch because we don’t deliver, and we’re dead from 230-430 so most prep can get done then, but for dinner, it’d be completely unreasonable. Can’t keep customers happy if we were to do things like that. I’m the king of preaching that everyone needs to work hard and multitask, but I’d never expect myself, let alone any employee to be able to handle all of that in a reasonable manner.


I’m only trying to give you something to think about. Not trying to tell you how to run your business.

For me, in my 4th year, I’ve grown sales by more than 40% each year. I’m comfortable in what I’m doing. My staff gets paid very well and are among the best in the business. I expect them to be better!!

You still haven’t mentioned your level of sales (in $$$$$$) for the number of staff per day. I’m curious. I may be missing something.

I had a staff of 7 for an $8K day, and we ran smooth as silk, plenty of break time. *Somehow, I doubt you’re doing $8K sales with a staff of 7. Is there something to be learned??

As for prep, we do everything. We make our dough daily, par-bake fresh wings, chop lettuce, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, shred blocks of cheese, slow-cook ribs for 8 hours, fold silver-ware, etc… We probably do more prep than you.

I do not run my shop like a cookie cutter template. I started in this business with almost nothing in regards to the store and knowledge in the restaurant industry. I’ve learned and adapted along the way. I’ve also built-out my store and developed staff along the way. You bought a pre-existing business, and are trying to make their template work for you. It may or may not.

I’m just sharing what worked and does work for me. Take it or leave it.

*PS: I do not sell $5 pizzas!

I’m also not trying to say anything about the way you run your business. All my comments are geared towards what we’re capable of. Clearly, whatever you say you’re doing according to you is working, so more power to ya. I was never trying to make this into a pissing contest on who can run a business better. My “slow day” numbers seemed comparable to yours, and my “busy” day numbers are a little bit less.

I bought a pre-existing business but have made numerous changes, and am certainly not running off of their template. I expect a lot out of my staff. Being young, I’m very energetic and astute and there’s just no chance with the way things work here I could ever expect to run things as short handed as you do.

You must have yourself and employees on some pretty incredible PED. I’ll have to run a cost analysis on the price of those drugs to make sure that my payroll is reduced enough to compensate for them :wink:

Every business is different. For us to run a huge night (4-5K for us) we need:

During the rush
3 phone people
3 cooks
1 oven tender
6 drivers
1 manager/expiditor

14 people!

Before and after the rush you can cut 2 phone people, 1 cook and 3 drivers.

In order to do that volume, in addition to the regular crew for lunch, we will have one prep only person 12-5PM and a 2nd from 3-5PM. They stay on as cooks for the rush.

I can not imagine how I would do 8K with 7 people! When we ran two locations in town we had some 8-9 days combined. Still needed the same crew at night, but added 3 more during the day.

A more “average” busy night of 2-3K we use:
2 phones
3 cooks
1 ovens/manager
4 drivers

for a total of 10.


I’m not upset with you, just offering a perspective from another business. No PEDs for the staff, just responsibility, respect, and reward.


We popped $10K days several times this year. Each time, we staffed 4 or 5 for lunch, and 12 for dinner. Even so, we were over-staffed by about 2 during dinner. I’ve rarely had 3 drivers during the same shift, and if I did, #3 was mostly inside doing dispatch and handling over-flow deliveries. On busy days we have 2 during the rush. I don’t think I can fit more than 12 employees in the store at once, there’s only so much space!!

What interests me is that we’re running about 21% labor, which rises quickly as business slows down, with what appears to be about 1/2 the staff of others. :?:

Pizza 2007, Sounds like you have a dinning room? 10K for us would be about 7K deliveries and 3K carryout. Divided by our average sale that would be over 200 deliveries. On a huge night where the runs get really efficient a top driver might be able to hit 30 deliveries, but the average would be maybe 24. No way we would plan to do it with less than 8 drivers if that business was mostly dinner. (Our ovens would not be able to handle it anyway since with calzones, strombolli, some deep dish, wings, poppers, bread sticks, cheesy bread added we top out around 100 pies per hour)

Business models are very different. We are in a resort town with mountain driving and during the winter, we are often delivering in up to a foot of snow. (Average anual snowfall here is 335". Yes that is nearly 30 feet) We make a lot of fancy complex pizzas too which slows down both order taking and the make line. Since people call on cell phones, we do not have the luxury of having most of our customers already in the POS with address etc when they call.

At our most efficient, we get down to 22-23% labor as a montly number. Our year round figure is about 31%. (I do not find spending time looking at daily % for labor to be very productive since it takes no account of so many things) My labor % includes all taxes, unemployement, overtime, bonuses etc. We run with a general manager and I am not in the store day to day, so you could cut 8-9% off of those numbers for comparison to a store where the owner runs things every day.

Back to the topic…

When you say net labor, what’s your definition?

My payroll number is hr/rate plus all taxes/add ons

I try to keep it around 25% but not over 30%. The more hours you work the smaller that number goes.



Agreed. I’m not sure what NYFL means by “NET” labor. The only useful number is total labor. You can’t defer payroll, taxes, or insurance.

NYFL are you not counting company matching taxes or insurance? If so, you should start counting for a more accurate picture of cash flow. State and Federal unemployment insurance along with Workman’s Comp subtracts a few dollars from the bottom line.

I don’t think this is an answerable question. We all operate with different physical layouts, different menus and concepts. We run roughly 100 seats dine-in between a dinning room and a Pub-room. For a typical weekday lunch we’ll be 2 in the kitchen and two up front. A weekday dinner service will usually see a 3rd in the kitchen, and another up front. On weekends we go strong for supper so we’re 4 cooks, myself expediting and handling the steaks, a dishwasher, with a bar/cashier, 3-4 servers and a bus up front. Labor kills me, not the pay, the friggn’ taxes…but for the month we’ll usually come in around 24%.

Man some of you guys must work in shear caos!! holy cow. I like things to go smoothly when its busy

On a 2,500 dollar night we have 4.5 drivers ( i have a back up cook/driver) And Me and 1.5 cooks/phone people.

We run like clock work and my labor is about 20% with me working 20 hours a week

Ok Joker, after reading your response, I had to go thru the past few days to take a hard look. Keep in mind though, our numbers are much better when we’re busier. On 10-10-10, we had about $3400 in sales, with 4.5 people - total. Thats about in-line with your #s, but fat considering our summer #s.

What the heck is 4.5 people?

How many bodies were present when you were busy?

Lol… come on Steve they employ “Little People” :stuck_out_tongue:

p.s.: No offense please… I have a very good friend that is a little person.

What the heck is 4.5 people?
A poor attempt to average.

How many bodies were present when you were busy?

Here’s a better breakdown for that day:

MGR/Cook (dual role), 12pm - 10pm (10hrs)
Waitress 1/CSR (dual role), 1pm - 6pm (5hrs)
Waitress 2/CSR (dual role), 1pm - 9pm (8hrs)
Driver 1/CSR/CUT/Cook (dual role), 5pm - 10pm (5hrs)
Driver 2/CSR/CUT (dual role), 5pm - 9pm (4hrs)

Total work hours: 32 hours
The busiest period: 5:30pm - 8:30pm about 5 people, but 1 left 30 minutes into the peak period.

It was a pretty easy, steady day. Unlike most, where we’re slammed during dinner (or lunch), on this day business was steady from 1pm to almost 9pm, staying about $300/hr, but less than $400/hr. So the crew didn’t even breathe hard. Just busy enough to let time pass quickly.

Of that total sales, we had 28 deliveries for about $900.

So, for this example, what we end up with is a total sales of $3400 and total hours of 32. We can replace the 32 hours with the TOTAL payroll liabilities for that day, divide, and have an accurate picture of labor costs. I’ll simplify and say that per hour worked my labor was SALES/HOURS which is 3400/32 = $106.25 of sales per hour of labor. I consider anything about $80/hr more than good. For me, LESS than $50/hr would be bad.

The marks of $80 and/or $50 probably do not apply to a lot of other businesses, but I’m sure if you plugged your numbers in, you’d quickly glean the marks that were important for you in managing the operation.

Our pay roll was 17k total last month which is dead on 20% of gross. We each run a store, we have 2. We both work 5-8ish 7 days a week and its been working out great. We have a good crew that opens and makes the dough and handles lunch just fine. our sales from 11-5 are on average about 400 a day

2 people working. 1 instore and 1 driver. And we always have a 2nd driver on call just incase its busy or deliverys get backed up. Our deliverys are rarley longer than 30 min.

I would always rather be over staffed than understaffed for our customers sake. After all they pay my bills.