There is no shortage of organizational concerns when it comes to hospital food service management. Recent research from The Big Picture concluded that the majority of managers in healthcare settings identified labor and food costs as the two most pressing issues in their line of work, according to Foodservice Director magazine. The study found that 67 percent of clinical operators ranked labor costs as a five or higher priority on a six-point scale, while 66 percent ranked food costs the same. While food costs are a more straightforward management issue, figuring out a way to run a successful labor pool can be tricky in the healthcare industry.
Optimizing food service productivity and labor costs
As a hospital food service operator, there are a variety of ways you can re-organize your labor costs to benefit your overall organization. One effective avenue involves taking a look at your unit labor costs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this measurement is based on hourly compensation costs as compared to labor productivity. In the first quarter of 2013, labor productivity increased by 0.5 percent in non-farm businesses while hourly wage costs decreased by 3.8 percent – indicating a 4.3 percent drop in unit labor costs. Finding a way to bring this trend into your operations can be a major key to success.
One great way to get the most out of your employees without wasting money is through effective scheduling. When working with hourly staff members, a fixed weekly schedule can often cause conflicts with changing factors, such as slow retail seasons, weather conditions or internal organizational issues.
By retooling worker schedules based on evolving food service management issues throughout the year, you can better manage labor costs. This process also requires you to pay close attention to when staff members punch in and out of their shifts, ensuring that everyone adheres to the official schedule.
Another means of optimizing your employee productivity is by paring down the overall labor force and cross-training food service workers. Food service operators often make the mistake of hiring too many staff members to ensure that operations run smoothly, but this can have negative effects on labor costs and efficiency.
Cross-training employees to handle various responsibility within the kitchen and cafeteria is one of the best ways keep labor costs down. Not only will employees be better trained to handle various situations at a moment’s notice, but you won’t have to worry about overpaying an employee to handle a relatively simple food service role.
With these tips in mind, you can be on your way toward more seamless food service management and patient satisfaction.