How restaurant ticketing software helps lower costs

restaurant ticketing software

A benefit of using restaurant ticketing software - in lieu of accepting telephone reservations - is lower staffing costs by eliminating "unknown unknowns."

"Unknown Unknowns"

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's infamous "unknown unknowns" quote is often cited when trying to predict what resources are needed:

There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say, things that we now know we don't know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.

And "unknown unknowns" describes restaurant staffing costs because the unpredictability of reservation no-shows and random walk-ins. Just another Saturday night's dinner service can suddenly become the busiest night of the year without warning. A staffing shortage on busy nights can lead to guests waiting in long lines for a table, made worse by reservation no-shows causing tables to sit empty for hours.

Even the most seasoned restaurant owner cannot always predict guest volume. And the miscalculation usually results in under or over staffing. Restaurant staffing experts White-Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group described the staffing challenges recently in Labor Cost Guidelines for a Restaurant

"You need to know what the ideal labor cost compared to revenue is. If you only book half-full each night and keep the same number of staff on, your costs will jump to 40 percent. To get the percentage back to 20 percent, you may have to remove one server and one food runner from the schedule on nights you know will be slow."

share eventsFacebook  Twitter  Google+

Another prominent restaurant industry authority cautions against relying on a fixed schedule, week after week, since such rigidity fails to acknowledge nearby popular events, changes in the weather and other factors that affect sales.

Are the "unknown unknowns" of the staffing costs a fait accompli - or is there an alternative?

Restaurant Ticketing Software & Staffing Costs

No-shows, the weather, or a surprise concert nearby can upset the apple cart of staffing resources when one relies on telephone reservations and walk-ups. However the growing trend of restaurants using restaurant ticketing software is one way of solving the "unknown unknowns."

Next restaurant in Chicago has completely eliminated any concern of having too much, or too little, staff on-hand by selling tickets to each dinner service. Knowing the exact number of personnel needed is only possible by selling tickets in advance.

An ancillary benefit to selling tickets is working capital available weeks in advance, which can be used to hire additional staff when needed. Earlier this week Eater wrote of the staff hiring spree occurring at the highly anticipated debut of Bryce Gilmore's Odd Duck food trailer in Austin Texas.

A projected Spring 2013 opening became September became November. Now Eater has the first light at the end of the tunnel: Odd Duck is hiring for all positions front and back of the house.

Odd Duck didn't worry about over-staffing when it operated only as a gourmet food truck. But with the move to a permanent "brick & mortar" location, staffing costs are now a genuine concern. In theory, Odd Duck (or any restaurant) could bolster their working capital by selling tickets in advance and then use that revenue for its hiring spree. Of course launching a new location is a one-time event, but the up-front capital being spent on staffing costs applies to any jump in the volume of diners. Advance ticket sales also provide the same cost savings when there is a dip in sales, allowing for a reduction or staff or a modification of their schedules.

ThunderTix Restaurant Ticketing Software

Lowering staffing costs is just the beginning of selling tickets in lieu of telephone reservations. Selling tickets in advance means you will know exactly how much food to buy for a given dinner service - no more waste!

sell tickets online

ThunderTix can help you start selling tickets online in as little as one business day with no long-term contract commitments. We  make nightly deposits of your sales dollars directly into your bank account, giving you the liquidity to buy only what you need for the menu – no waste.

When you say “table d’hôte” we know what you mean. In addition to being the most restaurant friendly ticketing software available, know that ThunderTix has years of experience helping venues to sell tickets online. You will inherit our expertise when you make the move from telephone reservation to selling tickets, either all-at-once or gradually. If you would like help planning the transition, or have specific questions about selling tickets at your restaurant, please contact us at your convenience.

Image source: Wiki Commons