I interviewed Greg Keetch, who is the owner of a restaurant, Taco Amigo in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He is responsible for the budget, and it was interesting to hear his responses to the following interview questions:
- What are some of the most common areas in which your company goes over budget?
- What have you noticed works most effectively in cutting costs of these problem areas?
- Have you ever had to lay people off as a result of consistently going over budget?
- Do you find it beneficial to keep employees aware of budgeting concerns?
- Are there certain categories of your budget that seem to be unpredictable? (patterns of being over than under budget?)
- Would you see it beneficial to provide a cost breakdown of over budget areas?
- How often do you spend time looking over the budget?
- Do you include staff or other leaders in budget discussions?
- What tools or programs do you use to stay on budget?
- What concerns you more, keeping the month to month budget or the year to date budget?
- What has been your greatest success in keeping budget? What is a time when you erred in keeping budget?
Considering Greg’s responses to these questions, it was quite clear that the most concerning area of going over budget is staffing/labor for him. He said it can be difficult to predict how busy days and nights will be at his restaurant, so staffing is complicated. To avoid going over budget, he reviews past years to see how busy certain days of the year are to have a better idea of how many employees to schedule. He also created an app that all of the managers have. This app shows the labor as a percentage in each given hour. The managers are all aware of what the desired percentage is, and if they are over, the managers are expected to send people home. This has helped with staffing over-budgeting a lot.
It seems like a lot of businesses have difficulties with staffing, which seems very understandable. In order to keep patient/customer satisfaction, you can’t be understaffed because then people are displeased and you risk employee burnout. Then at the same time, you don’t want to have too many employee at once, because the budget can quickly be surpassed this way. I really liked how Greg said they have an app for the managers to know the labor compared to the amount of business they are getting each hour. This seems like an effective way to manage labor step by step.