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Food Runners – to be or not to be

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Food runners

Are Food Runners a Fit for Your Restaurant?

Though the basic strategy of restaurants has remained relatively the same over the decades, there has been a recent trend among the larger players to implement food runners. From an operational standpoint, these employees work as a middle man to ease up the workload of servers during rush hours and have been shown to increase overall speed and productivity. Before deciding to add food runners to your restaurant’s payroll, it is important to analyze how much of an impact they would actually have on your individual restaurant.

Free Up Your Servers

For most restaurants, the idea of food runners was introduced merely to free up some time for the servers during a rush. Whether lunch, dinner, or both, the typical food runner only works for about 2-4 hours, depending on how long the rush lasts. During this time, the server does not need to run any food to his or her tables and the food runner picks up that slack for them. In return, the server is able to work more tables and, if they take advantage of the extra time, is often able to pull higher tips overall by offering better service.

What about Labor Costs?

The first concern that most restaurant owners consider when looking at hiring a food runner is the labor cost. As you already know from your Boston restaurant attorney, you need to make sure you are paying this new employee the minimum wage to keep your restaurant from running into legal troubles. Furthermore, you need to set up a tip-out system that will keep the servers happy while still giving the runners incentive to perform at their best.

Of course, if you explain to your servers how a 15% tip-out pays for itself because they are able to get 30% more business, then everyone will benefit. On the other hand, if the server is not able to get enough extra business, this tip-out could also cause more trouble than just increased payroll.

Ultimately, the determining factor in hiring a food runner is to actually establish whether your restaurant is busy enough that it will be advantageous. Since food runners will add an additional payroll expense and the associated taxes and training, it is important to make sure that the profits outweigh the costs. When you find that you have questions about how to structure your restaurant staff and wish to consult with a Boston restaurant attorney on the best ways to ensure you use the best strategy, contact Lewis Sassoon of Sassoon & Cymrot for individual guidance and consultation.

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