Last month we brought you our Top Tips for Management Time-Saving. This time round, we turn our attention to those people who compose nine-tenths of our workforce, team members. With over 25,000 now registered on S4Labour, it’s high time they were given some consideration. Here are our top five tips to help employees work more quickly and efficiently, maximising the time they can spend doing what they do best – delivering great service.

Proper Shift Planning

Every shift comes with functions that need to be completed to ensure its efficient running. It’s always a good idea to scope these in terms of primary, secondary, and tertiary tasks. Primary tasks, such as serving customers, must constantly be performed. Secondary tasks, like chopping lemons, should be carried out wherever possible. Tertiary duties, such as deep cleaning jobs, are to be considered at times of slower trade.

Once these tasks have been identified, all employees should be properly briefed on their responsibilities and targets for the day, as well as informed of any further information of relevance, such as special dishes or large bookings. This structured approach to shift planning will provide real returns in terms of employee focus and efficiency.

Sites should be fully set up and ready to receive customers prior to service

Effective Set-up

This should be obvious, but we still sometimes encounter managers who schedule staff to start their shifts when the doors open for the day. Not only does this mean early customers are likely to receive poor service, it can also put team members on the back foot for the rest of the shift as they juggle serving customers with completing the jobs that should have been finished before the site even opened, such as preparing outside areas and setting up the bar for service. The tasks that should be performed prior to opening will vary seasonally and by site, but rotas should always be written to allow employees to always complete them in time.

The Best Shift Leadership

Promoting efficiency across all employees requires effective shift leadership. People in shift leader roles, be they general or assistant managers, or simply more experienced employees, should be encouraged to be hands-on where required, but avoid becoming overly tied to a specific role. Think of a shift leader as the conductor of an orchestra, rather than the player of any one instrument. This will allow them to retain the big picture perspective needed to pre-empt issues and delegate tasks to others, driving efficiency throughout the team.

Site Layout

Many hospitality businesses, particularly in the pub sector, are constrained by limited space and otherwise challenging environments, but most can still make improvements to boost employee efficiency. A short journey made many times equates to a long journey, so take some time to consider the layout of your site in terms of the locations of waiter stations, ice machines, extra menus, and similar. A simple re-organisation behind the bar or on the floor can have huge cumulative efficiency savings, and your staff will thank you too!


A core principle of our business is helping managers deploy the right number of people in the right areas of their business at the right time. Getting this right is fundamental to efficient service. Team members, both front of house and in the kitchen, will be able to work briskly but comfortably to provide great service, improving their satisfaction and motivation and giving your site a lively, pleasantly busting atmosphere.

Through analysing past data and forecasted sales, S4Labour is intuitive, user-friendly software designed to help the hospitality industry optimise staff deployment, reducing labour spend without ever compromising on service.

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