Managing Labor During The Crisis and Beyond

Conversation between Juan Martinez and Ignacio Goris, both Principals and Founders of Profitality Labor Guru, an Industrial Engineering Consulting Firm that specializes in multi-unit operations. The topic is how to adjust labor during the Corona virus crisis.

• Labor went from being a scare commodity to being abundant

• Delivering food to clients has changed significantly.

o How it it received How it is packaged

How it is delivered to the guests Questions about the topic:

1. What are concepts doing to weather the crisis?

a. Most concepts are adapting. They are re-thinking their labor model to have the right amount of labor during these new operating conditions

2. What steps do concepts need to think about as they adjust labor targets

a. Understand the baseline – ideally there is an Activity Based Systems in place that can be adjusted.

b. That means that we need to modify the model to work under the new operating condition. This will be different for every concept. So for example

i. Are there activities that don’t happen any more, like Dining rooms, patios

ii. Are there activities that don’t happen as frequently Restrooms, doors

iii. Are orders coming in in a different way? From Live ordering to app/loyalty iv. Are we delivering orders in a different way Is packing more difficult, do we take more steps to deliver orders v. Do we need all the positions that we used to have 1. If there is no dining room we wont have servers or hosts in full service 2. If we are operating drive thru only we don’t need to open the front counter and/ or the production line for the front counter c. The last area refers to other activities or factors affected indirectly

i. Dish washing /trash will happen less

ii. Might be easier to create a schedule if peak are not as high

3. What is the silver lining – what can we learn about all this

a. This will help concepts optimize how they handle off-premise orders. Leading concept have started this journey prior to COVID-19. When online or third party delivery orders are done right they could be easier (more productive) than traditional orders.

b. Also for concepts that don’t have a solid guide or matrix it is important to establish a target that we can keep adjusting as conditions continue to change

4. What happens next as regulations (self or governmental imposed) are applied and continue to change and evolve? We adjust the targets/guides for the current operating parameters a. It is important to rethink and adjust the labor models constantly. The crisis created an avalanche of changes all at once. As we return the new normalcy, we will need to continue to monitor and adapt (as a concept mentioned) the changes and implement continuous improvement techniques to ensure our labor is always what it should be. The right labor in the right place at the right time will be harder than ever because it will be a moving target: the amount of labor needed, where we need it and when we need it has changed, and will continue to evolve for months to come

We hope that this video has provided you some insights that will help you more efficiently run your business in the area of labor management. If you want an article that Ignacio wrote recently on this topic, reach out our way to Thank you for taking the time to listen to our discussion. Hopefully it will help your concept navigate through this difficult times. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out at

You can also get access to 2 other videos in YouTube that we developed on the topics of drive-thru and off-premise optimization. More sales, better labor management, higher profits. You can register to get access to these and other future ones that we will develop.

Let’s all go out and evolve optimally our business, by optimally managing the labor resource in order to drive better customer service, while protecting profitability. The insights contained in these videos are aimed at helping foodservice concepts evolve out of the current crisis faster, by following a “continuous improvement” business transformational philosophy.


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