How To Survive The Staffing Shortage In The Restaurant Industry

The restaurant business is challenging at the best of times, and the past two years certainly haven't been the best. Staffing shortages are the most prevalent issue facing restauranteurs across the country, and without pre-pandemic staffing levels, many restaurants find it difficult to properly accommodate diners who are clamoring to eat out again. We're looking at ways that restaurants can survive the staffing shortage and even thrive, post-pandemic.

Delivery Services are Also Suffering

Many restaurants have opted to add delivery services and ghost kitchens, either using their own staff and taking orders through their website, or working with third-party delivery services like Door Dash, Uber Eats, and Grub Hub. However, even these services are suffering from a lack of delivery drivers. Dominos pizza chain is uniquely tackling this shortage, testing robot delivery services as part of an upgrade to its restaurant tech.

It's not just a lack of delivery drivers that can impact a restaurant's ability to adequately deliver a great take-out experience. With full dining rooms and the demand for home delivery, kitchens are under a lot of pressure to execute meals for more diners than the restaurant was built to handle. Delays in cook times directly affect a restaurant's bottom line, both in terms of customer service and the restaurant's ability to turn tables. Order management upgrades can help, allowing kitchens to handle the increased volume while still delivering products in a timely fashion.

Using Restaurant Tech To Handle More Tasks

Some larger restaurant groups, such as Darden Restaurants, the owners of popular chains Olve Garden and Red Lobster, among others, have started incorporating tech into the dining experience with interactive kiosks at each table, allowing diners to order drink refills, appetizers, and desserts, and pay their tabs, communicating remotely with their server. Advances like this, which are linked into the restaurant POS (point of sale) system allow restaurants to operate with fewer servers, as some of their duties are more automated.

Raising Wages and Offering Better Benefits

Many restaurant workers rely on tips to make a living, or, for those at an hourly rate, wages generally just above minimum wage. Lack of pay or unstable income is a large factor in the staffing shortage. In addition, a large number of restaurants don't offer benefits for workers, such as paid time off and medical coverage. For the ones that do, eligibility has historically been spotty.

However, when restaurants raise their base pay to a living wage, $15 per hour, it becomes much easier to fill open positions without raising prices, or just marginal price increases. With higher wages may come better morale from workers and more engagement with their jobs. Full-service restaurants may be moving away from a tipped system and instead of paying servers a higher hourly rate and covering the costs by adding a 20% surcharge to all checks. With this extra fee comes more flexibility for restaurant owners to offer benefits and perks, in addition to the living wage.

Using Social Media To Boost Hiring

Many companies have long recognized the benefits of having a strong social media presence, building their brand, and engaging with customers who, more and more, use social media to communicate, rather than traditional means, like emails and phone calls. restaurants, too, are embracing social media with links to their online application and engaging potential workers on platforms that they visit most.

This, in addition to hiring bonuses and referral bonuses, can help increase the hiring pool for every kind of restaurant from fast food to fine dining.

Utilizing Restaurant SaaS Technology

SaaS (Software as a Service) technology can help reduce restaurant overhead costs while giving them the benefits of leading-edge sales software. This is a leased service that combines order management, payroll and scheduling, and online order taking, all in one system. With leased software, restaurants can avoid costly upgrades to purchased POS systems when technology increases, plus have the software customized for their needs.

Plus, SaaS allows owners and managers remote access, giving them details of operations in real-time, as well as making it easier for tech support to troubleshoot if the system goes down. No more after-hours service calls right in the middle of the dinner rush!

Conclusion

Staffing shortages don't have to be the end of restaurants. Being creative about executing serve, raising wages for a more stable workforce, and employing the right technology can help streamline service and boost profits.

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