The industry is not a stranger to labor difficulties. Restaurants tend to have employee retention challenges as well, with an overwhelming 72.5% of employees leaving jobs in food service or hospitality in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Coupled with the fact that by 2020, roughly 50% of the workforce will consist of a population that is far more tech-oriented than their predecessors. Restaurants must embrace technology to engage and keep this workforce. More than that, restaurants must find modern ways to keep their staff interested and motivated.
Restaurants, from quick service to fine dining, are deploying modern technology to ease the strain of finding good workers and encouraging them to stay longer. Technology is also the solution for retention challenges, coming partially from trying to reduce the number of employees needed. One way is getting customers to order more often from their phones, tablets, and computers. Having mobile ordering apps or in-store kiosks that customers can use helps reduce the number of staff needed to take orders at a counter. Then the labor is transitioned to other areas where it is needed more.
Another solution is using point-of-sale analytics to track server performance and collect data like check averages, table turn times, item sales, and other business or employee KPIs. Managers can then acknowledge employees for their outstanding performances and identify those who may need additional training. Monitoring staff progress not only helps the bottom line in the long run but also aids in determining who should be promoted and who might be in danger of leaving.
In a competitive restaurant landscape, finding and retaining staff is vital to delivering on brand promise. The labor market is thin, and wages continue to rise, placing restaurants in a challenging position. Restaurants are meeting the challenge of keeping employees happy and more productive in a number of creative ways using modern technologies.