Closed diners.

Reduced business hours.

Abundance of ‘Now Hiring’ signs.

The American economy is amid a labor shortage in the restaurant business.

According to the National Restaurant Association, 78% of restaurant owners in the USA don’t have enough employees to support the ongoing customer demand. New York has the most significant deficits as opposed to pre-pandemic restaurant staffing levels.

If that wasn’t shocking enough, in November 2021, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs — and 1 million of them are restaurant and hotel workers.

While 85% of restaurant owners said, it was “very difficult” to find staff. Only 3% said they weren’t struggling to hire. The problem continues with multiple independent eateries as well, which are struggling to operate due to the restaurant industry labor shortage.

What are the reasons for rampant resignations in the restaurant industry?

The Great Resignation is really the Great Discontent,” as cited by Gallup.

Tad Long, who managed several Mod Pizza locations in the Midwest, spent most of his summer working about 90-hour weeks. He would open at one restaurant, close at another, and personally step in, filling the shoes of personnel at various levels due to staffing challenges across the hospitality industry. In an interview, he quipped, “The frontline service workers just really don’t get much love from customers, and everybody’s kind of stressed out.”

With this statement, perhaps he highlighted the most significant reason that fueled a record number of quits in the hospitality industry, with 892,000 workers walking away from their jobs in August.

While Long’s statement may talk about the primary reason for high turnover rates for restaurant employees, here’s a gist of why they are quitting in droves:

  1. Unclear and unmet job expectations
  2. Bad fit
  3. Lack of flexibility
  4. Huge disconnect with managers
  5. Toxic/unhealthy work environment
  6. Inefficient communication
  7. Lack of recognition
  8. Minimal growth opportunities

How are restaurant owners keeping businesses afloat?

Is hiking the wages the only way out to bring in the staff? Perhaps not.

Although restaurant chains like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Chipotle have hiked wages and offered to hire bonuses alongside education benefits, the smaller businesses are finding it challenging to afford staff.

The magic is spun by tech.

Technology, especially automation in the restaurant industry, reduces turnover, streamlines training, and enhances employee satisfaction. Overall, it releases the stressors on the current staff and makes open roles more alluring.

Tech also plays a significant role in improving the employee culture – for the better. For example, restaurant employees freed from repetitive work can thrive in more creative roles, experiment, think out of the box, and lead to a preferable retention number.

Here are more reasons how automation saves restaurants from a big soup:

Tapping all information in one place

In an industry plagued by a severe labor shortage, one of the meaningful ways to go forward is to rely on tech. Tapping into data and using a cloud-based or integrated tech stack can work marvels, especially when it comes to cutting down on food costs and controlling the scheduling.

An integrated, simplified software interface can help restaurant owners track multiple information include – employee hours, tips received, wages, and performance, in one unified place. It helps them make informed decisions about food purchasing and inventory and, therefore, streamline their waste management process.

It ultimately boils down to spending money to save money.

Errors no more

The Picnic Pizza Station can make 100 pizzas per hour. And how many workers does it take to operate the machine? Just one. Did it compromise on the pizza quality, consistency, and speed? No. Simply because automation helps eliminate consistency errors and communication errors and eliminates wasteful process shortcuts during rush hours.

This ushers good news for restaurants that cannot raise their pay range. Eventually, they will have no other choice but to do with automation to recover from staff shortages and improve efficiencies while lowering costs.

Customer-facing tech to the rescue

For guests, accuracy, and efficiency matter the most. Technology, including PoS systems, kitchen display screens, etc., enhances the guest experience at eateries and restaurants. It also lessens the workload on the staff. Tablets on tables, for instance, allow them to move at their own pace and sign up for various loyalty programs. It can also contain more detailed insights on ingredients across the menu items, which drastically cuts down their time to order and get the food on the table.

The entire digitization of the ordering process makes a world of difference by cutting down the waiting times and enhancing the overall accuracy. It also allows restaurants to collect valuable data, including item popularity and detailed preferences, allowing them to serve guests better.

Regarding the staffing issue, providing easy checkouts with mobile point of sales (mPOS) helps lessen the load, especially during peak-time ordering. In addition, this enables them to manage transactions in the most versatile manner.

Technology is one of the best ways to assist with labor shortages across the F&B industry. However, it is not the only way to mitigate issues that are looming large. Holistic solutions are crucial here, considering every aspect and every challenge that restaurant staff has pointed out over the past couple of years. This will lead to a win-win situation for the industry, the staff, and the guests.

Address the labor shortage gap in your industry with modern, sustainable solutions. Challenge our UX UI design agency with your problems. Let’s redefine your business with digital innovation.

 

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Author

Akshay is the Lead UX Designer at Pepper Square and he has defined the user experience for some of the finest global brands over the last four years.

Akshay is the Lead UX Designer at Pepper Square and he has defined the user experience for some of the finest global brands over the last four years.

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