How Can a Restaurant Deal with Staff Shortage issues?

Staff shortage has always been the most critical issues in the restaurant industry. The situation has only gotten worse after the pandemic. Nearly 5.9 million people in the restaurant industry lost their jobs within six weeks at the start of the pandemic and not many are interested in coming back to their previous jobs due to the industry’s unstable nature. Currently, restaurant owners are finding it difficult to fill open positions, as well as dealing with high turnover rate. So how can they and how should they deal with this?

Of course, the first solution that one would naturally think of is paying higher wages. However, there are quite a few other solutions that would practically help those businesses who don’t want to strain their budgets.

Consider the following tips for handling a labor shortage at your Restaurant:

  1. Limit/Rotate Your Menu: It goes without saying that the more items you have on your menu, the more staff you require to prepare and cook. Thus, offering a crisp menu would definitely help work things out with low staff count. Use Restolabs’ In-depth analytics to find out which items work for you and which don’t. Keep only those that have high sales and discard the ones that require you to hire specialist and have lengthy preparations. You can even try keeping a fixed menu for lunch and dinner so the entire process can be automated at the kitchen level.
  1. Cut down on your working Hours: If coffee is not on your menu or isn’t much in demand, you can skip the breakfast time and open late. Similarly, you can open only for a few hours for lunch and dinner respectively to save time and cost. Analyze the sales pattern of your business to find out the busier hours and days. Restolabs Order Throttle feature allows you to set predefined parameters for the system to go offline and stop taking orders for a certain duration. Once the duration passes, the system automatically starts accepting orders.
  1. Make sure your staff is cross-trained: When you are operating with a limited number of team members, it is only natural to cross-train them in order to get them out of their comfort zone and perform multiple functions. There are no specific rules governing how your front-desk staff and back-of-house should be handled by different people. Cross training your staff to carry out every small tasks like handling the reception, taking orders, operating the dishwasher, handling waiting and so on would lead to less chaos and easy operations. You will eventually accomplish a lot more when your staff gets accustomed to this kind of teamwork.
  1. Consider Automating Your Restaurant: Automation of restaurant operations through restaurant technology streamlines processes and saves time and money. Furthermore, customer satisfaction is continuously improved through automation of restaurant technology, which adapts to the changing needs of the restaurant industry.

Automation in Restaurant involves those processes which basically help minimize manual labor. It helps your staff work more efficiently. When you are facing a staffing issue, automated processes can help relax your most crucial resource i.e. your staff.

The following are some of the restaurant automation solutions that a well-crafted system like Restolabs offer which can help simplify processes and enable your staff to focus on offering better guest experience:

  • Online Ordering - Online ordering will enable customers to directly place their order at your Restaurant, thus also eliminating any requirement of third-party service providers. In addition, this will free up your staff's time, since they can get to work right away. No more need of lengthy phone calls.
  • Easy Handling of Busy Hours – In case you are experiencing an unexpected rush at the Restaurant, you can set a time duration for which the Restaurant would be unable to take online orders. This would help your staff concentrate only on in-house dining.
  • QR Code Ordering – QR Code Ordering would enable your customers to order safely and quickly by just scanning the code. They can then place orders directly from their devices. Thus, this would free up your staff from taking each order manually.
  • Inventory Management – It goes without saying that managing your inventory with the help of software would be more efficient, accurate and time-saving. This will help your staff to concentrate on other critical activities and have ease of management.
  • Hybrid POS Systems – Restolabs provides easy and quick integrations with all the major POS Platforms. Thus you wouldn’t have to even manage multiple softwares in order to handle the ordering operations. Your customers wouldn’t have to wait for a server to take their order. This also saves time and effort for your staff, plus leading to an increase in guest satisfaction.
  1. Remove Time-Wasting Processes: One rarely recognizes time-wasting processes that you are indulging in. However, talk to your staff and identify those processes. Since it is them who are performing these processes, they would have better ideas about what can be optimally done to eliminate these processes and make overall operations more efficient.

Few questions to ask here are: Why do we do things in this certain way? What else can be done here? Do we really need these processes? Can we update ourselves?

The answers you will get might make you consider making changes. Take a closer look at how you operate and eliminate the outdated, time-consuming processes. This will help your staff concentrate on important tasks.

Ending Note

There is a major shift in the post-covid era in terms of expectations from both employer and employee side. The staffing situation needs much-needed attention but the above-mentioned tips can help you overcome it. Once you adapt to the situation and the technological advancements, you would experience a positive change and notice that things have turned around to your advantage.