Ongoing labor shortages have been widespread, affecting many industries, but they are particularly prominent in restaurants. Despite projections that the workforce in the restaurant industry is estimated to grow by 500,000 jobs by the end of this year, 32% of restaurants say they are facing moderate to extreme restaurant labor shortage challenges.
As a business owner, employees are often your greatest asset, and having a thriving workforce is foundational to helping you grow your business. Due to hiring difficulties, rising inflation, and other considerations, many restaurant owners need to alter their days of operation and turn to technology to help them navigate these industry challenges.
What is causing the restaurant labor shortage?
The reasons people are leaving the restaurant industry are diverse, including restaurants reducing the days and hours they are open, employees who have migrated to different industries, and a high turnover rate leading to overworked staff. The National Restaurant Association has found that 48% of restaurants have trimmed hours on days when they are open, and 32% are now closing on days they were formerly open.
Discover the following strategies business leaders can implement to help them decrease friction points and improve the overall dining experience.
How to Overcome the Restaurant Labor Shortage
Invest in Technology
Are your employees wasting time on monotonous tasks? Improving productivity and eliminating unnecessary work can be crucial for businesses looking to leverage resources and bring costs down.
Restaurants can use technology to mitigate many time-consuming administrative tasks that may cause restaurant staff to feel overworked and undervalued, ultimately helping the restaurant labor shortage.
Business owners may implement technology in a variety of areas, including:
- Online reservation services – can reduce the need for hosts when a restaurant is understaffed and offer added convenience for guests.
- Tabletop technology – including QR codes for digital ordering can eliminate order inaccuracy and reduce the amount of time customers spend waiting to order. These platforms are used for takeout orders and implemented in the dining room to free up servers to focus on guest engagement. QR codes or handheld POS devices at the tabletop help to speed checkout.
- Automated inventory systems – adding this technology can free up staff from performing menial tasks and help reduce food waste.
Technology can be an excellent solution for restaurants looking to improve their customer experience. Restaurants can start by evaluating their existing processes, workflows, and communication methods to look for areas where investing in technology would make the largest improvements.
The right technology can help ensure restaurant staff focus on creating a positive dining experience for guests and building relationships to drive loyalty and appreciation.
Highlight Your Restaurant’s Benefits
Companies that can clearly express their benefits and rewards often have a significant advantage in attracting, hiring, and retaining employees.
According to the National Restaurant Association, 87% of restaurant operators will look to boost staffing levels in 2023. Despite many restaurant owners hiring at above-average wages, open positions have remained high in many areas.
In addition to offering competitive wages, there are several other employee benefits restaurants can offer, such as:
- Company Culture: When hiring, employees want to know what their future company stands for and how individuals within an organization interact and work with each other. Your restaurant’s culture should emphasize values such as accountability, cooperation, and respect and should feel like a friendly and fun workplace.
- Opportunity: Employees often seek professional and personal growth opportunities through their employer. Restaurants may offer employees options for additional training, education, mentoring, or career guidance.
- Work Environment: Schedules can be a pain point for many employees, particularly changing schedules. Companies should have a reliable scheduling platform and process. Additionally, restaurant operators may look for ways to offer flexibility, such as investing in apps that allow workers to more efficiently and transparently trade shifts. Any flexibility offered to restaurant workers can go a long way in fostering a positive work environment.
- Employee Rewards: While a simple ‘good job’ goes a long way, employee perks also increase loyalty and morale. Employee rewards may include a thank you note, team shoutout, gift card, time off, promotion, or bonus. Employees who feel valued are more motivated to continue performing well.
The challenges restaurants face will continue to evolve, but if restaurant operators are flexible and implement new tools and strategies, they can be better equipped to adapt and grow their business.
You can count on your Safeguard Advisor to learn about your unique goals and help you with personalized solutions that fit your business. Contact us today to get started.
- 32% of restaurants say they are facing moderate to extreme restaurant labor shortage challenges.
- Restaurant operators can use technology to help mitigate the restaurant labor shortage.
- According to the National Restaurant Association, 87% of restaurant operators will look to boost staffing levels in 2023.
- Restaurant operators willing to implement new tools and strategies can be better equipped to adapt and grow their businesses.
- Your Safeguard Advisor can help you with personalized solutions that fit your business.