How will Restaurants Survive the Current Staffing Challenges Brought on by COVID?
Sadly enough, not all restaurants will survive. The issues created when restaurants are short-staffed go beyond the obvious of providing service to your customers.
How you respond to these issues will most likely determine your ability to survive. Unfortunately, the staffing shortages in the restaurant industry are not going to change anytime soon.
While some restaurant owners are thriving during the pandemic, experiencing record sales thanks to online ordering and delivery, these exceptions are few and far in between. The majority of restaurant owners are finding themselves short-staffed. Short-staffed however does not always equate to low sales. These restaurants are thriving and do not have the operations to keep up with orders. They attribute their success to providing flexibility in work schedules, making time-off a priority for all employees and making sure not to burn out their staff. If they need to, they will close for a day to ensure that staff have time to re-energize. Restaurants have also cut back hours during historically slow times to provide time off for key employees. There is a genuine concern for the health and quality of life of their employees.
When your restaurant gets to the point of being dangerously understaffed, it becomes a very hard task to keep up with. If you have not already done so, it may be beneficial to reduce your business’s hours. Your customers will be eager to return on a day that you are open if you are providing good products backed with good service. They however may not come back if they have a terrible experience due to being short-staffed or staff who are overworked. There are several solutions that will reduce the workload and improve the efficiency of your current staff. Implementing new technology can reduce the amount of labor needed to service your customers. This is key to a successful restaurant, not only during these difficult times, but always.
Staying up to date with the latest restaurant technology is extremely important. One of the more popular restaurant technology trends as a result of the pandemic has become At Table Ordering. At Table Ordering allows your customers to sit down at a table and place an order without a server present. Along with At Table Ordering, implementing mobile payment capabilities may be in your best interest. Mobile Payments allow your customers to pay via scanning a QR code on the bottom of their checks. Another way restaurants have adapted is through the implementation of online ordering. You may notice that the restaurants that have survived the pandemic have implemented a seamless online ordering process. Integrating your online ordering with your point of sale system is a must. When your online ordering is integrated to your POS, any online order will automatically create a guest check-in your system and send the order to your kitchen. Efficiency is key. By eliminating the timely process of someone answering the phone, entering the order and then taking the payment, your employees can dedicate more time to in-person customers. Third-party delivery services such as Uber Eats and Door Dash can also be integrated into your point of sale system to eliminate manually inputting them into the POS. Lastly, to provide the best carryout and delivery service consider adding texting capabilities to communicate with your customer when their order is ready.
Implementing these strategies and services is a great first step to increasing sales and reducing the number of employees needed to get those sales.