Five ways tech can help you to solve the restaurant talent crisis

With labour shortages hitting the hospitality sector, restaurants are looking for new ways to develop fresh talent within their teams. Here are five ways that tech can help.

As well as battling with rising food prices, many restaurants are still struggling with labour shortages.

Take the UK, for instance, where UK Hospitality describes the situation as a “crippling jobs crisis”. It reports 400,000 vacancies across the sector and a further 100,000 staff absences, meaning that day-to-day the industry is missing more than 20% of the workforce. 

Trying to attract top talent by raising wages continually is one tactic in the current climate, but this isn’t sustainable. A more realistic approach is to develop skills within your business and build a supportive culture, alongside any industry training courses.

Over time, you create a growing pool of talent in-house, with staff members feeling more valued and fulfilled. Here are five ways to help this happen using tech:

#1: Make new junior staff feel connected

Junior members of your team could become the stars of tomorrow, so it’s important to make them feel welcome, included and engaged at all times.

With Next-Gen restaurant tech, it can start from the moment they log in at work. Their personal home page opens up with their company news feed, work schedule, incentives programmes and notifications. They can also check their goals, current performance and rewards.

It’s essential that your tech feels completely intuitive to junior members of staff. It should naturally become the “go to” place for information — so they don’t feel lost — whether it’s details about checking allergens, today’s prep plan or table reservations.

#2: Transform tedious tasks

Across many industries, the nature of work itself is changing, thanks to digital transformation. This is happening inside the restaurant sector too.

The best tech introduces intuitive, light-touch processes across your business — where you can avoid paperwork completely. In just a swipe or a click, staff can record events as they happen, from the prep area to the grill, and the storeroom to the bar.

This means that countless manual and time-consuming tasks can be completed in moments — or handled automatically. For example:

  • Prep plans are generated by the system, based on accurate sales forecasts
  • Orders can be sent by waiting staff from the table to the kitchen in a click from a handset without queuing at the terminal to re-key all the details, plus payments processed all on one device
  • Inventory counts can be completed in minutes. The system knows what should be in each storeroom and simply prompts staff to check on a mobile phone or tablet

#3: Create greater front and back-of-house teamwork

Friction at work can be a reason why people quit, whether it’s grief about food delays, lost orders or customer complaints. Team members may feel they’ve been blamed unfairly for circumstances beyond their control.

The best systems can help resolve this because they are unified and work in real-time, covering the entire end-to-end operation. They support each process with accuracy, visibility, direction, monitoring and chasing, when needed.

For example, the system will display which menu items have to be cooked right away, which items belong to the same order and need to be served at the same time, cooking steps and progress, and which items are ready. If orders slip behind, the system escalates them to “”urgent” automatically. There’s no need for front-of-house teams to keep asking the kitchen. They can see progress on the screen.

Multiple processes can be supported in similar ways, ensuring that staff are in step with each other.

#4) Win back critical time for mentoring

When it comes to developing talent, this is probably the most significant benefit of Next-Gen restaurant tech. Put simply, head chefs and managers are no longer forever locked in a back room, sorting out paperwork; instead, they’re free to spend quality time on mentoring, training and encouraging junior team members.

With the latest tech, it’s possible for up to 80% of daily routines to be automated and self-driving.

This can cover everything from generating Profit & Loss reports at the click of a button, to creating sales forecasts and sending automated orders to suppliers. Even more complex tasks, such as supplier analysis or staff schedules, are hugely simplified with intuitive tools that make life easier for your top chefs and managers. Now they’ve got more time to focus on their teams.

5) Set targets, monitor performance and reward people

Staff need encouragement and a sense they’re making progress — with appropriate recognition and reward when they hit key milestones.

With the latest tech, you can see each employee’s attendance rates, satisfaction scores, how they’ve achieved against individual and team targets. You can then announce rewards and successes for team members on the company news page — which everyone sees when they log in.

This page is also the right place to advertise jobs across the company, so people are more likely to progress their careers internally, rather than looking to leave.

Creating the right culture

Offering a competitive salary is essential in such a competitive labour marketplace. But it’s possible to develop and retain staff by creating an environment where people want to work. The right tech can help you to create a culture that employees find attractive and encourages them to develop and thrive.