“The great British chef shortage – why eating out is under threat.” That Observer headline from earlier this year was sure to make diners sit up and take notice.
Restaurateurs, on the other hand, already knew all about it. Because as Brexit has got nearer, the UK’s hospitality workforce – estimated to be around 6m people – has been shrinking.
With the EU staff who make up a large proportion of our serving staff feeling less welcome than before, it’s been suggested by the British Hospitality Association that the industry could be facing a staff deficit of more than a million workers by 2029.
A natural follow-on to this skills and labour drain has been an increase in wages – adding to the rising cost woes of many restaurateurs.
The Government has promised skills training, but it’s slow in coming; so what are restaurant owners and managers to do?
Many are turning to restaurant POS to provide at least some of the answers to this catering crisis.
While restaurant POS can’t find you a great chef, it can help you make informed decisions on staffing levels
Most restaurateurs have a keen awareness of their busiest times, of course, but by capturing data, restaurant management systems take all the guesswork out of creating perfect rosters.
By delivering comprehensive reports in real time, the restaurant POS makes it easy to match the number of staff with customer demand, making sure excellent customer service is maintained while not wasting valuable labour.
The system also maximises the value of each member of staff. Because serving staff take orders on hand held devices including tablets and smartphones, they spend less time running back and forth to the kitchen, which reduces stress and tiredness.
It also means they can engage better with customers, and take advantage of upselling prompts offered by the restaurant POS.
In a further important innovation, servers using Aloha restaurant POS can also check food allergen advice – far quicker than having to go and ask chef or consult a paper list in the kitchen, and far better than risking a customer’s health.
With customers now demanding to be able to make reservations and orders via app, a restaurant management system enables this 24/7, once again saving staff time, and removing the burden of a tedious manual task.
Even managers get to use their time better – restaurant POS is available as a cloud-based option that means they can keep a check on operations online at any time.
This reduces travel time, and also removes the need to duplicate head office functions – another staffing benefit.
So as we head into 2019, we don’t know precisely what is going to happen with Brexit (or even loosely…)
But we do know that labour shortages in restaurants are more than likely to increase – a YouGov survey this summer found that 330,000 hospitality staff were considering leaving the UK.
Technology can’t supply all the answers, of course. But we believe restaurant POS can help restaurants make the most of who they have – and create a well-run working environment that’s nice for staff to be in.
Eating out under threat? Not on our watch…