Hospitality staff have turned to gold dust since reopening, with the BBC reporting that there is currently a shortfall of 188,000 workers across the UK.
In some places, the shortage is so acute that restaurants are having to cut their lunch service, or offer a much more limited menu than they would like.
Compounded by Brexit and Covid, it’s not a problem that’s going away any time soon. So it pays to hang onto the staff you have – and make the most of every minute they are at work.
This is where technology can provide a surprising amount of help. An epos system for restaurants is an invaluable aid when it comes to labour management.
So why not explore these 6 great ways to use technology to make the most of your labour:
- Tableside ordering and payment
- Integration with kitchen automation
- Efficient guest management
- Identifying busy periods so you can match labour to requirement
- Freeing up time for training and customer engagement
- Creating a good working environment where staff retention and recruitment is easier.
Tableside ordering and payment
This is a real win-win. Not only does it create a seamless and efficient customer experience, it also saves huge amounts of time for your serving staff.
By deploying an epos system for restaurants you can provide your waiters with tablets or handheld devices so they can take orders at tableside without scribbling on bits of paper. They’ll also get prompts for upselling, and allergen information if required.
Self-service ordering is also growing in acceptance and popularity, and once again saves on staff time, leaving them more time to engage with the diners.
When it’s time to leave, tableside payment is a convenient and swift service to offer guests, freeing up the table quickly.
Integration with kitchen automation
One of the great benefits of tableside ordering is that the order goes straight to the kitchen without staff having to run back and forth.
It eliminates human error in the ordering process, so less food is returned, and a good epos system for restaurants can integrate with kitchen automation, separating the meal to be prepared at different stations with time adjusted so the dish comes together perfectly on time.
It all adds up to speedy and accurate meal delivery – and happy customers.
Efficient guest management
An important feature of an epos system for restaurants is a graphical seating plan, so front of house staff can easily identify available seating and plan its most efficient use.
This helps increase table turn, but if there is going to be a wait, your staff can manage the expectations of the guests and reduce walk-outs.
Identifying busy periods so you can match labour to requirement
This is crucial – but it’s surprising to discover that many restaurateurs are still relying on instinct and guesswork. Nothing wrong with instinct, of course, but it’s better to have forecasts that rely on data than depending on arbitrary estimates.
An epos system for restaurants compiles comprehensive reports on your ebb and flow of trade, enabling a far greater degree of accuracy when it comes to working out your rota.
Freeing up time for training and customer engagement
It makes perfect sense to invest in developing your people, particularly in a world where staff are hard to come by and you don’t want talent walking out of the door to a more attractive job.
By taking away some of the tedious manual labour of restaurant work – such as dashing to the kitchen or the till every few minutes – valuable time can be freed up for training sessions that enrich your employees’ experience and make them better at what they do.
They also have more time to engage with customers and build relationships with loyal diners. It’s one of the things customers often cite when describing why they choose to return to an outlet again and again.
Creating a good working environment where staff retention and recruitment is easier
Historically, this is something that has been undervalued in the industry – but that’s all changed now.
With establishments competing for staff and even poaching them away, the restaurants and bars who hang onto their valuable employees are the ones renowned as a great place to work.
Yes, the money is important. But if you can make good use all the tools at your disposal, including an epos system for restaurants, to manage your staff well and provide a rewarding environment, you’re already on the road to success.
UKHospitality recently unveiled a 12-point plan of measures to tackle the staffing crisis across the sector, and is pressing the government to act. In the meantime, the industry – as always – is using its innovative and creative skills to deal with the situation and make the best recovery possible.
A huge part of taking that growth forward will be persuading potential workers into the business. Using technology to support successful restaurants providing rewarding jobs is the best way to persuade them to choose hospitality as their career path.