Retaining restaurant and food services workers – Putting technology in the right hands

restaurant worker serves fast food meal

May 10, 2022

Restaurant workers have stepped up in recent times as service work in the industry has come to be recognized as significant and essential. But recent times have been a challenge. As of last year, and according to National Restaurant Association stats mentioned in this article by Restaurant Dive, by the end of 2021 the industry was one million jobs short from reaching pre-pandemic levels and with 2.8 fewer staff members in sit-down restaurants when compared to 2019. Other labor shortfalls across a spectrum of concepts have followed similar trend lines due to several factors, including worker illness and burnout.

This is a complicated set of issues without a silver bullet to address the whole problem. Yet, this situation helps to provide a basis to discuss how restaurant technology can ease the burden on workers and help to retain their talent. It indicates how investment in new solutions to empower workers is a valuable objective – not just for them, but for the whole industry – by putting the tools they need in place to help them do their best work.

Enabling restaurant workers to be even better at what they do

People want to be good at their jobs. They want to meet their objectives and get a sense of accomplishment from what they’re doing. To do that, they need the right tools. An investment in advanced restaurant POS that provides a dynamic nexus for operations allows workers in every station along the line – order taking, prep, fulfillment – to concentrate on their own efficiencies. In so doing, they’re less likely to worry about missing or incorrect information along the way.

Retaining restaurant worker talent and reinforcing the value of their labor means putting the right technology in place to ease their burden to meet expectations. Investment in integrated platforms that connect the dots for workers promotes greater confidence, better work, fewer losses, and ultimately better returns for the location and the brand. Success in meeting these important objectives is about making sure that efficient work, and the person doing that work, is supported. When people are supported, they are more likely to continue doing what they’re doing.

Reinforcement not replacement

Streamlining costs is a fundamental objective in any industry, particularly for restaurants and food services that have famously narrow margins. Advanced restaurant point of sale systems help to do that by making processes more intuitive and efficient by automating some of the steps to order placement resulting in fewer errors and fewer losses. But implementing solutions and automating processes is not about replacing specialized and skilled work. It’s about enhancing it.

Guest-directed and low-contact ways to place orders via QR code menu access or kiosks means that keeping track of the nuances of customized orders is easier. With that in place, teams can concentrate on quicker fulfillment. The automated, guest-driven technology integrated with restaurant POS manages order accuracy while the worker manages greater throughput. This often equals higher average order sizes and less waste. In the end, everyone is happier. Guests get exactly what they ordered. The worker feels great about playing a part in making that happen without the stress of managing the whole process from end to end for every order.

Women mobile phones restaurant POS QR code scan

Striking a balance between human talent and technology

The restaurants and food services industry is based on the essentials of human connection. Food and drink are important aspects of culture, which is why the industry exists. Restaurants are often where communities come together, even in times of disruption and perhaps especially then. When guests visit locations, restaurant staff provide an environment for that human connection, even if technology has created ways to diversify how guests can get what they want while they enjoy that environment.

Recent times have proven how important this is – that restaurants are not just sources of goods and services. They provide a sense of familiarity and comfort, too. So, another part that advanced restaurant technology plays is in the enhancement of that, making sure that functionality is always oriented to human fulfillment. That includes skilled workers who are the face of the guest experience. An investment in the right technology is an investment in valuable employees and their specialized talents. It’s not a stretch to see how all that is also an investment in the future of the industry itself.

The path to greater resilience in the restaurants and food service industry

The importance of adaptation has been a key takeaway in the last two years. When planning technology roadmaps to serve an unfolding vision to where an organization must go, resilience is a vital principle. So is establishing the right partnerships with experts who understand the challenges that the industry faces.

Learn about how Infor approaches industry-specific technology and partnerships on our restaurant and managed food services industry page – right here.

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