What is standing in the way of your success? According to Toast’s 2018 Restaurant Success Report, 59% of restaurant operators say staffing is one of their top challenges, and 42% put high operating and food costs on that list. It can feel like there’s no way to combat how much labor costs are increasing without compromising service, quality or safety. That’s not true.
Here are four ways restaurants are using technology to help save on labor costs without cutting back.
1. Optimized Scheduling
One of the best ways to keep providing great service while managing labor costs is to take advantage of automatic and predictive scheduling tools. Many back-of-house software tools have scheduling components that will build an optimized schedule for you based on things like local events, historical sales data and weather patterns. Don’t guess when making schedules. You can avoid over or understaffing with tools that help you optimize your schedules.
2. Automate Where Possible
Few people actually want a robot serving food, but using tech like kiosks can be a thoughtful way to automate tasks where possible, while still maintaining the human touch in other areas. As Skift Table points out in their Restaurant Megatrends 2019 labor report, “The point isn’t to replace all…front-of-house employees, but rather hire and train a skilled hospitality team to focus on what can’t be replaced by a kiosk: supporting and guiding the customer experience to make repeat diners out of everyone who walks in the door.”
3. Streamline Tasks
A strong process for your inventory, operations, ordering and other back-office tasks goes a long way toward saving time. Work on creating well-defined processes and automating them in your restaurant management system saves your GMs 7-9 hours every week. You’ll increase retention and morale by giving managers a process that means they don’t have to stay late.
4. Better Training
Training isn’t a cure all to your labor problem, but it goes further than you think. Use short training videos, reminder texts and reference graphics to help your employees be more productive. With the rate of turnover in restaurants, you will perpetually have multiple employees on a learning curve. Instead of having to dedicate other people to watch and answer questions, you can empower them with information at their fingertips and get the most out of your staff.
While none of these alone will help you solve the labor issue, they are pieces of the puzzle that will help create long-term stability and success.