3 Restaurant Technologies to Alleviate the Labor Shortage

Excellent customer service and food are the keys to a restaurant’s success. Each requires skilled staff in the front and back of the house. However, finding qualified and talented staff has become challenging for the restaurant sector.

As many as 65% of restaurateurs agreed that they don’t have enough staff to meet the existing customer demands.

A 2022 CNBC article reported that restaurants are short-staffed, which is taking a big toll on customer service. National full-service chains like Darden Restaurants, Applebee’s, and Olive Garden noticed a drop in customer satisfaction scores due to labor shortage.

What has caused the shortage of labor in the restaurant industry? Low wages are cited as the primary reason behind the staffing shortage in restaurants.

However, the good news is that technology can help alleviate the labor shortage in the restaurant industry. In this guide, we’ll let out a few technologies that can automate several processes, eliminating the need for humans.

How Labor Shortage Can Affect Your Restaurant

Labor shortage affects restaurants in numerous ways, and we’ve discussed a few in this section:

  1. Reduced Open Hours

Short-staffed restaurants are cutting hours to get by with their existing workforce. IHOP, an American multinational pancake house restaurant chain, provides service 24/7. But in 2022, it shortened its work hours in almost a quarter of its restaurants due to a shortage of overnight shift workers, reveals Reuters.

Restaurants with fewer chefs, cashiers, and wait staff cannot overtax their existing workforce. Ultimately, they have to reduce their open hours.

  1. Longer Wait Times

Fewer front-of-house staff can result in longer wait times, which breaks the customer experience. Conversely, fewer staff members in the back of the house prolongs meal prep times and slows down table turns. The total fulfillment capacity of orders is also limited due to back-of-house staff shortage.

  1. Smaller Profits

Short-staffed restaurants aren’t as efficient as those with large workforces. Eventually, longer wait times mean slow service. Due to slow service, your guests will order less than they would otherwise.

Small and fewer checks mean your business isn’t earning much revenue, which might make it difficult for you to survive in the market.

3 Restaurant Technologies Addressing the Labor Shortage

In recent years, we’ve witnessed restaurateurs pull out all the stops to attract staff to their restaurants. Many businesses are offering gifts and signing bonuses to make their restaurant an attractive place for chefs, servers, and cashiers.

But are these helping them address labor shortages? While fine dining restaurants are attracting talent, casual dining restaurants are struggling. Why? Because the former offers more attractive compensation than the latter.

Fortunately, technology can help address the labor shortage for both fine and casual dining restaurants. Here, we’ll share a few technologies that are helping restaurants mitigate the labor shortage:

  1. Inventory Management System

Keeping track of stocks is vital to run your restaurant smoothly and efficiently. Many restaurants, despite running low on staff, manage inventories manually. Doing so overtaxes staff, which leads to errors, affecting your profitability.

Restaurant management tools like inventory management systems are game-changers for restaurants dealing with labor shortages. That’s because they automate all things related to managing inventories, from keeping track of stocks to monitoring ingredient levels.

A robust inventory management system also prevents the issue of overstocking or shortages by predicting demand and maintaining optimal stock levels. This minimizes the need for human intervention, letting existing employees focus on core responsibilities.

CheddrSuite notes that restaurant inventory management software also includes features to track the costs of ingredients and profitability. Investing in such solutions will be beneficial, as they provide accurate cost analysis for the entire menu and individual dishes.

Many inventory systems allow for remote monitoring of stocks. That way, managers can oversee inventory levels and operations from anywhere in the world. This remote access and control is especially helpful during a labor shortage, as it ensures continuous management even when they aren’t physically present.

  1. Self-Service Kiosks

Self-service kiosks have been around for years but have soared in popularity recently. Many restaurants have turned to self-service kiosks because they reduce reliance on staff and speed up customer service.

As kiosk systems can take orders accurately and efficiently, you can use them to take orders in your restaurant. Customers can also customize their orders by making modifications and selecting specific options. This way, you can offer a more personalized experience to your customers without any human help.

Implementing a self-service kiosk will eliminate the need for a cashier in your restaurant. As such, your staff can focus on things like food preparation to deliver orders quickly and accurately.

  1. Robots

In its recent article, Fortune reveals that restaurants are turning to robots because they cannot hire enough servers due to a labor shortage.

Robots lend a helping hand to restaurant staff, as they can ferry plates and food back and forth to guests. More specialized robots can also help chefs in the kitchen. Tasks like flipping burgers and running a deep fryer are time-based and highly repetitive. More specialized robots can automate these tasks. You can also automate cleaning processes by using robotics.

All in all, adopting robots in your restaurant will eliminate the need for human workers for mundane tasks.

Wrapping Up

Implementing technology is the only way to navigate the worst of the labor crisis in the restaurant industry.

Note that this list isn’t a comprehensive one. Kitchen display systems, line-busting, and tableside tablets are other noteworthy technologies that are helping restaurants survive the restaurant industry labor shortage.

Not only short-staffed restaurants, but these technologies must be adopted by all restaurants to future-proof themselves. That’s because these techs will become standard in the quick-service industry someday.