Facing Restaurant Staff Challenges – How Tech Can Help

Staff turnover is one of the biggest challenges facing the restaurant sector. If you look at the restaurant press, the problem of high staff turnover – both in terms of the kitchen and front of house – is a common theme.

When we speak to the restaurateurs the same message comes through loud and clear.

“We are much less profitable. Our profit margin used to be 20 per cent, now it is 10 per cent. Staff is a huge problem”

-Oli Khan, Owner, Spice Rouge, Stevenage, and vice-president of the Bangladeshi Caterers’ Association

At First Data, we’re committed to finding solutions to the problems faced by businesses in the UK and across the world. Restaurants are no different. So, how can technology help you tackle the challenges presented by high staff turnover?

Making front of house less stressful

The reality is that work for your front of house staff is likely to be stressful from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make life easier for those at the customer-facing end of the business.

Out of date technology can really hurt you here – systems that are slow can leave customers frustrated and that frustration will almost always be passed on to your front of house staff.

The inability to take a customer’s preferred payment method is another source of frustration that can be brought on by out-dated payment technology.

Your staff should be equipped with solutions that make their lives easier, rather than adding to the stress of their working environment. By giving them tools that work quickly and help them to meet customer expectations, you put them less in the firing line – which will lead to lower stress levels and therefore greater job satisfaction.

Hospitality employees are most likely to leave their jobs in search of a new challenge (75%) and a better work/life balance (70%)

-Hospitality Job Market Overview & Salary Survey 2016 by Antal International

Reducing kitchen communication issues

Communication is one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses across the UK. This can be particularly acute in the restaurant sector, where communication between the point of sale and the kitchen is so integral to success.

A failure in communication here can lead to the wrong food being prepared or dietary requirements not being taken into consideration – at the crux of it, miscommunication results in customers not getting what they asked for.

Once again, the result here is stress for your staff – not just your front of house staff, who will receive the understandable ire of that customer, but also your kitchen staff who then have to correct the error.

On top of this, these kinds of mistakes add to an internal feeling that the business is unprofessional or amateurish. Negative feelings will often lead to even your best staff starting to look elsewhere.

Communication issues usually come down to human error – particularly during busy, stressful periods. By equipping your business with technology that removes the manual element of front of house to kitchen communication, you can cut down on these problems.

For example, by having screens in your kitchen that pull through orders that have been inputted in the EPOS system you can remove the possibility of miscommunication. By removing one step from the process and letting technology do it for you, you remove one possible opportunity for error.

Cutting down training time

In some cases, it’s impossible to avoid staff leaving. When it happens, it’s painful for a number of reasons – not just because you have to find a replacement team member, but also because you have to wait for that new person to learn the skills of their predecessors.

While internal processes and procedures may take some time to teach, modern restaurant technology should at least make the training process easier.

Older till systems are notoriously complicated and difficult to use, but more modern systems are built around interfaces that will be familiar to anyone that has used a mobile phone or tablet. That means that while you may need to take some time to teach a new recruit what’s on the menu, you shouldn’t need to teach them how to operate the till!

Understanding the technology

There are many options available to restaurateurs, so having an understanding of what they are and how they can help is vital if you want to make the most out of restaurant technology.

Our free guide, The Essential Restaurant Tech Guide, can help your restaurant get the edge.

Download your copy today.