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Amid Influx of New Hospitality Employees, Tech Helps Ensure Brand Excellence

Hospitality brands should rely on tech tools to boost safety, quality, accuracy, transparency, and consistency to build and maintain cultures of excellence.
2/22/2023
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Many industries (including tech and retail) have been experiencing massive layoffs, and it’s likely that some people leaving these sectors will enter (or re-enter) the hospitality industry.

Amid this influx of new employees, tech is essential for all aspects of your brand’s operations, including training new employees, elevating safety, conducting inspections, boosting transparency, and even retaining staff. Hospitality brands should rely on tech tools to build and maintain cultures of excellence.

To accomplish this:

  • Leverage integrated tech solutions. As you onboard new staff, leverage integrated tech solutions to boost safety, quality, accuracy, transparency, consistency, and improve the guest experience – all factors that contribute to brand excellence. Excel spreadsheets, disjointed tech stacks, and antiquated paper systems can’t provide the huge benefits and value that tech can. According to a recent study, 77.6% of hotels expect to increase their tech investment in the next three years. This is great news because tech solutions can help automate tasks, boost efficiencies, and allow employees to spend less time on administrative duties and focus more attention on value-add, customer-centric efforts. Additionally, tech tools allow brands to see more holistic views, track and analyze critical data, and use these insights to make more informed decisions.
  • Improve the way you train. Training is one of the most critical things that you can do to elevate your culture of safety, quality, and excellence. However, many organizations rely on antiquated or informal training processes. Training shouldn’t be an afterthought, especially since it’s essential to delivering safe, exceptional guest experiences. Modernize your trainings, making them interactive, engaging, and compelling with tech tools like gamification, AI, and microlearning platforms. Make training an ongoing effort. Use tech tools not only for training new employees, but also to provide ongoing reminders and updates throughout their tenure. Understand the importance of proper onboarding, as 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they were onboarded properly. 
  • Elevate safety, cleanliness, and quality protocols. While cleanliness has always been essential, the COVID pandemic escalated the need for consistent, meticulous cleanliness and sanitation. Now, brands need clearly defined cleanliness standards that include protocols for sanitizing not only kitchens and restrooms, but also high touch surfaces, like elevator buttons, doorknobs, gym equipment, etc. When leaders create protocols and operational standards, brands must ensure that every location follows them to ensure consistency and excellence across the enterprise.
  • Understand where your food comes from. It’s not enough just to follow proper food safety protocols onsite – you must be sure that all your suppliers adhere to the strictest food safety standards, as well. You could be doing everything right, but if your suppliers deliver contaminated, spoiled, or improperly held items, your guests (and your business) are at risk. Food safety and QA must be followed from each product’s point of origin until it’s properly prepared and served. Audit all suppliers regularly and ensure that they have proper, up-to-date safety certifications. When you have multiple suppliers – as most hospitality businesses do – it can be overwhelming to track and organize these important safety certifications manually, but tech tools make it easier and more accurate to manage this important task.
  • Focus on employee retention. Corporate employee retention has not been especially difficult for hotels and restaurants over the past 18 months, but on- property employees have been virtually impossible to retain longer than a few months.  Even though the labor shortage seems to be softening for our industry, staff retention remains critical, so prioritize employee satisfaction and loyalty. Pay employees well and offer appealing benefits, like tuition reimbursement, advancement opportunities, mentorship, etc. Provide tech tools to make tasks like line checks, inventory, purchasing, etc. easier and more efficient. Use digital scheduling solutions to ensure that employees are getting their preferred shifts and aren’t being overutilized. Give rewards (like gift cards, bonuses, etc.) to high performers.
  • Change the way you audit. Pre-pandemic, hospitality brands typically had a third-party auditor onsite once or twice a year. Employees often feared these inspections, worried they’d be “punished” for any infractions. COVID paused in-person audits, and brands got creative with remote audits, internal audits, and self-inspections to ensure that protocols were being strictly followed, equipment was in proper working order, and to identify any risks or areas of noncompliance. These new types of audits were more collaborative, and employees were empowered to look for (and correct) problems. Now, this “combination” auditing approach means more frequent assessments for continuous improvement, an important safeguard as new employees get up to speed with company protocols.
  • Be inspired by tech innovations. Tech trends in the hospitality industry include artificial intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality, robotics, blockchain, and 5G/6G mobile technology, which are providing guests with amazing, engaging, and fully customized experiences. Facial recognition software is enhancing security and privacy. Artificial intelligence is personalizing the guest experience. Robotics are automating tasks. Be inspired by these trends and use tech solutions to drive improvements in every aspect of your business.

Hospitality brands should rely on tech tools to boost safety, quality, accuracy, transparency, and consistency to build and maintain cultures of excellence.

Here are six calls to action for hospitality brands:

  1. Leverage integrated tech solutions.
  2. Improve the way you train.
  3. Elevate safety, cleanliness, and quality protocols.
  4. Understand where your food comes from.
  5. Focus on employee retention.
  6. Change the way you audit.

Hospitality brands should be inspired by tech innovations, including AI, AR/VR, robotics, blockchain, and mobile technology, to provide amazing and engaging experiences for guests.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

 

Paul Damaren is Executive Vice President, Business Development at RizePoint, a technology leader in the food safety, quality management, compliance, and social responsibility space. RizePoint’s quality management software solutions help companies, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, Marriott, and more, keep brand promises through their quality, safety, and compliance efforts. Customers gather better data, see necessary actions earlier, and act faster to correct issues before they become costly liabilities. To discuss RizePoint’s solutions, please contact Paul at [email protected].

Francine L. Shaw, CEO of Savvy Food Safety, is a successful entrepreneur, author, podcast host, and speaker who spent 20+ years working in the foodservice industry. Her career has included performing services (operating partner, corporate/private trainer, health inspector, 3rd party inspector, adjunct professor) in various sectors of the foodservice industry. She has written 200+ articles for national trade magazines and appeared on Dr. Oz, the BBC World Series Radio, and iHeart Radio as a food safety expert.

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