Half of Restaurant Decision Makers View Technology as Important to Their Operations: Survey
US Foods Holding Corp. released the results of a new survey of 500 independent restaurant decision makers to gauge their outlook on critical operational decisions. Although half of restaurant decision makers think technology is a way to address food waste, manage staff and drive customer traffic, only one-third of them are implementing it.
There are three primary areas in which independent operators have identified the biggest opportunities: driving customer traffic, simplifying staffing and reducing food waste. US Foods’ survey further explores restaurant decision makers’ views on these topics.
Driving Customer Traffic
In today’s digital world, the way restaurants attract new customers has changed. According to the survey results, a quarter of restaurant decision makers feel that attracting customers has gotten harder in the last year.
Compared to a year ago, marketing decision makers are investing more into how they promote their restaurants, with 75% offering more specials for customers, 68% spending more on digital advertising, 67% hosting more events and 51% using third-party services. Most marketing decision makers (80%) said keeping up with the competition’s marketing efforts was important to them.
To help drive online and in-store customer traffic, US Foods offers a suite of solutions through CHECK Business Tools, including menu design support to drive profitability, online ordering capabilities for to-go sales and website design support.
Staffing Can Be Stressful
35% of restaurant operators say that they currently have job openings that are proving hard to fill. So it’s no surprise that US Foods’ survey found that half of restaurant decision makers named hiring, training or managing staff as their greatest sources of stress.
49% also expressed concern about a labor shortage in the restaurant industry, and only 59% felt confident in hiring skilled employees. Further, only 20% said they were increasing their recruiting efforts and only 30% were creating robust employee training programs.
Fighting Food Waste
Waste is a costly part of running a restaurant. More than a third of food in the U.S. is lost or wasted, which amounts to 133 billion pounds or $161 billion worth of food each year.2 According to the US Foods survey, 79% of restaurant decision makers are at least somewhat concerned about food waste in their restaurant, but they struggle to prioritize and act on their concern, citing inefficient food preparation (36%), the inability to accurately forecast demand (35%) and portion sizes (34%) as the main drivers of waste in their restaurants.
Three in five (58%) food decision makers say they are tracking some things related to food waste but know they could be doing more to meet their goals. Meanwhile, only about a third (30%) have a formal process in place to track their goals.
To combat spoilage, over-portioning and pilferage, CHECK Business Tools include menu profitability support that will monitor the profitability of each menu item and standardize all recipes. Purchasing and inventory management solutions are also available so that operators know exactly what to order and when, based on accurate predictive sales forecasting.
US Foods is also announcing a new partnership to add Toast, the fastest-growing restaurant management platform in the U.S., to the CHECK Business Tools portfolio. Toast powers successful restaurants of all sizes with a technology platform that combines restaurant POS, front of house, back of house and guest-facing technology with a diverse marketplace of third-party applications.
For more information on CHECK Business Tools, please visit https://www.usfoods.com/our-services/check.html.