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How Restaurants Can Optimize Technology to Boost Employee Retention in a Competitive Labor Market

By implementing omni-channel POS systems, contactless payment options and back-of-house management solutions, restaurant operators can cultivate an engaging, supportive and fulfilling work environment for their staff.
6/1/2023
server with tablet and happy diners
Restaurant operators can use technology to improve customer and employee experiences, ultimately leading to increased employee retention.
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The ongoing labor crisis in the restaurant and hospitality sector has forced business owners to focus on employee retention by optimizing back-of-house operations, increasing wages, enhancing communication, prioritizing benefits and more. The industry still faces a shortage of 500,000 jobs compared to pre-2020 levels, and restaurants have experienced an increase in quit rates, jumping from 4.8% to 6.9% year-over-year from 2021 to 2022. In these challenging times, restaurant operators can use technology to improve customer and employee experiences, ultimately leading to increased employee retention.

 

 

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Check out the three installments in HT’s Workforce Technology Series covering hiring, training and retention.   

Boosting Employee Tips with a POS System

It is no secret that higher take-home pay plays a significant role in improving employee retention, and in the restaurant world, that often comes down to one thing: tips. POS systems are a powerful tool in helping restaurateurs ensure that ordering interactions are as fast and error-free as possible, which can lead to a significantly better customer experience and, therefore, potentially higher tips.

A robust omni-channel POS system can also provide valuable customer behavior data, which can be used to enhance the customer experience even further. For instance, operators can make data-driven recommendations on popular dishes, increasing the likelihood of upselling and larger orders, ultimately boosting tips for employees.

Capitalizing on Automation 

POS-generated data isn’t just a powerful tool for crafting promotions on the consumer side. Analysis of historical POS data can also streamline and automate back-of-house tasks like inventory management, staff scheduling and table assignments. Allocating larger teams for busier times, or smaller teams for quieter times, ensures smooth operations and reduces negative experiences caused by under- or overstaffing.

Automation also enables restaurant owners to hire less-experienced staff without compromising efficiency. Simplifying processes through automation and data analysis means that even those without extensive management experience can contribute effectively, widening the potential labor pool in a tight market.

Establishing a High-Tech, Low-Touch CX

In today's fast-paced world, both customers and employees seek high-tech, low-touch solutions. Contactless online ordering systems enable customers to place orders in advance, bypassing lengthy queues and minimizing face-to-face interactions with staff. Moreover, customers can pay for their orders using a mobile app or a self-ordering kiosk, eradicating the need for cash or card transactions and further reducing contact.

Given that many former restaurant employees cite ongoing COVID-19 concerns as a reason for leaving the industry, investing in contactless technology can effectively address the evolving preferences and requirements of potential employees.

Enhancing Back-of-House Efficiency 

A Kitchen Display System (KDS) can display real-time orders and cooking times, helping back-of-house teams prioritize tasks and optimize food preparation. The system can alert staff

about potential delays or notify them when specific dishes should be prepared, ensuring that all menu items are timed perfectly. A KDS can also streamline communication within the kitchen, displaying modifications or special requests for individual dishes, preventing errors and reducing the need for front-of-house staff to relay information.

These advantages not only lead to satisfied customers (and consequently, increased tips), but also foster a well-structured, efficient and enjoyable work environment for both front-of-house and back-of-house staff. These factors are crucial for enhancing employee retention in the current industry landscape.

Empowering Employees 

By implementing the right technology, restaurant operators can provide a smooth and efficient experience for everyone, from customers to kitchen staff. Mobile payment systems, for example, decrease wait times and eliminate the need for customers to wait for their check. Additionally, these systems gather valuable data on customer preferences, enabling restaurant operators to offer personalized promotions and experiences.

With more efficient processes in place, employees feel empowered and more satisfied, leading to long-term retention.

Overall, technology serves as a powerful tool for restaurant operators aiming to boost employee retention by lowering turnover rates, enhancing productivity and ultimately, propelling long-term success for their establishments.

 

About the Author

Since joining Givex in 2007, Mo Chaar has helped the company expand its North American footprint. He began his tenure as a Business Development Manager before becoming Vice President of Sales for North America, and then moved to his current role of Chief Commercial Officer.

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