As the industry has evolved, technology has evolved to help.
Leading a full-service restaurant is as challenging today as it’s ever been. With continued labor shortages and cost of goods at record highs, restaurateurs have a lot on their plates to juggle. Beyond labor and food challenges, there are new concepts arising, demand for delivery continues to thrive, and consumer preferences are changing. To stay ahead of industry changes, restaurateurs should utilize innovative technology solutions to maximize operations and success for their restaurants and teams.
Here are four tips to help lead your restaurants better through a new era of restaurants.
1. Optimize for labor and staffing
Being overstaffed is expensive and being understaffed causes frustrations for customers and employees alike. Utilizing a scheduling software, you can determine optimal staffing levels based on demand, specific to your individual restaurant locations. As labor is one of the highest costs for restaurants, every dollar matters.
Being able to identify (and fix) staffing inefficiencies eliminates wasted money in your restaurants. As an additional bonus, scheduling software can help you ensure your employees are getting the shifts that work best with their schedule, which allows them more flexibility. A scheduling system allows you to make sure your team members are getting their preferred shifts and hour allocations, which will help with employee success and retention.
2. Increase training opportunities
Prior to the pandemic, restaurants had more than 500,000 employees than they do today. As turnover rates remain high, it’s important to focus on providing your employees tools for success, and to provide opportunities for learning and growth. During the Great Resignation, many restaurant workers cited lack of career growth or training as one of the top reasons for leaving the industry.
Your employees want to learn and grow, which also helps your restaurant's growth, as well, as they learn new skills or tools. Whether it’s on the job training, online courses, local events, or conferences—there are a wide variety of training options for your restaurants to look into. Do a quick search or ask fellow restaurateurs what has worked for them to see what options may be a good fit.
Check in with your employees to gauge what programs they would be most interested in, as well. Providing ongoing training will help your employees grow personally and professionally and increase employee happiness. Audit your training opportunities and see how you can invest or implement new programs for your teams that align with your goals.
3. Communication and mentorship
Transparent and open communication is a sign of a great leader. Open the dialogue with your teams and be open to feedback. Communication and the “lack of feeling heard or appreciated” is another one of the top reasons listed as to why hospitality workers left the industry during the Great Resignation.
Make sure your restaurants have safe and transparent communication throughout colleagues and teams. Conduct regular one-on-one check ins with individual employees to discuss wins, areas of improvement, and new ideas. Compliment employees on their successes often and give praise when they’re doing well. Employees who feel valued and heard are more successful at work. By fostering a transparent organization culture, employees are more engaged, motivated, and productive.
Don’t forget to share your expertise. As an expert in the industry, make sure that you are also providing mentorship opportunities. Share your knowledge and experience with your teams. As a leader, you are also a mentor, and your teams look up to your guidance. Don’t be afraid to share tidbits of industry experience, new recipes, or tricks with your teams.
4. Use integrated tech tools
Tech solutions arm your restaurants with critical data so you can make data-driven decisions to improve store performance, and drive business growth. With proper data, you can remediate noncompliance issues, adjust workflows, and implement new processes or procedures to ensure your restaurants are running safely and efficiently.
Make sure your restaurants are equipped with good POS software, back of house, and front of house solutions. As the industry has evolved, technology has evolved to help. Modern restaurants must adopt technological solutions to continue to thrive and grow.
By providing proper knowledge, tools, and support you can help employees (and your restaurant) thrive.
Have you implemented new processes or tools to help lead your restaurants? We’d love to hear how it went.
Greg Staley is the CEO of SynergySuite, a back-of-house restaurant management platform. Greg focuses on facilitating better visibility and increased profitability for restaurant chains through the use of intelligent, integrated back-of-house technology. For more information, please contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.