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The Return to Hospitality: Ensure New Employees Contribute to Your Culture

There are huge costs associated with employee turnover.

The tech industry—along with other sectors—has experienced massive layoffs recently, with organizations including Alphabet, Spotify, Twitter, and Meta downsizing significantly. As a result, many people who moved away from hospitality to pursue jobs in other sectors are coming back.

With the expected new influx of employees, restaurant brands will need to build (and reinforce) solid, habitual cultures of excellence. Here are some tips on how to accomplish this:

Amplify training efforts. Spotlight your best-in-class protocols, elevate training, build cultures of excellence, and simplify processes, making them crisper and cleaner. Invest in training programs so your employees better understand (and meet) your expectations for excellence. Use tech tools to conduct training efforts, provide updates, and reinforce knowledge.

Prioritize safety, quality, and accuracy. Food safety and QA should begin from food products’ point of origin and continue all along the supply chain until the food is (safely) served to your guests. While it’s essential that your restaurant follows proper protocols, the process must begin with comprehensive supplier quality assurance programs that ensure your suppliers adhere to the highest safety standards before the food even arrives at your restaurant. Restaurants should routinely conduct supplier audits to be certain that all food safety and QA practices are being followed. Additionally, audits and confirmation of safety certifications should be standard operating procedure before working with new vendors. Tech tools are instrumental in streamlining this effort.

Audit differently. Many brands schedule traditional third-party audits with independent third-party inspectors to identify risks and increase compliance with food safety standards. While that’s good practice, there are some downsides to this approach. Some brands only have independent auditors come annually or semi-annually, due to costs and/or travel logistics, which is not frequent enough to ensure safe facilities and continuous improvement. Supplement these audits to get your employees involved—and invested—in the process. Remote audits can be a more frequent, cost-effective solution. Remote audits are collaborative, with employees working closely with auditors to inspect, spot infractions and take corrective actions. Also, empower employees to conduct regular self-inspections to find (and fix) noncompliance issues. Don’t punish employees for pointing out infractions. Instead, create a collaborative culture where the whole team works together to boost safety and quality.

Invest resources wisely. When considering a new tech investment, many operators weigh the cost of the technology against its potential benefits. Fortunately, restaurant tech comes with a major return on investment. It will help you increase efficiency, drive automation, simplify daily operations, boost sustainability, make more informed decisions, and improve your bottom line. Find technology partners that will work with your brand to reach your specific goals, meet your needs, and solve your challenges. ResTech is no longer just “nice to have”—it’s a necessity for restaurants of all sizes and budgets.

Boost diversity. As the labor shortage eases, remain intentional and deliberate in your efforts to increase diversity at all levels of your organization. Diverse teams boost key metrics, including revenue, and will bring fresh ideas, perspectives, approaches, and solutions to your company. Hiring a diverse team will help you relate (and appeal) to your increasingly diverse guests. It’s also valuable if you have bilingual employees who can better communicate with a wider customer base. Plus, increasing diversity is simply the right thing to do.

Focus on staff retention. While the labor shortage is easing, retention remains critical. There are huge costs associated with employee turnover, including recruiting and training new staff, plus the intangible value of losing employees with inherent knowledge about your company and protocols. Therefore, it’s essential to keep employees happy and engaged. Digital solutions offer staff management capabilities to help your brand boost employee satisfaction and productivity. For instance, you can use digital tools to create schedules and track employee hours so your team members get their preferred shifts and aren’t being overutilized (which can lead to burnout). Tech tools also help make their daily administrative tasks (including inspections, inventory, ordering, etc.) easier, faster, and more accurate, so employees can spend less time on inventory and line checks and more time doing what they love, like preparing exceptional meals and interacting with guests. In addition, offer competitive wages, and benefits like career development, mentoring, a supportive environment, and wellness perks to maximize retention and loyalty.

The key takeaways from this article are:

  • The importance of investing in training and technology to improve quality, safety, and compliance in the food industry.
  • The need to prioritize safety, quality, and accuracy by implementing comprehensive supplier quality assurance programs and conducting regular audits.
  • The benefits of using technology to streamline processes, manage staff, and improve employee satisfaction.
  • The value of diversity in boosting revenue, bringing fresh ideas and perspectives to the company, and appealing to a diverse customer base.
  • The importance of staff retention and the role of technology in managing schedules, tracking hours, and making administrative tasks easier.

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 paul.damaren@rizepoint.com.