Edward Nunn describes how restaurants can use technology to minimize the impacts of staff churn.

Employee turnover hurts. Not only does it cost restaurants an average of $5,864 to replace each employee, according to Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research, but it also strains restaurant operations when a team is short staffed. These shortages impact food quality, customer experience, and even the morale of other employees.

Using the smarter equipment, however, can boost efficiency, help restaurants cope when staff is short, and improve employee morale to prevent further turnover. Edward Nunn, Business Development Manager at Hatco Corporation, explains how.

How can restaurants reduce the impact of turnover on operations?

By definition, efficiency is the ratio of outputs to inputs. The way to improve efficiency is “doing more with less.” In foodservice, this means having a laser-like focus on labor, food, and utility costs compared to revenue. Technology is playing a key part in addressing all of these, including kiosks, mobile ordering, at-table PDQ payment systems, and improved ingredient formulations, packaging, and preparation to address food waste. 

What can restaurants do to improve efficiency?

Self service, be it “grab and go” or drive-up collection is growing in popularity across many foodservice formats. Combined with in-advance mobile ordering, this reduces labor for serving. However, quality and perceived quality remain vital. Gen Y and the upcoming Gen Z are used to improved food quality standards, having grown up with everything from organics to better burgers.

To maintain quality, yet deliver faster speed of service, better holding equipment and faster cooking methods are required. For example, speed ovens—like those from Ovention—use forced hot air and efficient food loading to dramatically cut cooking times and maintain a high quality standard. Precise, user-configurable preset programs also maintain consistent cooking results. These can be found in Hatco’s new IRNG series of induction ranges or Hatco’s TQ3 toaster, which uses profiles for different bread products. Even Hatco’s drawer warmers now feature a touch-screen option with the ability to hold different drawers at different temperatures and set a hold time for each. 

Another way to improve efficiency is to employ multi-tasking equipment, such as Hatco’s HCWBI series of hot/cold wells and HCSBF hot/cold shelves. Both hot and cold food can be stored or merchandised from the same footprint depending on the daypart or season.

How can automated cooking technology make training new staff easier?

Programmable equipment is an obvious means to reducing or refocusing training needs. Most commercial food operations prepare and present the same thing over-and-over, and consistency is a key to brand loyalty. Checking the “reliable and consistent cooking” box, frees up time to spend on training for sanitation or customer service. Equally important, when staff does turn over, training a new team member to press the right button is easier than having to train for several complicated culinary operations. 

How can equipment help maintain customer experience despite turnover?

In a saturated foodservice market, with more choice than ever in history, brand is the thing that matters most. The incoming generation of consumers is keen to identify with brands and remains very loyal. Underpinning a brand is consistency and predictability. Any equipment, procedures or technologies that supports that should be high on the list of considerations.

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