Avoid Front of House Staffing Fiascos with Smart Tech Solutions
Although the restaurant industry is not going out of business anytime soon and hungry customers keep showing up, a nationwide staffing shortage is hitting restaurants hard. According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, more than 4 million people left their jobs in November 2021, and nearly a quarter of those are in the restaurant and hotel industry. A survey from small business network, Alignable, cited that only 3 percent of restaurant owners aren’t struggling to hire workers right now.
Front of house (FOH) workers in particular can end up bearing the brunt of diners frustrated by limited seating capacities, longer-than-usual waiting times, and incorrect orders, leading to burnout and frequent turnover. Turning to technology can help restaurants of all sizes train and retain talented FOH staff, leading to a happier dining experience for customers.
Reduce reliance on extra staff
Wouldn’t it be great if work could be done with the touch of a button … or maybe the scan of a QR code? Smart hosting can digitize much of the customer experience and reduce the number of trained staff needed to serve customers. One feature of our ConnectSmart Host platform creates a QR code that can be printed and hung on a door, so guests can simply scan the code to be added to the waitlist. Not only does this limit the number of people hanging out in the lobby, but it can also allow for more accurate wait times to be given to guests, no host interaction necessary.
It can take years for industry veterans to hone their skills, but smart training tools can get them in the game quickly. Our ConnectSmart Go app is, well, an app, designed to be intuitive for even the most novice employees. With just a few taps, hosts can accurately view wait times and dining room capacities on their very first shift, without oversight from more tenured employees.
Additionally, because kitchen technology is integrated with technology at the host stand, new hostesses can immediately see the status of to-go orders without having to go all the way back to the kitchen to update an impatient customer. Similarly, servers can access information about order status without leaving the dining room floor, allowing them to continue to serve other guests–and also avoid tense conversations with kitchen staff.
Restaurants experience a higher turnover rate than any other industry. Much of this turnover is due to burnout and stress, and nothing is more stressful to a server than dealing with a diner who is hangrily waiting on dinner, or upset that their order is incorrect. Set servers up for success by investing in technology that keeps stress levels at bay for all employees.
ConnectSmart Kitchen integrates seamlessly with ConnectSmart Host as well as other existing technologies to ensure that harried kitchen employees get every order right every time, and waitstaff have a clear line-of-sight to every step of the process, allowing them to communicate effectively with diners. Incorporating technology keeps everyone happy that walks in your door– from manager to line cooks to waitstaff to customers–so that everyone wants to keep coming back.
Simplify Off-Premise Dining Processes
The National Restaurant Association found that 60% of restaurant services are for off-premise dining, which includes pick-up and delivery orders. While this reduces the number of customers filling up your dining room, the actual number of orders your restaurant can receive remains constant, if not increased. This shift in business can add stress to the staff you have and tack on more to your FOH’s to do list.
ConnectSmart Go makes all off-premise dining processes streamlined and simplified to take the stress away from the host stand. Features like SMS text updates for delivery and pick-up orders keep customers apprised of their wait time (and out of the lobby), while details like time-stamped tickets let diners know who is to blame in the unfortunate event a delivery service delivers food after it was promised. All of these smart features reduce the likelihood that a host will have to turn their attention away from the job at hand to assuage unhappy customers.
As the saying goes, this too shall pass. But strategic investments in effective technology can help your business stay staffed and profitable while we weather this storm together.
Stay tuned for more information on how technology can ease back of house tensions as well.
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About the Author
Shari McCauley joined QSR Automations in 2015 and is the Manager of Training where she focuses on educating employees, the reseller channel and customers on the benefits and uses of QSR technology. She has a passion for the Restaurant Industry and helping operators run their businesses more efficiently through training and technology. With over 30 years of Restaurant experience from drive thru to restaurant manager, field trainer then technology support / training and leadership roles she has a broad understanding of what it takes to make operations consistent, efficient, and profitable.