The global effects of COVID-19 have been dire and unprecedented, and have disproportionately impacted the restaurant and hospitality industry. In an effort to address evolving market conditions and COVID-driven restrictions, restaurateurs have learned to embrace technology at a faster pace than ever. With that, they’ve also realized the benefits of technology that previously many had regarded to be of negligible use or just unnecessary.
While third-party delivery and off-premises services have been an indispensable resource for restaurants since the start of the pandemic, surprisingly, some technology tools like inventory and labor management have become some of the unsung heroes in today’s restaurant landscape. This is in part due to the market disruption that is challenging restaurateurs to find new ways to innovate and optimize both business operations and the customer experience.
Around the country, restaurateurs are deciphering how to best navigate the ebbs and flows of an unpredictable post-pandemic “new normal.” They must wrestle with supply chain bottlenecks, staffing issues and inflation, all of which impact the way their business is run. The restaurant industry is slowly getting back to pre-pandemic normalcy, with a recent survey of restaurant operators revealing that more than half “said it would be a year or more before business conditions return to normal.”
The labor shortage continues to sting restaurateurs, and while staffing has perennially been a challenge in the restaurant sector, the Great Resignation has exacerbated the problem. In response, restaurateurs find themselves not only reducing operating hours, but also assuming the role of waiter/waitress or even chef. It’s all in an effort to meet the short-term, unexpected staffing needs that are still plaguing the industry.
Fortunately, existing features within a modern point of sale (POS) platform can help mitigate the challenges of staffing unpredictability. While many restaurants have relied on pen and paper in the past to manage workforce needs, there are clever solutions right under the nose of the restaurateur to more efficiently run restaurants with less staff at work.
A robust labor management system is one way restaurateurs can streamline activities that accompany the hiring, recruiting, onboarding and scheduling of staff. This functionality has evolved whereby it can help consolidate labor operations, including onboarding employees, tracking productivity and payroll and reducing time spent on administrative paperwork.
Additionally, kitchen display systems, online ordering capabilities and self-serve kiosks can serve to bridge the productivity gap and enable many restaurants to survive with less staff. Self-service technology in particular is perhaps one of the most important ways restaurateurs can mitigate the effects of inflation and labor shortages. The user-friendly self-service kiosk can help compensate for head-count at the register, cut costs on operations and enable an overall increase in efficiency and productivity for the business.
Supply chain shortages and rising food prices are continuing to affect restaurants. Kitchen supplies and wholesale food prices have increased exponentially. As a result, many restaurateurs have had to get creative when it comes to their menu. Opting for lower-cost ingredients, cutting menu items altogether, and increasing the price of menu items are some of the ways merchants are addressing this problem.
In this scenario, real-time inventory management functionality can help restaurateurs track bestselling items and minimum inventory thresholds to help streamline ordering. For example, knowing how much stock you have at the ingredient level or a waste report that showcases the amount of food your restaurant actually uses, can help with critical business decisions.
Historically, restaurateurs have been concerned with the top line, but current market forces have spurred them to focus more on a healthy bottom line. A big part of this is optimizing labor and inventory operations. Another major part is lowering costs by avoiding expensive third-party add-ons and, instead, using native modules in your POS platform. As the pandemic subsides, restaurateurs must find a way to adapt and control their own destiny. The right point-of-sale technology whose cornerstone is cloud-native can help operators pivot quickly and make easy operational enhancements in times of change.
This article was written by Chris Lybeer from QSR Web. News Features and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.