Throughout the country, the restaurant industry is suffering from unprecedented staffing shortages in the aftermath of COVID-19. From pizzerias to fine dining, all restaurant types are racing to fill positions in every part of the business. Technology innovations can help solve this crisis and keep restaurants running while operators focus on delivering quality products and experiences to guests. Advancements in tech can eliminate unnecessary tasks and automate components of more complicated ones. Here are a few examples of tech-centered solutions that can put more functionality directly in the hands of customers, easing the burden on restaurant operators.
Support front of house
Not just for full-service restaurants, digital tableside ordering is equally beneficial for pizzerias, fast-casual and QSR restaurants. Digital tableside ordering reduces the transactional parts of a front-of-house team member’s job and allows them to focus on building relationships with their guests, provide superior customer service, and manage more involved guest requests. It also relieves cashiers and reduces long lines. Speed of service is crucial even when faced with staffing challenges. Digital tableside ordering gives customers the option to quickly view the menu and reorder items without having to interact with staff or wait in line. Where digital tableside ordering is integrated with their loyalty programs, restaurants can ensure customer data is captured while customer patronage is rewarded with progress toward their loyalty account.
Eliminate friction points for cashiers
Often cashier team members at fast-casual or QSR restaurants are expected to manage multiple jobs and side tasks to keep the entire restaurant running smoothly. For example, it is not uncommon for cashiers to also serve as expediters, expediting drive-through management, and order fulfillment — to keep the entire restaurant running smoothly. Digital purchasing channels allow more orders to come through directly to the kitchen, alleviating staffing requirements to keep orders flowing, and restaurants achieve more sales per square foot as a result.
Restaurants can invest in a tech stack designed for an optimized online ordering ecosystem by upgrading the user interface for a smooth experience, removing guest checkout to maximize data capture, enabling features like one-click reordering, and integrating loyalty programs so guests are incentivized to seek out and use these channels.
Retain staff with more shift opportunities
Attracting and hiring employees is only one part of the ongoing labor crisis. Once team members are hired and restaurants have invested time and money in their training, retaining new staff is key. For hourly workers, ensuring they have adequate shifts scheduled to meet their earnings expectations is critical. This can prove difficult for restaurants with underperforming dayparts. Managers may struggle to justify staffing shifts if the sales cannot support the labor expense.
With restaurant loyalty technology, brands have the ability to know their customers deeply — from their menu preferences to visit frequency. Sending customers targeted offers can incentivize guests to order during underperforming dayparts. When data-driven marketing powered by loyalty programs is used to drive meal period performance, restaurants create more shift opportunities. This growth in sales means additional staffing, giving employees the necessary hours and pay they need to stay satisfied.
Maximize marketing-team bandwidth
The labor crisis has not only affected FOH and BOH operations staff, but it also touches the corporate employees as well. Corporate marketing teams continue to work at the limits of their bandwidth as businesses struggle to hire. The latest in marketing automation is the answer to how brands can make the most of even the leanest of teams.
Now, marketers can use customer engagement platforms that consolidate technology and bring email, SMS, push notifications, in-app messaging and retention marketing all under one platform. Taking it a step further, these customer engagement platforms can be integrated with digital ordering or point of sales, which can leverage customer data to optimize marketing efforts.
Thanks to these tools in marketing automation, data-driven marketing that used to take multiple teams weeks to deploy, now takes one person minutes. Manual steps like having to acquire and analyze data, create the audience segments, craft the message, and select the distribution channels are now streamlined to single-click commands.
These are just a few examples of how the latest in tech can equip marketers with leading guest intelligence and data analytics without the need to recruit or hire data scientists in a hugely competitive job market.
This article was written by Zach Goldstein 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.