Automation Improves Productivity Despite Labor Shortages

Posted on 1st Oct 2021

Ensuring that store needs are fully addressed is a daunting task.

In addition to the everyday struggle of focusing on customer service, food availability, and food safety, the pandemic has brough about a labor shortage that is exacerbating the frequent employee turnover that has typically been an issue for c-stores. When you add the challenge of managing an hourly workforce, scheduling, recruiting, hiring, and training staff, the layers of frustration for operators can become overwhelming.

One solution for reducing the frictions caused by these concerns is using newer and smarter technology. Given the high cost of recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining staff, investing in an automated kitchen is one tactic that can help simplify operations and improve the bottom line. By implementing this approach, operators can increase productivity and maintain the safety of fresh and prepared food without increasing human contact, allowing for a more effective use of labor.

Improved Productivity with Less Staff

One such automated system, the MenuCommand® Kitchen Automation Platform by DayMark, provides applications for task management, receiving, menu labeling, and temperature monitoring. The system allows operators to document the progress of ongoing operations in the store quickly and efficiently through a web portal. The platform provides a variety of tools that address the assignment and tracking of tasks, flexible scheduling, employee training, and recording daily health details, including employee temperature checks if necessary.

Staff Turnover Brings Food Safety Risks

Employee turnover brings with it concerns for staff training regarding food safety. Teaching staff to be consistent with regular temperature monitoring is critical. Maintaining regular temperature checks, including cold holding in refrigeration units as well as food in hot hold situations must be kept as simple as possible. In the past, monitoring temperatures was tedious and sometimes ineffective as staff manually checked and recorded temperatures in a handwritten log. Automated systems, such as the DayMark Temp Monitoring Solution featuring the cutting-edge LoRa technology from JRI®, offer HACCP-compliance and provide food safety management and temperature monitoring through an intuitive and comprehensive web application. These systems eliminate the need for staff to manually check temperatures and are an accurate and reliable way to make sure all foods are stored and cooked correctly.

With food safety always top of mind, it is important for operators to maintain efficient best practices when operating a c-store with fewer employees. Investing in automated solutions helps operators maintain a consistent level of food quality and customer service so that changes in staffing are less apparent to customers and have less impact on the bottom line.

Article originally appeared on the CStore Decisions website.

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