It’s no secret that restaurants are struggling to find and keep workers as the foodservice industry faces an unprecedented labor shortage.
The economic downturn accompanying COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the availability of workers, causing the labor shortage to become widespread across numerous industries. According to the National Restaurant Association’s summary of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics published in May 2021, employment at eating and drinking businesses was still 1.5 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels, or down by about 12%. In addition, workers are not just being cautious about the health risks in returning to the workplace—some are looking for benefits including better pay, improved hours and access to childcare.
So how do restaurant owners move forward with less staff while facing the same tasks and requirements needed to ensure food availability and safety? One solution is to invest in an automated kitchen in which technology can be used to help increase efficiency while working with fewer employees.
With the high cost of recruiting, hiring, training and retaining staff, automation can simplify certain tasks, fill in staffing gaps and prepare the kitchen for workers to return. For example, automation will pinpoint where workers can be more efficient and effective, while also ensuring the food served to patrons is safe and enjoyable.
It takes energy and skill to manage a kitchen operation that involves both front- and back-of-house responsibilities, but access to cutting-edge technology will increase the effectiveness of handling day-to-day responsibilities, such as employee scheduling, food prep tasks, equipment cleaning and tracking incoming shipments of products.
An automated kitchen can increase productivity and reduce the chance of error. One such system, the MenuCommand® Kitchen Automation Platform by DayMark, provides applications for task management, receiving, menu labeling and temperature monitoring. Using a web portal, restaurant management can document the progress of ongoing operations in both the front- and back-of-house quickly and efficiently with a variety of tools that address the assignment and tracking of tasks, flexible scheduling, employee training and recording daily health details, including temperature measurement if necessary.
The labor shortage is not expected to end any time soon. By investing in a more efficient and effective technology solution for front- and back-of-house operations, restaurant owners can address their current staffing issues while simultaneously preparing for future increase in demand.
Article originally appeared on the Restaurant Business website