Struggling with a shortage of workers and high employee turnover is nothing new to c-store operators, who have been dealing with labor shortages for years. Since the pandemic, however, the U.S. labor shortage for the c-store sector could be the worst ever.
This shortage of workers makes it is even harder for operators to focus on streamlining worker tasks, while still ensuring food availability and safety. Managing an hourly workforce, including setting and keeping track of schedules and balancing the store’s needs with that of employees is a daunting task.
Fortunately, operators now have available to them smart strategies to increase productivity and maintain fresh and prepared food safety without increasing human contact, allowing them to use labor more effectively and ensuring that wasted product is kept to a minimum. With the high cost of recruiting, hiring, training and retaining staff, investing in an automated kitchen is one tactic that can help simplify operations.
Doing more with less
One such automated system, the MenuCommand® Kitchen Automation Platform by DayMark, provides applications for task management, receiving, menu labeling and temperature monitoring. Using a web portal, operators can document the progress of ongoing operations in both the front and back of the store 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.
Monitoring temperatures for food safety
An additional key to food safety is regular temperature checks, including cold holding in refrigeration units as well as food checks in hot hold situations. 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, either wirelessly or through a hardwired connection. 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.
The labor shortage is not expected to end any time soon. Investing in automated solutions helps c-store operators efficiently address the many tasks required any type of food service or prep facilities. This results in increased productivity, better protection for employees, safer food operations and a more positive bottom line. By investing in efficient and effective technology solutions, operators can focus on their current staffing issues while simultaneously preparing for future increase in demand.
Article originally appeared on the CSP website.