Restaurants Are Taking Advantage of Technology Amidst Labor Constraints

For many restaurant operators QR codes and online ordering have remained important tools for the industry to manage ongoing staff shortages and the rising costs of labor. By encouraging customers to place their orders themselves, whether through mobile apps or self-ordering kiosks, restaurants can rethink their traditional staffing models and focus on areas that deliver experiences their customers want.

As fewer workers may be needed to take orders due to the more widespread use of QR codes, mobile apps, and touchscreen ordering kiosks, restaurants can redeploy these workers to support other areas as needed, such as taking orders from cars in the drive-thru line, assembling orders in the kitchen, or helping in the bar area. Here’s how restaurants can adjust their operations to enhance the customer experience as they roll out digital ordering solutions.

Redeploying restaurant staff

Restaurant operators can leverage technologies such as QR codes to rethink some of their procedures and to provide better service for their customers.

Devote more workers to help manage takeout.

Consumer demand for takeout from restaurants remains strong, with 61% of consumers saying that they order delivery or takeout from restaurants at least once per week, according to a recent Deloitte survey. These customers also expect prompt service, with nearly three-fourths of survey respondents saying that they don’t want to wait more than 30 minutes for their food.

That means restaurants need to optimize their staffing levels to take, assemble, and fill orders for takeout and delivery, especially during peak times. Some restaurants have created dedicated assembly lines for takeout and delivery, for example, while others have added service areas dedicated to third-party delivery pickup.

Maintain highly visible sanitation regimens.

Maintaining strong food safety and sanitation practices should always remain a top priority for restaurant operators. This is especially important as restaurants seek to drive more productivity and efficiency in their operations with fewer workers. In addition, high staff turnover will put pressure on operators to ensure that their workers are all up to speed on their food safety training.

Consumers have become much more attuned to the importance of cleanliness and sanitation in restaurants. Operators should consider dedicating workers on each shift to cleaning and sanitizing surfaces in dining rooms, restrooms, and other high-traffic areas of the restaurant.

Maintain a “flex” labor model.

Cross-training workers to perform multiple tasks within the restaurant is another way that operators can optimize their allocation of labor.

Having staff on hand that can perform multiple functions allows restaurants to react to conditions as needed, such as an unexpected surge in order volume or when workers call in sick. Cross-training offers the added benefits of creating a positive environment for workers, who may view the added training as an investment by their company in their own careers as they seek to move up the ladder.

Amid rising labor pressures restaurants are learning how to do more with less. Many are operating with reduced staffing levels, and technologies such as QR codes, mobile apps, and touchscreen ordering kiosks are helping them solve these labor challenges. But in order to maintain high levels of service and provide a rewarding customer experience, operators need to rethink their systems and processes so that labor is invested in the areas where it is most needed.