How to maximize your labor strategy

It’s no secret that technology has changed the game for restaurants and helped many to streamline business. Although some operators are quicker to adopt new technologies than others, one thing is certain: Advances in technology have made labor redeployment a reality for operators today. For example, a restaurant manager might have previously spent two hours writing up a schedule, but they can now do it much faster with automated scheduling software. And while a staff member might have spent their entire shift behind the counter before as a cashier, now, kiosks and mobile apps help ease the need for employees to take orders.

But those employees are still needed at work for other tasks. So how can they best use their time?

Operators looking to maximize their labor value should first look at the areas of the business that help enhance guest experience. Beyond ensuring excellent customer service, focusing on cleanliness and safety and providing technology training are also great ways to redeploy labor.

Strengthening and expanding customer service

When considering the elements that add up to a great experience for diners, the top three factors that create a good value are speed of service, order accuracy and staff friendliness, according to Technomic’s 2017 Value & Pricing report. When labor is freed up from other tasks, such as taking orders, that labor can be redeployed in ways that ensure a better experience for diners.

For instance, take running food to tables—in traditional settings, if one person is taking the orders and one person is running food, some food can sit for a while, making customers wait even though their food is ready. With technology taking over the order-taking, two employees can cover food running.

Ensuring a clean, safe experience for staff and diners alike

Approximately 20% of consumers note that atmosphere is an important attribute when deciding the value of a restaurant, according to Technomic’s Value & Pricing report. Part of that atmosphere includes how clean the restaurant is, and in turn, how safe it is. If an employee was previously so busy with paperwork that they didn’t have time to take a break to clean up a spill in the lobby, the potential for slip-and fall injuries arises. By incorporating technology to take care of the so-called “busy work,” employees’ labor can be more smartly used to ensure that the experience of everyone—staff and diners alike—is top notch.

Investing in training

Once man-hours are saved by the initial technology implementation, it can be tempting to kick back, redeploy the labor and call it a day—after all, the original issue (too much time spent on paperwork, not enough cashier stations, etc.) is taken care of. But to continue ensuring a great dining experience, operators should consider investing in continued technology training for their staff.

Tech amenities in restaurants also create value, and ensuring staff knows how to use everything can streamline the guest experience—if someone has a question, any staff member should be able to answer it, rather than having to get a manager. Additionally, Technomic’s Value and Pricing report finds that 22% of consumers say that kitchen automation that speeds up service is an important tech amenity for creating a good value, so operators can look beyond their initial tech goals and move down the list of things they can optimize with technology—automated oil filtration systems, refrigeration and inventory management, payroll and much more.

For operators who have implemented technology in order to free up labor costs, redeploying that labor by investing in better service, safety measures and additional technology are three excellent ways to do so.

This post is sponsored by Restaurant Technologies