Improving the work environment can help ease labor pressures

Photograph: Shutterstock

The labor pressures on restaurant operators have escalated in 2020 as dozens of states and municipalities around the country have increased their minimum wages.

The increases range from as little as 1% to 2% in some areas to as much as 25% in others. For many operators in these states and municipalities, the ripple effects of these increases are being felt throughout their organizations as they are forced to increase wages across the board to maintain a differential for more senior employees.

In addition, even operators in areas where wage increases have not been mandated by law may be facing pressure to raise their hourly pay rates and expand their benefits to attract workers in today’s tight labor market. The national unemployment level was 3.6% in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That remarkably low rate contributes to the industry’s high levels of employee turnover as restaurant workers are easily lured away by other, less challenging opportunities.

Wage increases can also translate to top-line pressures for operators. Many restaurants may be forced to raise prices to accommodate the increased labor costs, which in turn makes it more difficult to drive sales. Some operators may also opt to shutter some locations or reduce hours in higher-wage areas where they can no longer afford to continue operating profitably.

Those operators who choose to remain open and compete amid today’s challenging industry dynamics need to find creative ways to trim labor costs—such as through automation or menu simplification—or they need to find ways to attract new workers and retain the ones they already have to minimize the high costs of turnover. One way to attract and retain good employees is to provide them with a safe and rewarding work environment.

Restaurant Technologies offers solutions that can help operators eliminate some of the most hazardous and unpleasant tasks in the industry: disposing of used oil from the fryers and refilling them. The company’s closed-loop oil management system makes it easy for workers to perform these tasks with the flip of a switch.

Carrying stockpots full of scalding hot fryer oil across a slippery floor is obviously both unsafe and unpleasant, and any workers who have been around traditional fryer systems probably know firsthand about the potential for slips, falls and burns when changing the fryer oil.

In addition to disposing of the used oil, refilling the fryers can be a challenging and dangerous task as well, because it often requires carrying heavy containers of oil from the storage area and lifting them to pour them into the fryers. Or, if solid oil or shortening is used, scooping chunks of the gooey substance into the fryers poses additional dangers from the potential for melting grease to splatter.

By creating a safer way for employees to perform these unpleasant tasks, operators can reduce the risk of injury and improve worker satisfaction, creating a more attractive work environment.

Visit rti-inc.comto learn more about how Restaurant Technologies can help operators attract and retain the best employees.

This post is sponsored by Restaurant Technologies

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