Labor shortage: the answer lies in the power of technology


By ComplianceMate

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, it has become clear that its legacy will be felt in the business world for years to come. Many businesses have closed their doors for good due to COVID-related shutdowns, and many more have been forced to dramatically realign their operations.

For professionals in the restaurant, hotel and restaurant sectors, these trends have had particularly profound consequences. It’s even fair to say that this industry has been hit harder by COVID than any other. Nationally, the restaurant industry lost two million workers between February 2020 and May 2021.

The problem cannot be fully explained by the widespread restaurant closures. There are many opportunities for skilled restaurant workers. Help Wanted signs can be found at a wide variety of restaurants, grocery stores and catering businesses across the country. It’s just that these open positions attract few applicants.

This labor shortage can be attributed to multiple causes.

  • Many experienced restaurant and food service workers are reluctant to return to their jobs in overcrowded facilities where the risk of COVID infection is high.
  • Workers in some areas have found that they can collect more unemployment benefits than they can expect to earn on the job.
  • It was also speculated that a significant proportion of restaurant workers were inspired to seek opportunities in other industries, as part of a larger social phenomenon called “The Great Resignation”.

How can businesses cope with this persistent labor shortage? Automation technology is the key.

Automated tools

When we refer to automation technology, we are talking about a variety of devices, software and systems that can control one or more food management processes with little or no human intervention. This type of technology tends to be associated with the widely proposed implementation of automated kiosks in fast food restaurants, but it really is much more diverse than that.

Automation technology currently available to catering businesses includes the following:

  • Digital checklists – Traditional paper-based checklists are time consuming, prone to errors and tampering, and difficult to keep properly categorized. Using digital devices to handle these tasks speeds up the process and ensures that it is performed correctly.
  • Remote temperature sensors – These can continuously monitor the temperature of food storage units, so companies do not depend on manual controls by employees. The automation of the process ensures that even a brief temperature fluctuation will not go unnoticed. These sensors can be configured to transmit an alert to a manager or other staff, prompting them to take immediate corrective action.
  • Food ordering devices – In addition to the aforementioned automated kiosks, restaurants can use portable devices to aid in the routine of placing customers’ orders. Easily transported to and from the dining room, these devices can reduce the risk of error and miscommunication during the ordering process. They can also be used to process payment cards, helping customers avoid long lines at the checkout.

As automation technology continues to advance, the restaurant industry will be able to utilize increasingly sophisticated tools that will improve workflows and reduce waste.

The benefits of automation

Technology of this nature offers several advantages to companies in a difficult job market:

  • Less errors – Automation of some routine processes eliminates errors caused by employee negligence.
  • Less stress for employees – Labor shortages mean existing employees often have to wear multiple hats. Automating certain processes can reduce their workloads and stress levels, which can reduce revenue.
  • Increased efficiency – Automation supports multiple food handling procedures, from inventory to payment processing. This leads to a more efficient workforce, even with fewer team members.
  • Consistent brand standards – This specific technology allows all sites to operate according to company guidelines.
  • Improved customer service – The benefits of automation can also strengthen the client side of your business by speeding up orders, payments and related tasks. Self-service kiosks are useful for COVID-conscious customers who prefer to avoid person-to-person contact.
  • Better audits – Automated tools can also be configured to record the data it generates. As a result, you have easy access to information that can prove security policy compliance and identify operational failures.

We are a long way from full automation in the restaurant industry, but businesses already have access to a number of useful tools that can alleviate labor shortages by allowing establishments to do more. with fewer employees.

About ComplianceMate: According to its website, the company offers a variety of wireless temperature sensors and related workflow tools specifically designed for the needs of modern catering establishments of all kinds. With ComplianceMate technology, managers can make informed, evidence-based decisions about staff training, workflows and food safety. As a result, companies save money by reducing food waste and maximizing employee efficiency, in addition to improving audit and regulatory compliance.

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