Technology designed to enrich the guest experience is great, so shouldn’t restaurants take the same approach with the employee experience?
When most businesses connect the dots between technology investments and experience, the focus is primarily on the customer. They ask, ‘what technology can we use to give our customers a better experience with our brand?’ Restaurants do the same with guest engagement programs, mobile apps, and online ordering. While this is certainly important, the same principle should also be applied to the employee experience.
Restaurants are facing a labor crisis. Fewer young people are looking for part-time jobs and those who do take restaurant jobs, are costing their employers more than ever before. Minimum wage is rising across the country. Higher turnover, lower team member efficiency, and improper staffing practices are causing restaurants to overspend on labor. This is due in part to poor employee experiences.
Research conducted by Four Kitchens reveals that chefs and other BOH restaurant employees suffer from work-related stress. Around 75 percent lose sleep because of their jobs. More than half say they’re pushed to their breaking point at work. Employee satisfaction should be a high priority at any organization, and restaurants that foster positive working environments will be better at retaining employees in a more productive and profitable environment.
Invest in the employee experience
Think about your guests. You invest in technology to improve their experience with your brand. A better guest experience prompts future visits and increased long-term revenue. Now apply that principle to your employees. What tools will enrich their experience at work? Can you remove their stress with productivity tools? No one likes counting inventory, but it has to be done. That’s why there are technology tools like counting applications that can expedite the process and even share the counting burden with others.
In addition to tedious tasks, each shift presents its own challenges based on who is or isn’t scheduled. Overstaffed restaurants result in cut hours and lost wages. Understaffed restaurants lead to increased stress and exhaustion. Optimized schedules are critical. Having the right number of people for every shift alleviates negative employee sentiment. It comes down to having the right data and tools.
Stronger communication is another way to improve the employee experience. A smart guest engagement strategy leverages the consumer’s personal communication device. A smart employee engagement strategy should do the same. The days of writing down schedules with pen and paper should be over. Employees have phones in their pockets and they should use them to check their schedules and request to fill or pick up shifts. Not only does this make it easier on the team member, it reduces the risk of no-call, no-shows because they will always have access to their their schedule.
Ultimately, better employee experiences lead to more productive teams, more efficient operations, and more profitable restaurants. Make sure you’re investing in the right technology to bring more guests through the front door, but when deciding what restaurant technology tools to buy, don’t forget your team members.
Stephen Stone – Marketing Manager
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