Simple Technology Might Be the Answer to the Labor Shortage

July 16, 2021

Photo courtesy of Upserve

In the past weeks, the labor shortage, especially in the hospitality industry, has been widely reported. Despite customer demand rising rapidly, restaurants and bars are presented with an employment wasteland as hospitality workers are virtually nonexistent. For a number of reasons – including health concerns, job insecurity, low pay, and little childcare – these workers are either not returning to the industry or looking to work in other industries altogether. While some business owners have reverted to offering incentives for employment and job retention, such as increased wages and signing bonuses, these costly alternatives are not sustainable for the great majority of hospitality businesses during this recovery period. Technology, however, may present a better solution. Here are ways in which technology can help save the most important facets of the hospitality industry. 

Hospitality itself is all about guest relations and experience. 

In order to sustain an overall positive guest experience, hospitality businesses hire workers that have skills and tools that will please customers. This being said, with so many of these workers not returning to the scene, it is important to not rely on individuals to create the experience needed to bring in revenue; customers need to, instead, buy into the business’ brand. This can be achieved by utilizing customer data to preserve personalized experiences. Companies such as Starbucks have long been using technology to record guest data in order to remember orders, offer them special deals and upgrades, see how often they pay for its services and at what price, and more. By installing similar technologies, workers will no longer need to remember such details off the top of their heads but rather any individual who interacts with customers will have access to the same personalized information. This will boost customer retention and loyalty, while always making the guest feel special. 

Technology can be used to minimize time-consuming busy work.

This is particularly important for hosts, as much of their work consists of navigating overbookings, no shows, and phone calls when their top priority should be engaging with guests to give them the best experience. Software can be used to mitigate all of these added obstacles, and can even help other employees as well. When the kitchen receives an online order from their POS system or a third-party food delivery service, it takes time to relay the information to the host who is not in the kitchen with them. All of this time spent trying to reach each other during a rush to ensure that the order is being prepared and the customers are waiting outside to pick it up can be done via systems that communicate with the guest directly up to the point where the food is handed to them. 

Taking care of top-performing employees will help business. 

Quantitative analyses of how well employees are doing, especially with regards to getting customers to come back, will lead to better service and more revenue. Restaurant systems can be used to identify which employees are driving the most repeat, high-paying, and valuable guests. Using this information, businesses can then adjust staffing, wages, and training accordingly. The employees who are driving the most business should be recognized for their efforts and the business can then help the other employees by providing more support such as extra training and education. 

Receiving guest feedback, good and bad, will inevitably lead to a better experience.

Although online rating platforms can help illuminate a business’ services and menus, they are often catered mostly towards guests; with all of the power in the guests hands, many bad reviews are often posted without the business having the ability to easily communicate with the guests and explain or figure out what happened. Creating an online survey or feedback service can help restaurants get into contact with guests directly to see what they like, don’t like, or need to fix. Again, the information such systems will derive can be used by business leadership to adjust staffing, wages, goals and service accordingly. 

Lastly, but most controversially, restaurants can use technology to effectively replace employees if need be.

Although this has been the root of much controversial conversation surrounding the rise of technology in the hospitality industry, certain uses of technology can indeed help businesses cut down on costs and improve service. By using contactless QR menus and online pay services, customers can sit down and immediately see their options without needing to wait for servers to come around and check on them. Of course, using these technologies to their fullest degrees would essentially eliminate the need for servers altogether, only requiring food runners to bring the food once customers have placed their order. However, for restaurants who are suffering from the pandemic and are looking to cut costs wherever possible, this may be their only alternative to other significant options such as reducing hours or closing. 

This information is the most up to date news available as of the date posted. Please be advised that any information posted on the KI Legal Blog or Social Channels is being supplied for informational purposes only and is subject to change at any time. For more information, and clarity surrounding your individual organization or current situation, contact a member of the KI Legal team, or fill out a new client intake form.