Restaurateurs face many challenges in running a profitable business–from rising rent costs to constant shifts in consumer appetites–but one of the biggest pain points in the restaurant industry remains high employee turnover. According to recent findings from the National Restaurant Association, the turnover rate for restaurant employees is more than 70 percent– which can significantly impact a restaurant owner’s bottom line when you consider that training the average restaurant worker can cost up to $3,500.
Hiring, training, and retaining staff is a huge undertaking for restaurant managers, especially when it’s in addition to other essential tasks like marketing efforts and managing profitability. Limited visibility into business operations presents an additional challenge—it’s nearly impossible to stay updated in real time with both front- and back-of-house performance to ensure guest demands are met, product and staff costs are minimal, and payment processing is accurate.
Of course, choosing the right employees from the start is the most ideal strategy. But to hedge against uncertainty, there are a few ways that new restaurant technology can help ensure that employee turnover doesn’t result in a major hit to profits.
Manage Efficiencies in Other Areas
Employee turnover is unfortunately a given in the restaurant space, due to factors like a high volume of part-time and seasonal workers, so smart managers have recognized the need to take advantage of new and evolving technologies, such as real-time analytics, to stay ahead of the game in other areas. Rather than relying on proprietary client-server based point of sale, managers can combat current challenges using cloud applications that paint a more comprehensive picture of how business is running.
Cloud-based tools provide restaurant operators the ability to reduce costs and resources, increase usability and accessibility, strengthen security, and gain flexibility without the burden of traditional on premise applications. Physical tools cost more to produce, even when done at scale, while cloud-based tools are relatively inexpensive as they are virtual. Since cloud services can be acquired as needed, investment in a lot of capital is no longer needed to get basic processes running. Essentially, using the software allows operators to rent the service instead of buying them.
High usability and flexibility driven by cloud applications, coupled with lower initial and ongoing costs than traditional solutions, enable managers to focus on running their restaurants instead of managing technology. The shifted focus on staff increases productivity, improving servers’ operations and ultimately helping ease the pain of high workforce turnover in the restaurant industry.
In the challenging environment of restaurants, the ability to balance labor and inventory costs against sales, easily communicate between the front and back of house, and deliver on hospitality is critical – as is the ability to take advantage of new innovations that bring in new customers and drive repeat business. Cloud solutions facilitate faster, easier and more extensive business insights, which leads to better decisions by both managers and, ultimately, servers.
Cut Down on Upfront Training Costs
Of course, having access to these tools isn’t nearly as impactful if managers need to spend extensive time and resources training staff on them. The intuitive nature of cloud-based tools allows servers and managers to rapidly adopt and effectively use the application with minimal training, shortening training time while accelerating order entry and processing.
In fact, many software solutions are beginning to tackle this training issue head on, since learning a new system – particularly a new POS – can be such a drain on time for managers and employees alike. Instead of handing a new employee a menu to go home and memorize, “Training Mode” on a cloud-based POS system allows staff to walk through workflows, like inputting or cancelling an order, splitting checks, taking payment and more, without interrupting the regular flow of service. Giving an employee the skills and confidence on their first day on the job can transform the way they perform.
Additionally, real-time access to analytics on sales and server performance can help managers identify problems in service and address those problems quickly, driving improvements in productivity for individual staff members—and potentially identifying turnover risks before they occur.
Ultimately, many of the causes of restaurant employee turnover are personal ones—a seasonal workforce, workplace conflicts—and is largely out of managers’ control regardless of the environment they the foster. What is in their control, however, is investing in technology that can help other areas of restaurant operations be more successful, to ensure that employees walking out doesn’t translate into a restaurant closing its doors.