Amidst Staffing Challenges, Restaurants Will Depend on Technology to Create Connections with Customers

While many organizations and businesses have bounced back since pandemic lockdowns were mostly lifted, restaurants have had a harder time. One big, glaring issue? Staffing.

As diners across the country can attest, restaurant staffing in general is clearly a significant challenge when it comes to delivering excellent guest service. 

In its annual State of the Restaurant Industry Report, the National Restaurant Association reports that 7 in 10 operators say their restaurants do not have enough employees to support customer demand. Other key findings in the Feb. 2022 report underscore the challenge at hand:

  • Around 50% of restaurant operators in the full service, quick service, and fast-casual segments expect recruiting and retaining employees to be their top challenge in 2022

  • Between 2023 and 2030, the industry is projected to add an average of 200K jobs each year, with total staffing levels reaching 16.5M by 2030

  • 75% percent of operators said they plan to devote more resources to recruiting and retaining employees

Automation to the Rescue

While the situation seems bleak, savvy operators are embracing technology — especially automation — as a way to overcome staffing issues. By automating time-consuming processes and streamlining operations overall, operators are finding they can get by with fewer employees. They can also put the staff they do have to better use. 

A recent report by payment and POS provider Square revealed that:

  •  90% of surveyed restaurants said adding automation to back-of-house operations would allow staff to focus on higher priority tasks
  • 62% said automation would fill critical gaps in online order management, whether directly or through third-party delivery apps
  • 46% said shifting to automated communication for some customer interactions would help fill critical staffing gaps

3 ways online ordering platforms help operators overcome staffing challenges

Automation can help restaurant operators in three significant ways:

  • Improving online order processes on both sides of the transaction, freeing up staff to focus on food prep and other key tasks

  • Centralizing inventory tracking to keep menus constantly up-to-date

  • Improved communication with customers and between front- and back-of-house staff members

While online platforms are designed to automate ordering and coordinate delivery or pickup, they are not all created equally. Operators are often hit with massive fees by the biggest players in this segment — as much as 30% — and face many unique challenges like trying to resolve order issues through a third-party. This financial hit only makes it more challenging to fill open staff positions.

Looking beyond 2022, industry analysts expect the trend toward digital ordering to impact physical restaurant spaces. Online ordering is quickly becoming a consumer expectation. McKinsey & Company reports that food delivery has grown to a $150 billion global market, up from $50 billion only a few years ago. Kitchen sizes are likely to increase and take up more physical space as online ordering becomes critical to success. 

It may seem like a lot of bad news if your restaurant has yet to find an efficient, affordable way to handle online orders. The good news is that direct ordering is emerging as a customer preference. Sense360 surveyed consumers about their online delivery preferences and found that 63% prefer to order directly from a restaurant versus a third-party. Only 18% preferred that method. 

Onysys’ direct ordering platform puts control back into the hands of operators, who maintain brand control and gather valuable data about customer behaviors and preferences. Staff members can focus on preparing food and taking care of any of the myriad tasks related to running a restaurant instead of answering calls and managing orders. Improved efficiency and lower per-order fees are just the icing on the cake. 

Learn more about how the Onysys platform can keep you in the game when it comes to embracing online ordering. Set up a demo today.

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