How Empowering Your Restaurant & Bar Staff With the Right Tech Boosts Retention
Upgrading your tech suite doesn’t just make patrons happy — it also raises your team’s morale and satisfaction
It’s no secret that the last few years have been tough for the hospitality industry. Between COVID-19 keeping patrons at home, the Great Resignation making it harder to hire and retain staff, and Generation Z entering the workforce with some new ideas about the employer-employee relationship, the times are certainly changing.
While restaurant and bar sales started bouncing back in 2021, keeping employees engaged long-term remains a problem. One of the best ways that owners can boost retention is by updating slow or obsolete systems with newer software and hardware — here’s why.
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The continuing impact of the Great Resignation
According to a report by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a non-profit founded to improve working conditions in the restaurant industry, the coronavirus pandemic took an especially hard toll on waitstaff. Of those surveyed, 68% said that someone at their workplace had tested positive for COVID-19, and 58% were “concerned or very concerned” about contracting the virus at work and bringing it home to their families. And unlike office workers, many of whom moved to a remote or hybrid work model, restaurant employees had no other option but to keep showing up if they wanted to get paid.
Additionally, 95% experienced a negative job change during this period, whether they were furloughed, laid off, fired, or had their hours cut. As a result, the vast majority of those surveyed (86%) said their restaurants were understaffed.
3 ways restaurant technology boosts retention
Better technology makes life easier for everyone in the food service industry, from owners to managers to wait staff and bartenders. Not only can it help employees take more stringent precautions against ongoing health & safety practices, but it can simplify time-consuming processes that haven’t been updated since the cronut took the industry by storm. Here are three ways better restaurant technology leads to happier employees.
Makes payments easier
There are few phrases that make a server’s blood run cold as much as “Can we have separate checks?” Between collecting credit cards, calculating individual balances, and keeping track of multiple receipts, the payment process can be one of the biggest friction points your waitstaff experiences during their shifts. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic put hygiene issues in the public eye, making some servers wary about handling cash. This gave way to a rise in contactless payments, which is quickly becoming the new normal — and usually appreciated by patrons and staff alike.
Our data shows that servers typically spent five to 10 minutes per table running and processing checks. Over the course of an eight-hour shift, that adds up, significantly slowing down the turnover process (and thus limiting the tips servers can earn). Contactless payments not only put the customer in control of the checkout process, but they also free up servers’ time so they can focus on providing world-class service and turning over more tables. Some contactless payment solutions, like our own app-based ExpressCheck, even leverage walkout protection, so the restaurant still gets paid — and servers still get tipped. If you want to know more about how CityCheers can streamline the payment process, book a demo today.
Automates tedious processes
Ranking just as high on the list of things your staff hates to hear is “We’re staying late to do inventory tonight!” Sure, it’s necessary to keep track of everything you have in stock, but does it have to be such a drag? Not anymore. With improvements to restaurant POS systems, processes like inventory management can be automated by linking customer orders to an inventory that updates in real-time. This has a number of benefits, including being sure you’re not over-ordering less popular items and under-ordering ingredients for your hottest dishes.
At a time when just about every eatery is short-staffed, employee time is at a premium. By automating processes that take them away from their tables, you can relieve some stress and let them focus on providing the excellent customer service you want from your team.
Is tonight’s special the chicken parm, or was that last night? What do you mean you 86’d the stuffed pork chops? Menus are complicated, and memorizing every dish and special — as well as what keeps selling out during the dinner rush — is yet another drain on your wait staff’s mental bandwidth. That’s not even mentioning the cost every time you want to update and reprint paper menus.
Instead, consider using digital signage to communicate your menu and specials to patrons. Think of it like a digital chalkboard — you can personalize it to suit your brand, update it as often as you need to, and ensure customers aren’t ordering sold-out items (and taking their frustration out on your team). Since 86% of restaurant patrons check the menu online before dining out anyway, your paper menu isn’t showing them anything they haven’t already seen. On the other hand, updated digital signage can highlight what’s special about the daily menu and put more popular dishes in the spotlight.
Empower your employees with CityCheers
The food service industry has had plenty of ups and downs over the last few years, and it’s safe to say that some things won’t ever go back to the way they were. Innovations like contactless payments, digital menus, and automated processes are here to stay, and if your restaurant falls behind the competitors in technology, your staff might be tempted to look for one of the many open positions at competing eateries. Hiring and training cost time and money, so it’s in an owner’s best interests to keep their staff happy and motivated. Consider an updated tech suite an investment — one that will actually save money, improve customer satisfaction, and boost employee retention.
If that sounds like an overwhelming task, CityCheers can help! Our comprehensive app makes it easy for restaurant and bar owners to connect with customers, keep menus updated, and make the switch to contactless payments. If you’re ready to get started, get in touch!