We find ourselves in a pivotal time in the history of the foodservice industry. Finding and maintaining staff is more difficult than ever, the disruption of major supply chains will continue to be a challenge for the next couple of years, and budgets are getting smaller by the month. It’s happening all around us and the signs are impossible to miss. What is a manager to do?
The simple answer is to take advantage of the tools that are right at your fingertips.
By adopting and implementing pieces of every-day technology like special software programs, smartphone or tablet applications, and even futuristic automated hardware, a foodservice organization can reduce staffing, optimize the way their staff works and ultimately help cut down on overall costs and turnover. The following seven digital and tech-focused solutions could have a drastic impact on the daily operations of your business.
Point of Sale (POS) Systems:
POS systems can automate many tasks, including order taking, payment processing, and inventory management. This can reduce the number of staff needed to handle these tasks.
Online Ordering & Self-Service Kiosks:
Implementing an online ordering system allows customers to place their orders directly through a website or mobile app. This eliminates the need for phone orders, reducing the number of staff needed to take orders directly. Implementing self-service kiosks allows customers to place their own orders and pay for their meals without the need for a cashier. This can reduce the number of staff needed to take orders and handle payments.
Inventory Management Systems:
Foodservice organizations can use inventory management software to track inventory levels, monitor product usage, and forecast demand. This can help reduce the number of employees needed to manage inventory manually. Many of the major food distributors offer software to their customers to help automate inventory and trigger auto ordering. Forbes recently published their list of the best restaurant inventory management systems for 2023.
Automated Cooking Equipment & Robotics:
Food preparation and cooking can be automated by using robotic systems that can chop, mix, cook ingredients and sometimes even serve directly to the customer. This can help reduce the number of kitchen staff required to prepare food. Investing in automated cooking equipment, such as conveyor ovens, can reduce the need for skilled cooks and kitchen staff. Even major restaurant chains like Jack in the Box have implemented futuristic burger-flipping technology to fight the labor crisis and operate smoothly with a smaller staff.
Digital Menu Boards:
Digital menu boards can replace static menu boards and can be updated easily with new pricing, promotions, or menu items. This can help reduce the need for employees to change menu boards manually, freeing them up to handle other important tasks.
Food Safety Monitoring Systems:
Automated food safety monitoring systems can help ensure that food is stored and prepared according to safety guidelines, including 24/7 monitoring of refrigeration. This can reduce the need for employees to perform time-consuming manual food safety checks.
Online Learning System:
A company’s staff is only as strong as the training and tools that management provides to them. Take time to review how the onboarding process for new employees is handled. Does each member of the crew have access to the necessary tools and information that will help them be proficient and effective in their position? Are employees provided ample time to learn their job duties as well as continue to develop job skills that will help them accelerate their career? Adopting an online learning system could ultimately help with staff retention rates. At Pineapple Academy, our team focuses on the development of the deskless employee with consideration to time management, maximized retention of information, opportunities for career advancement, and helping staff feel valued.
By adopting and implementing one or more of these technologies, foodservice operations can reduce the number of employees needed to perform certain tasks, streamline operations, and improve overall efficiency. However, it is important to note that while technology can be helpful in reducing staffing needs, it cannot completely replace the value of human labor.
After 35 years in management, it’s become overwhelmingly apparent that most team members want to work in a great place and end up doing a great job when given the necessary tools and support. Everyone wants to know they are valued and part of a larger purpose. They want to be on a winning team. That’s why Pineapple Academy was created.
As we move throughout 2023 and face new struggles, along with the same old issues that have been a battle for years, it’s important for managers to be proactive and take advantage of the tools that are available to them. Invest in solutions now and capitalize on the long-term results.
What are some additional ways that you’ve helped improve operations in your workplace by utilizing technology or new ways of handling processes? Drop a comment below.