Labor shortages getting your restaurant down? Forget hiring, think technology

Editorial Team

4 min read
Applova for restaurants shown on point of sale system

It’s a widely accepted belief that, in order to run a successful restaurant, you need adequate staff. Just like any other service-oriented industry, the functioning of food and beverage establishments has long been dependent on people. That’s why the labor crisis has left this sector reeling.

A shortage of staff has meant that there haven’t been enough people to carry out the myriad duties that are an essential part of the day-to-day operations of a restaurant. This has resulted in some drastic measures being taken by restaurant operators – reducing opening hours, decreasing seating capacity, capping the number of orders accepted per day, and, sometimes, even closing down outlets. The financial impact of these measures is painfully familiar to restaurateurs across the country.   

And, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of the labor crisis abating soon. The forecasts for this year are grim. So you may be wondering how you could survive another year of people shortages and stress. 

The problem isn’t the labor shortage 

Eating and drinking establishments have been hit hard by the shortage of labor because of their long-standing dependency on labor. The notion that almost all activities in a restaurant must be performed by humans doesn’t reflect today’s market. While people will always be an essential resource in any restaurant, many tasks currently done by employees can be automated, freeing up staff to carry out more crucial service elements. Automation could lessen, if not resolve, the labor shortage for many restaurants. The recent partnership between Clover, a Fiserv company and Applova provides digital solutions to labor problems. 

3 ways to automate your restaurant

1. Automated ordering for takeout

You can start by offering online ordering for takeout. Applova’s software converts your Clover POS into a self-ordering kiosk. And the interface is extremely user-friendly. Customers enter their name, make their selections, customize the dishes, and review and confirm their orders. They can even make payment then and there, completing the entire order process in one go. The advantage to you is that you don’t need as many employees to process orders and accept payment. That cuts down on the number of front-of-house staff you have to roster. 

2. Digitized ordering for dine-in

You can also introduce digitized ordering for dine-in by using Applova’s ordering app. Getting the app up-and-running is very straightforward. Then, you just place a QR code at each table. After your customers are seated, they can use their personal mobile devices to scan the code, access the app, and place their order. They can order more and even repeat orders on the same check, making payment at the very end of the meal. That frees up your staff to focus on great service and hospitality. What’s more, fewer front-of-house duties means fewer staff. 

3. Computerized communication 

Because Applova’s online ordering solution is integrated with your Clover POS, all confirmed digital orders will be sent directly to your restaurant’s business manager to accept them. The moment an order is accepted, the information will be fired to the Applova Kitchen Display System, and the order is printed out for your chefs to start cooking. Once the dishes are ready, the kitchen staff can mark them as complete on the Kitchen Display System. The status of each order will be displayed on a Public Announcement System along with the ticket number. Takeout customers can simply walk to the counter and collect their packages or staff can carry the food and drinks to the respective dine-in tables. With all communication automated, there’s no need for darting from counter to kitchen and back again. And that means fewer hands on deck. 

The solution is to change your strategy

Most restaurant operators and managers have spent the last year attempting to overcome the labor shortage by expanding their hiring strategies. But that approach simply hasn’t worked for very many because they’re still dependent on a certain number of qualified staff. Right now, there’s simply not enough people to fill vacancies at restaurants. Looking for employees when there are so few available is like trying to pluck fruit from a tree that no longer yields. 

Instead, a better strategy may be to scale down your staffing requirement through automation. By integrating the Applova software to your Clover POS, you can digitize a range of core tasks. That can reduce the number of staff you need to successfully run your restaurant. And that means your restaurant has a better chance of weathering staffing shortages.

Sign up to request a free demo or find out how Applova works with Clover and can help you run a more efficient restaurant with a smaller staff. If you don’t already have a Clover POS, learn how Clover helps restaurants grow and manage business.

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