Ever since the start of the pandemic, restaurant owners have been looking forward to ‘returning to normal’, but they have continually been hit by a variety of challenges.
A challenge which shows no sign of easing in the near future is staff shortages, either through lack of qualified people, European workers leaving the UK due to Brexit or covid, employees seeking higher paid jobs in other industries or more recently, isolation related shortages due to staff with covid or advised to isolate.
Technology to the rescue!
In the current situation restaurants, takeaways, cafes, and pubs need to find a way to manage with a smaller number of staff. Technology can replace many tasks previously performed by humans, allowing businesses to operate with fewer staff full stop, and by adopting technology now, it gives an immediate and long-term benefit.
Early in the pandemic, hospitality was forced to offer table service to initially reopen, and many businesses adopted technology in the form of Mobile Apps & QR code menu ordering, enabling guests to sit down, order their food and drink, and staff to simply take the completed order to the table. This required less staff to operate, reduced errors and wastage, improved staff & customer safety and overall made the entire process more efficient for the customer and the business.
A report by Fast Casual in September 2021, stated that technology & automation could help to double a restaurants revenue even with reduced staffing.
Moving technology into the kitchen
Time savings can also be made by introducing technology into the kitchen. The simplest thing many businesses can do is ensure receipts are printing direct to the kitchen, not requiring staff to run tickets back and forth. This can be taken a step further having separate printers for different areas of the kitchen, with printouts just for the relevant dishes at each workstation.
Kitchen Display System (KDS), historically used by large fast-food chains, are far more affordable with many Epos providers offering their own or an integrated solution for all budgets. KDS allows more information to be displayed and empowers the back-office to relay updates to the front-of-house through the press of a button or touch of the screen.
Adoption can be done in stages
One common misconception about the adoption of technology is that it must be all or nothing to see any benefit, which simply isn’t the case.
Introducing technology can easily be broken down into stages, and it may be that you achieve 80% of the cost savings and time efficiencies by implementing just a few stages of automation.
Offering some form of online / mobile ordering for takeout or dine in customers carries the least ‘change’ required in your existing practices. Most of the work required to get up and running is done by your chosen supplier, and once live there is an immediate saving in staff time not having to take orders and payments manually, either over the phone or in person at the table.
Moving the printing from front of house to back of house can also generate some significant staff time savings but this can sometimes be restricted by network / internet connectivity, but usually overcome with wireless adapters or similar.
Going the final step with Kitchen Display Screens or providing staff with portable ordering devices do have additional benefits, but these can be adopted later down the line as the cost compared to the benefit can be more marginal.
The key is finding the right technology partner!
Whether you are looking to make some small changes or go fully digital, the critical part of the decision is finding the right partner who can help you through every step of the process.
App4 provide a complete suite of proven and trusted online and mobile ordering solutions and integrate with a wide variety of partners, linking with your epos, kitchen management, delivery service and reporting systems, allowing you to maximise the benefits technology can bring to your business.