I recently spoke with the owner of several quick-serve restaurants. We were standing in one of his restaurants, and I noticed the dining room was closed. We began to discuss this, and, as I expected, a shortage of workers was the problem. It is no secret that lots of restaurant owners face the same problem. While it is not an option we want to entertain, we must ask ourselves the question, What do I do if my employees never return?
Can Drive-Thru Save My Restaurant
For some owners, the answer appears to be, Go all-in on Drive-Thru. Drive-Thru, for many restaurants, saved and even grew their business. But others do not have that luxury. And as the owner I spoke to noted, as restaurants without Drive-Thru open up again, much of the additional Drive-Thru traffic will go away in preference to dine-in eating. So, leverage Drive-Thru for all it is worth, but do not bet the farm on it.
If your employees never come back…do this.
First, even if your employees are slow in coming back, you should leverage technologies like Kiosks, Artificial Intelligence, and Order-at-table solutions. Solutions like these do two things. One, the reduce your need for a large staff. Two the make your operation and remaining staff more efficient.
An efficient restaurant is the key to satisfied customers and increasing profits.
Second, to get your employees to return, you should do things that can make the job more enticing. In a recent interview with QSR Magazine, Steve Cadigan, a talent consultant, said, Owners should…be proactive about how they can competitively position their business with wages, flexible time, and understanding their worker’s needs.
Some workers are electing to stay out of the workforce for various reasons. Some of them will be forced back into the workforce as soon as the unemployment subsidies go away. Other workers have moved to different industries altogether.
Owners want to get the best employees who are re-entering the workforce. Additionally, they want to win back those who have moved on. To accomplish both goals, restaurants must think differently.
How is your restaurant coping with the labor shortage? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.