Dealing With Restaurant Server Staffing Issues
Trouble Finding Staff? You’re not alone.
We want to give everyone who’s entering the hospitality industry a fair chance. But after hundreds of conversations with restaurant owners, operators, managers and stakeholders, we keep hearing the same thing:
“It’s difficult to find quality staff.”
Obviously this isn’t true in all cases and there are many talented individuals pursuing careers or employment in hospitality, but it’s unfortunately a common topic in conversations.
Finding and Retaining Staff
Not only are 80% of restaurant operators saying they are short staffed, the average tenure for a restaurant worker is just 56 days. This marks an incredibly high turnover rate of 23% for the industry.
Servers top the charts as being the most understaffed position at 30%.
It’s no wonder that restaurant operators can feel trapped in a hamster wheel of hiring and training, only to have the staff member underperform or eventually quit, restarting the cycle once again.
The question has become: How long will this last?
Unfortunately, the future of hiring and retaining serving staff is looking bleak for the coming years. Tourism HR Canada is predicting the labour shortage will continue until 2028.
Labour Shortages Impacting Quality of Service
A byproduct of a short staffed restaurant is often to the detriment of the diner. In Yelp’s 2022 State of The Restaurant Industry report, their data shows that consumers mentioned long waits (23%) and short staffing (229%) more in reviews than in Q1 of 2022.
In an interview with CNBC, a diner reflecting on their experience with extended wait times at a local restaurant said:
“It was the type of experience that makes me not want to eat out as much. I felt bad for the servers, because they were trying, but they could only do so much.”
This is a common sentiment felt by restaurant-goers across the country.
It’s safe to say that providing great service and a great dining experience is salient for restaurant operators.
To many operators, great service relies on great staff. They are mutually exclusive. And the human element of full-service is non-negotiable.
“Great staff is the only way to provide a great experience“.
But what happens when there just isn’t the same supply of great staff like there was years ago? Where do operators draw the line between sacrificing quality of service in pursuit of what great service looked like in the past?
Technology as a Tool for Service
Restaurants across North America are tapping on technology to help weather staffing woes, and provide great service.
Using systems such as QR code ordering or mobile payments can actually enhance the dining experience.
This stems from a young population that relies on their mobile devices like never before.
Most consumers is used to getting everything on demand. Whether that’s an Uber, takeout food, or movies, people are used to getting what they want, when they want it and customized to their liking.
In a world where this is a reality for most, it’s quite easy for consumers to get upset or have a negative experience when something takes them more time than they expect. Whether that is waiting to place an order, splitting the bill or waiting for a payment terminal – these are all quite painful realities for guests dining at an understaffed restaurant.
We’ve seen the benefits that QR code ordering and payment can bring to a restaurant first hand.
Here are some of the benefits one of our restaurant saw after leveraging QR Code ordering and payment:
- One server covering 15 tables on a busy, Saturday night.
- Table turn time decrease by 15%
- Average cheque size increased by 10%
- 5 star reviews on Yelp and Google
- 4 benefits of a QR code ordering system for restaurants
- Why consumers spend more from mobile devices
- Why digital tab systems work at restaurants