Christmas is just 6 weeks away, and everyone is getting ready for what should be the busiest period of the year!
However, according to new research by Haysmacintyre, 81% of operators aren’t optimistic about the prospects of their own businesses due to various ongoing challenges.
The surge in energy bills and food price inflation, coupled with a severe labour shortage, makes the end of 2022 one of the most difficult periods to overcome for the industry.
A new Lumina Intelligence report suggests the UK restaurant market will recover 94% of its 2019 pre-pandemic value in 2022.
Despite this, many businesses have had to make harsh decisions to increase menu prices, downsize menu offerings, reduce opening hours and put projects on hold.
But how is labour shortage impacting the industry?
Whilst operators can act internally to find solutions, it is difficult to be proactive on the labour issue.
According to the most recent Office of National Statistics numbers, there are up to 174,000 vacancies in the hospitality industry (source from July 2022).
The most affected roles are the two most vital in running a restaurant: chefs and front-of-house staff.
Of those operators with vacancies, the survey suggested that 81% are struggling to fill front-of-house roles, and 76% for chefs.
It seems that the staffing issue is not going away any time soon. And operators will have to be resilient in facing these challenges.
Chef Jason Atherton recently described the problem: “I can't open the Berners Tavern at lunchtime because I have no staff. I can only open for breakfasts for hotel guests. Social Eating House is on its knees. I just can't get any chefs for that kitchen whatsoever…"
Increasing costs have made running a restaurant very expensive, pushing operators to take harsh operating decisions.
At the same time - short-staffed - operators have prioritised front-of-house, customer-centric operations, making it harder for them to monitor and track the impact of their decisions.
This is creating a catch 22.
What if technology could be part of the solution?
It could act as the bridge:
So, how could this be implemented in theory? How could technology support key team members whilst keeping operations running well?
‘At the moment it is difficult for us to plan ahead, we just want to get through that period, and customers are our priority,’ said an Exec-chef who recently spoke with Mise En Place. He then elaborated on how this can affect operational monitoring
‘At the same time, we can hardly rely on accurate information [data] - I’ve got new staff starting every week, lacking training on our systems, and it requires so much data entry and monitoring to maintain smooth systems…. So unless we see big variances, we take it as good enough.’
This is an illuminating look into the ways in which these shortages are being experienced in operations and affecting key business insights.
Though our article will focus largely on optimising staff resources for enhancing back office tasks and operations, we do so with a keen awareness that staff are key to serving customers and are already stretched very thin.
We’ll draw a picture of how and where key staff members are involved across every part of the business.
Then, we’ll point out how technology & AI could be applied to maintain smooth data flow in order to track & optimise operations.
Tracking the flow of goods (food & beverages) and the steps necessary to move them between each stage is a great way we used to understand where improvements could be made and how it would support teams.
Let’s take the journey of a burger patty:
A burger patty is (1) ordered and then received from suppliers. It is then (2) stored and later (3) transformed (prepared and cooked) by chefs, before finally being (4) sold to customers.
Each distinct step of the journey contains info that needs to be recorded through different platforms by different people:
a) From supplier to restaurant:
A PO (Purchasing Order) is sent to a supplier, who sends goods and an invoice in return. This needs to be approved by a team member, before being added to a back-office and/or an accounting solution, before being reviewed by a manager and an accountant.
At least 3 people (a chef, an accountant, a manager) need to be involved in the process, and 2 or 3 systems.
b) Inside the restaurant
Goods are received, stored, transformed and sold. It involves tasks such as:
…And of course, cooking food and serving it to the customers!
This is a simplistic model of some of the major tasks involved in the day-to-day running of a restaurant, and we can see that most of them are done by either chefs or the front of house team.
In this current climate, operators who have shifted the focus to customers, may have left aside some of these tasks that could be seen as secondary, to free up these key staff members..
Well, what if technology could alleviate some of these tedious tasks through automation?
Ultimately, keeping information flowing back smoothly is the key to monitoring actions put in place to overcome rising costs. Making informed changes is the best way to keep afloat during these difficult times.
So, let’s uncover 4 ways technology and AI could be leveraged to take away some of the workload from staff members whilstkeeping healthy data flowing back.
Or how our self-maintaining databases solution helps operators save 20+ hours of admin per month per location.
We’ve spoken about how technology can be used to alleviate some of the workload for your team members.
However, two keys elements in an optimal solution remain:
Let’s explore how technology & AI can enable a high quality flow of information, without overburdening your staffing resources:
What is SSOT?
SSOT is a concept that an organisation can apply as part of its information architecture to ensure that everyone in the organisation uses the same data when making business decisions.
The benefits of this architecture are:
Every organisation should ensure and optimise the flow of info between different systems.
What do we mean by self-maintaining databases?
Over the course of rolling out our platform, we realised two things:
These two issues, particularly database maintenance, had a big impact on running operations and producing reports.
Over the past year, we’ve developed a solution to supplement our user’s workforce in this regard, allowing them to:
Here are the 3 major benefits:
Our solution is just one of various ways that technology & AI and can help you improve your information and data without sacrificing valuable time and staff resources.
The future of hospitality will be made up of:
Getting a head start now in these areas could not only help you to take the edge off during these times of staffing crisis, but will also position you perfectly for the hospitality industry of the future.
If you think your business could benefit from our solution, let’s have a chat at email@example.com