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Handling a Staffing Shortage

Handling a Staffing Shortage

In the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, many restaurants find themselves scrambling to fill open positions. This staffing shortage presents a new challenge to an industry still recovering from its last financial hit – to provide quality service while staying afloat. Feeser’s wants to support our partners during this challenging time.

Here are some tips on how to handle a staffing shortage at your business.

Pair-down Your Menu

Large menus require more labor to prep and more ingredients to keep in stock. By keeping only your most frequently ordered items, you’ll be able to save money and reduce strain on your employees.

Pre-cooked and prepared foods can also help cut down on labor in your kitchens. With delicious, scratch-tasting items from Feeser’s, you can continue to serve quality to your guests with little prep. We have plenty of fully-cooked, ready to heat items to make it easy.

Reduce Your Hours

To provide an excellent experience to your customers, consider reducing your hours. Identify peak times where you consistently turn the most profit, and pivot to operating only in those windows. Maybe you’re known as the local breakfast spot and only seat a few guests for dinner – take advantage of that opportunity to save on utilities and other operational costs.

Reducing hours during a staffing shortage also ensures that employees are not overworked and keeping staff morale up.

When employees can focus on putting their best effort into shorter work days, there’s less likely to be a customer complaint about service issues or kitchen mistakes.

Limit Your Dining Capacity

Limiting your dining capacity while understaffed ensures that customers experience high-quality service and that the staff works efficiently. Close down less-desirable seating areas and focus on popular booths and tables.

Staggering reservations helps servers and kitchen staff stay on top of tables. First-come-first-serve should also be staggered as this keeps staff from becoming overwhelmed.

Embrace Automation

There are many ways you can automate tasks that you may be falling behind on due to being understaffed. Forget robots – think apps, third-party websites, and online management. By taking advantage of the many automation options available to restaurants, you can streamline many complicated processes and make work easier on your staff. Here are a few recommendations:

ONLINE ORDERING  - Online ordering frees your staff from taking lengthy phone calls. Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats are popular apps for online ordering you should consider. An added bonus is that these apps may introduce you to customers that were not aware of your restaurant before browsing. Adding a page to order through your website is another great way to take advantage of online ordering.

RESERVATION SOFTWARE – Reservation software also frees your staff from having to stop to take a call. Consider adding Tablein, OpenTable, Resy, or other reservation software to your business.

EMPLOYEE SCHEDULING SOFTWARE  - Save your managers time and headaches by delegating employee scheduling to an online program. 7shifts, Homebase, and Deputy are popular software worth checking out.

INVENTORY MANAGEMENT  - Avoid human error and tedious, time-consuming tasks by managing your inventory with software. Marketman and Xtrachef by toast are highly utilized Inventory Management software.

POINT-OF-SALE SYSTEMS-  POS systems offer a suite of options to automate multiple aspects of your business. Tableside order/pay software, mobile and contactless ordering, performance and sales reports, and more are available through one interface. Toast POS, Lightspeed, and Upserve are some of the most recommended POS systems.

Cross-Train Your Staff

Cross-training allows for flexibility throughout your business. With a small staff, a call-out can be disastrous to operations. By cross-training, you ensure that employees can handle multiple areas, should you need them to. Consider training waitstaff in hostess duties, hostesses in bussing, etc.

Take cross-training as an opportunity to build relationships with and between your employees. Employees who enjoy their work environments and feel a sense of comradery are more likely to stay at your business and provide high-quality service to customers.

Be Transparent With Your Customers

Let your customers know things might be slower than they’re used to. By starting a dialogue about your struggles, customers can come to the table prepared to expend a bit more patience than they may have before. These past few years have been difficult for everyone, but by being honest about longer wait times or menu changes. People do understand, but we have to start the conversation.

We can help…

Since the founding of Feeser’s over 120 years ago, we’ve helped connect foodservice with what they need to meet your high standards. To learn more about our products or services, contact your DSR directly, call 1-800-326-2828 or complete our contact form today. We will be happy to be your trusted partner when you need it most. See below for time-saving products that will help you save time in the kitchen.

Content provided in part by UniPro® Foodservice