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Solving the restaurant staffing crisis

Solving the restaurant staffing crisis

The contemporary restaurant hiring environment is beset by challenges. Legacy issues such as staff shortages and poor pay have been exacerbated by the ongoing effects of Brexit, COVID-19, rising wholesale costs and F&B supply chain issues. 

But weaving between these staff shortages lies the feeling that the restaurant industry simply isn’t looking after its people. High rates of staff burnout are a testament to this, with a survey by Hospitality Action highlighting how 68% of hospitality workers in the UK have reported experiencing poor mental health. 

And whilst research shows this is down to factors such as exhaustion, emotional labour and worries about job security, an underappreciated factor could lie in the very tangible, day-to-day processes that bring people into the hospitality industry and develop them within it. 

These processes – talent attraction, employer brand promotion, onboarding, staff training, ongoing L&D, and performance management – are the backbone of any employee’s working day. 

For restaurant workers, these micro-processes are integral in connecting them with:

  • The fruits of their labour (e.g. wonderful customer experiences),  
  • Their employer (e.g. building trust and support between hierarchies),  
  • Their community (e.g. feeling valued and respected by the place they work), 
  • Their career safety (e.g. that their job can provide a sense of structure, safety, and potential to grow and learn). 

In the restaurant industry fraught with staff shortages, these employee touchpoints are critical to maintaining service and staffing levels when everyone else is floundering on job boards. 

And, when restaurant 90-day staff turnover is sitting at 35.63%, over double that of the national average (9.09%), hospitality managers need to know that beyond the long hours and hard yards of running a restaurant or pub, their processes work for them and their people! 

elementsuite has developed a toolbox of intelligent, data-led HR technologies specifically targeting the hospitality industry and the unique challenges restaurant owners face in hiring and retaining talent. Through our suite of enterprise HR management tools, we cover everything from streamlining payroll to staffing at scale, from pre-work engagement to ongoing learning and development of skills. We provide a solution to every conceivable staff shortages problem faced by restaurant and hospitality HR teams. 

Here is how we do it! 

Attraction at scale and speed

As in any industry, hiring at scale and speed is a cornerstone of recruitment operations. In a sector that’s been as plagued by high staff turnover as hospitality, hiring at scale and speed is absolutely foundational to operational success. 

We find that the typical HR and recruitment practice isn’t up to handle the rapid staff attraction that keeps restaurants afloat, especially at peak times of the year like Christmas and summer. However, elementsuite’s integrated all-in-one HR platform enables hiring managers to attract candidates using micro-site and social media technology directly and manages talent attraction and integration at speed.

Our recruitment module - recruit - offers a mobile-friendly hiring experience, allowing managers to easily identify star candidates on the move and communicate quickly and easily with them. Plus, our interactive hiring dashboards mean hiring managers can incorporate real-time metrics into hiring strategies and see where and how talent attraction is working…or where it isn’t working!

And through our simple candidate portal, all the nitty gritty HR stuff is contained in one, easy-to-access space, from right-to-work checks to interview prep and organisation. 

Onboarding fit for hospitality

As anyone in HR knows, onboarding is one of the most critical moments in staff development. The transition from applicant to employee must be smooth, seamless and stress-free. 

But hospitality never does anything by halves. Often, new employees find themselves being onboarded on the fly, learning about their work, the brand, the customer profile, the menu, the floor plan and the other staff in a kind of hybrid “in at the deep end, sink or swim” environment. 

To that end, we wanted to make a candidate-centric, class-leading onboarding portal to enable new starters to be rapidly engaged and settled into their new job without hassle and without expecting them to run tables or learn an allergen list simultaneously. 

Our onboarding software, contained within our recruit module, holds a suite of simple and effective tools built to engage new staff immediately, from learning and development platforms to novel social tools, digital contract signature tools to real-time applicant tracking – all available before a new hire’s start date, and all designed to keep managers up to date with every new hire.

Learning and upskilling on-the-go

One of the biggest issues in hospitality staff development, and a significant driver of high staff turnover – is the lack of learning and development opportunities or, when L&D is offered, training is sporadic, inconsistent and irritatingly analogue.

L&D and upskilling is an even more challenging task in the restaurant sector when you have to consider staff movements and rota sensitivities. Employees are constantly on the move, staff levels are a finely tuned art, and without ample planning, taking a staff member out of the line can significantly impact service and customer satisfaction.

But we’ve built a fix via our customisable L&D module ​​learn. 

This module is a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) that offers a variety of flexible, customisable learning environments to suit every type of worker. Critically, learning is provided in bite-sized pieces so staff can engage on the go and at their own pace

In short, it’s a platform where staff can see investment in their time. Training is built into the fabric of real-time, real-life restaurant work – the long hours, the antisocial schedules, and the always-on-your-feet energy means hours at a desk doing quizzes aren’t going to cut it.

These learning modules are offered at the point of need via mobile, tablet or computer; they are easily trackable and accessible by management, resulting in high rates of L&D completion, better performance and staff feedback, and more consistent buy-in from staff. 

Multi-site management

Our work module is ideal for multi-site operations because it’s built with connectivity – between staff, budget, and HR – in mind.

Consider the following: Uni students who study in different cities. If a multi-site restaurant chain has a site in both the student’s home town and university town, elementsuite’s work and pay modules seamlessly work together to embed staff in multiple sites, organise rotas, communicate with staff, and get staff paid without hassle.

That way, your employees can choose their working locations, and you get staff shortages filled with already established and well-trained employees who know your restaurant – a win-win.

Resource automation

Long gone are the days of cutting FOH hours when confronted with a quiet lunch – now, Managers can better predict demand and make sure their staff are in the right place at the right time, ahead of time. 

Ultimately, the key benefit of our workforce management modules (specifically our Employee Time and Attendance Software and our Enterprise Workforce Management (WFM) Software) is how they help protect labour costs. 

Our software does this in several ways, such as automating accurate labour forecasts utilising multi-channel data, including bookings, reservations and staff attendance. This, in turn, builds an incredibly accurate labour model that optimises any workforce – even across multiple sites – and balances best-in-class customer service with a realistic, sustainable budget management process. 

Beyond the obvious operational benefits this gives an employer, it helps staff rest assured their bosses know how to staff when to staff, and when to allocate resources at peak times so no one is left running sections on their own or managing the line solo with a full restaurant. If anything, our software is staff confidence made real. 

Empowering the future of hospitality

In a sector where staff shortages can be crippling, our enterprise HR management tools offer a restaurant lifeline. With elementsuite, people managers can attract and retain top talent, streamline onboarding, provide continuous learning opportunities, and optimise labour resources precisely.  

Our enterprise HR software is more than just a tool; it’s a catalyst for improved employee well-being and operational excellence. So don’t let the ongoing staffing crisis hinder your restaurant’s growth and potential. Take the first step toward a brighter future for your establishment. 

Discover first-hand how our intelligent HR technologies can transform your restaurant’s workforce management. Schedule a demo with us now, and let’s embark on a journey towards operational excellence and employee satisfaction.

Useful resources

HRDs’ guide to successful software implementation – Part 1: Identifying Your Requirements

The role of HR metrics in building a strong retention culture

A Day of Triumph in Hospitality HR Management

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