Offsetting Restaurant Labor Demands with Technology

Revel Blog | Chris Lybeer | July 25, 2022 |


In this guest blog post, Revel’s Chief Strategy Officer Chris Lybeer showcases how technology can help offset the current labor demands still impacting the restaurant industry. In case you missed his last blog post, Chris highlights the importance of native delivery offerings, and offers tips to simplify delivery management for restaurants.

The Labor Market is on the Mend, But is Still Recovering 

According to the National Restaurant Association, April marked the fifth consecutive month of slowing job growth in the restaurant industry. On a brighter note, April was also the 16th consecutive month of employment growth in the industry, showing that restaurant workers are returning to the industry. 

During the first few months of lockdowns, many of us felt the extreme shift in restaurant operations, a shift that left millions of restaurant workers furloughed or laid off. The release of the COVID-19 vaccine around February of 2021 led to some solid hiring momentum, but the industry as a whole has yet to completely recover. 

Hiring continues to be a challenge for restaurants, which is the result of skilled restaurant workers shifting careers during the pandemic, but also aggressive competition. You’ve likely noticed signs outside many of your favorite restaurants announcing that they’re hiring and boasting competitive benefits and pay. 

Savvy operators have realized that having the right technology in place to offset operational burdens on their employees is a huge win for retention. In this post, I’m sharing just a few of the ways technology can make your restaurant a better place to work for employees at every level. 

Monthly Change in Eating & Drinking Place Employment.

1. Make Integrated Kitchen Management a Priority 

Equipping your back-of-house (BOH) with a kitchen display system (KDS) can be a huge factor in improving your kitchen efficiency and operational quality, regardless of your restaurant concept. 

With integrated kitchen management, your staff will be able to manage orders more efficiently and eliminate any gaps with automatic syncing between your kitchen display system, point of sale (POS) and kitchen management system as the KDS captures order information in real-time and displays it digitally for kitchen staff to execute. 

Direct integration and synching also helps reduce the potential for order errors, which helps your team with efficiency in a couple of ways. For one, when orders are relayed correctly the first time, your cooks won’t waste valuable time prepping the wrong food and correcting the order later. You will also see some front-of-house efficiencies here, because your guest-facing employees won’t have to disrupt other orders to resubmit an order that wasn’t properly executed the first time. Technology helps tighten the flow of operations and speed up your service overall.

Plus, ditching paper tickets, or at least having them work in tandem with your KDS, is not only better for the environment, but it reduces the burden on staff.

As a bonus, analytics from your KDS will show you exactly how much time to allow for cooking your various menu items, and ingredient-level reporting provides insights to help with inventory purchases and menu changes.

Learn about Revel's KDS [video]

2. Self-Service Technology Reduces Demands on the Labor Market 

Technavio reports that the self-service kiosk market is expected to grow by USD 2.97 billion from 2020 to 2025. Those growth numbers alone speak volumes—the demand for self-service technology is here. So, what benefits can this type of technology offer your business? 

Self-service kiosks empower customers to place orders and pay with confidence through an intuitive, on-screen journey. The result is reduced interpersonal contact and increased order accuracy and service speed. Perhaps most importantly, it helps restaurant staff focus on strategic and service-oriented tasks, while increasing operational efficiency across the board. 

Fast casual eatery Balance Pan-Asian Grille recently discussed their success with self-service kiosks on an episode of the Restaurant and Retail Revel(ations) podcast. Tune in to hear how they increased their average ticket size from $13.50 to $17.50 by replacing staff standing behind a POS with self-service kiosks. 

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t brag on Revel’s Kiosk XT offering for a moment. Kiosk XT is a fully integrated, brandable, self-service solution, and you can see it in action in the webinar linked below. 

Watch a webinar featuring self-service tech on-demand

3. Invest in Employee Scheduling and Labor Forecasting Tools

Implementing integrated technology and rethinking your service model can play big roles in talent acquisition and retention.

Being able to accurately forecast business costs—including labor costs—will help your business thrive. With the right POS, owners and managers have the ability to see projected labor costs and the percentage of sales, enabling them to set schedules in a way that ensures profitability and business success. 

A modern POS platform, paired with leading employee scheduling and team management software, can add efficiencies to your operations that staff appreciate—including streamlined training and staff scheduling. 

Market leading Revel Integrated Partner 7shifts, for example, can add efficiencies to your operations that staff appreciate—including streamlined training and staff scheduling. The result is a team management toolkit built for a modern restaurant, which can be really attractive to potential new employees in search of an employer that offers predictable schedules and timely updates. 

Watch a webinar with 7shifts on-demand

4. Revel SmartOrder 

Our Revel team brought Revel SmartPay to market to help restaurateurs provide customers with a convenient option to pay via a contactless, mobile payments solution. Revel SmartPay allows guests to pay their bills from their smartphones, either by scanning a QR code or by following a link sent through SMS. That speeds up table turns, increases tips, and reduces labor time.

Now we are addinghave added Revel SmartOrder, a solution that empowers customers to not only pay at the table, but also place their orders from their smartphones at the table. This will allow your staff to focus even more on the guest experience, improve order accuracy, and can often lead to increased check sizes. Not only that, but SmartOrder could significantly offset the number of employees you need to effectively staff each shift, with technology stepping in to relay crucial order information directly to the kitchen. 

Impress Potential New Hires with the Right Technology 

The labor market continues to be tough, there’s no getting around that. However, technology really can be a huge asset to combatting the challenges presented by the current labor market. When you are hiring and competing for employees, be sure you are in a position to tell them your tech operations run smoothly and they’ll have a maximum opportunity for tips! I hope you’ll explore just one of the options discussed in this post, or browse the many other solutions available on our product page

If you’re interested in a free demo of Revel, click here or give us a call at +1 (833) 437-3835.