In 2021, amid pandemic-driven shifts in the workforce, three-fourths of restaurant operators reported recruiting and retaining employees was their top concern. And no matter how you slice it, high turnover rates continue to nag restaurant operators.
Perhaps now more than ever, restaurant operators face daunting HR challenges—challenges that, if not properly addressed, could jeopardize a restaurant’s success or even its survival. Here are five tips for navigating HR challenges at your restaurant.
1. Take On Recruitment and Retention
These days, hiring may rank as your restaurant’s biggest headache. It’s not a problem being felt only by the restaurant industry; employers of all types report trouble recruiting and retaining employees as the pandemic wanes.
Well, how do you ensure your restaurant has enough staff so that all of your shifts are properly covered? Among the recommendations for recruitment and retention are:
- Look outside the hospitality industry to recruit workers.
- Consider promoting from within to reward your best employees.
- Show your appreciation for employees by, for instance, giving out gift cards, handing out movie tickets or simply writing a thank-you note to recognize a job well done.
- Cross-train workers so you can fill staffing gaps when necessary.
- Provide ample time to train new employees.
- Offer easy-to-understand information about workplace benefits.
2. Provide Robust Benefits
The competition for restaurant workers is fierce. Your restaurant can become more competitive in the talent race by offering attractive benefits. These might include:
- Health and wellness offerings. “Health insurance is the most important benefit you can offer, and it’s a benefit that employees now value more than ever,” according to HR benefits administrator Winston Benefits.
- Above-average pay.
- Cash bonuses.
- Paid time off.
- Transportation allowances.
- Tuition assistance.
- Flexible scheduling.
- Free or reduced-cost meals.
- Financial planning services.
- Career planning services.
Winston Benefits says that “providing quality benefits for your employees can mean a world of difference for your restaurant business, for candidate attraction and retention, and also to create the best organizational culture you can.”
3. Invest in HR Tools
Various tech tools can make HR tasks smoother.
For example, have you considered setting up a web portal where employees can undergo training? Or have you looked into software that can help manage employees’ time and tips? What about installing a system that simplifies scheduling?
Yes, there’ll likely be both upfront and ongoing costs associated with adding technology. But those costs can easily be offset by saving the time and effort spent on an array of HR needs.
4. Maintain Compliance With Regulations
A slew of federal, state and local regulations affect how you run your restaurant. If you fail to pay close attention to changes in these regulations, you could wind up paying the price in the form of penalties or lawsuits.
You might be able to hire an outside consultant to keep with regulations related to things like pay and safety. But if you can’t afford that, it’s vital to constantly educate yourself about these regulations.
Furthermore, it’s critical to keep your workers, particularly managers, informed about the buffet of regulations that impact restaurants.
5. Add Technology for Ordering and Paying
One way to keep things moving more smoothly from a staffing standpoint is to install technology like QR codes for ordering food or at-the-table devices for paying tabs.
During the pandemic, many restaurants replaced traditional menus with menus enabled by QR codes to provide a contactless experience. If you’ve already embraced QR codes, keep it up. If you haven’t embraced QR codes, then give them a try.
As for at-the-table payment devices, they also save staffers’ time. The Texas Roadhouse chain recently launched a pay-at-the-table system called Roadhouse Pay. The company reports its tablet-based system has reduced table turns by five minutes and led to higher tips for waitstaff.
Are you wondering how technology can benefit your HR efforts? Schedule a demo today with DCRS to see which tools can help you navigate your restaurant’s HR challenges.