From top chefs to exemplary wait staff, finding and retaining the best talent in the restaurant business has never been easy, and the pandemic and the state of the economy have certainly made things an even bigger challenge. 

Amid quarantines, social distancing and face mask mandates, small and midsize restaurant owners have had to reinvent their operations while helping customers stay satisfied with flexible new eating options. Examples include online ordering and curbside delivery, even as proprietors are grappling with record high employee vacancies. 

As we’ve seen across our customer base, many of our restaurant industry customers are turning to technology to meet their customer expectations and transform their operations and attract, retain and grow the best workforce possible. With the recent expansion of 5G nationwide networks, the future is much closer to reality than ever before, as this convenient, fast and reliable connectivity solution powers the technologies of today. 

Recruiting gets a digital makeover

When it comes to bringing in and evaluating new employees, the old model of walk-in paper applications and sit-down interviews in the corner booth looks increasingly antiquated in 2022. Today, tech savvy restaurant owners are using modern tools from the corporate world, like job boards to seek candidates, process applications and conduct remote panel and individual interviews over video calls as a first step in the vetting process, no matter where the candidate is located. 

This is giving restaurant owners at even the smallest of eateries the same reach and access to a national talent pool as much larger food chains. By casting a wider digital net in their efforts to locate and consider all the right candidates for the job and boost their offer to acceptance ratio, these restaurant owners can bring on a best-in-class team while gaining speed and efficiency to focus on driving the bottom line.

Food service goes high tech

While the human touch will always be essential in food service, digitization has become a categorical imperative. In fact, according to our recent Small and Midsize Business Outlook and Technology Adoption Study, 63 percent of respondents have transitioned to digital online operations in the past year. In the restaurant space in particular, the pace of innovation is rapid as some restaurants are already using roving robots to help serve hungry customers and much more is on the way with the widening use of self-service kiosks for ordering and payment.

The benefits of these automated solutions go beyond employment. Sensors connected to fast 5G networks can track the number and type of delivery containers needed at rush times. Machine vision systems, meanwhile, continuously scan the kitchen and dining areas for spills, reducing a common risk of injury caused by slips and falls.

The last mile for restaurants also continues to be an area for growth as establishments look to remove the friction from transactions. From touchless platforms to card readers, finding new ways for businesses to easily expedite transactions has become more and more important. 

Enabling all of these interconnected systems are networking solutions like 5G, which can manage this growing volume of robots and IoT sensors quickly and with lower latency. It is also helping many enterprising food lovers move the industry forward with innovative new ideas such as ghost kitchens, which are professional kitchens that exist exclusively for online ordering and delivery. 

The future of food service is digital

As many entrepreneurial restaurant owners already know, technology has become a key ingredient for success and this trend is likely to continue, eventually becoming the norm. With the deployment of advanced 5G networks and myriad digital tools at their disposal, restaurants have become a prime application for an array of advanced technology in the real world that can improve both hiring potential and the customer experience.

Restaurants certainly aren’t the only ones using technology as a recipe for success. According to our recent Small and Midsize Business Outlook and Technology Adoption Study, nearly 40 percent of decision makers at small and medium-size businesses say they have added net-new remote work or flex work hours during the pandemic. Furthermore, 79 percent either offer or plan to soon offer incentives to attract and retain employees. 

Just like any fine meal, bringing these ingredients together in the perfect way is what can transform an average plate of food into an unforgettable five-star dining experience. It’s just a matter of finding the same perfect combination for restaurant owners looking to add workers and grow their business. 

For restaurateurs looking to learn more, Verizon’s Small and Medium Business Days take place September 8–14, where businesses can speak to a business specialist regarding how they can digitize their business.

As Chief Revenue Officer, Verizon Business Markets & SaaS Team, Aparna Khurjekar is responsible for the company’s mid-market wireless and wireline offerings and Fios B2B. The team of 3000+ sales professionals guide customers through their digitally transformed journeys with innovative managed solutions for total communications, connectivity, and collaboration.

Outside Insights, Story, Technology