AI forecasting can help managers order exactly what they need, and kitchen staff can do exactly as much prep as the forecast calls for—helping to reduce food waste as well as shortages. AI can also optimize shift schedules, “right-sizing” each shift based on AI-forecasted traffic while encouraging employee engagement.
All of this serves to eliminate time-consuming back-office work for perhaps the most critical person at any restaurant location—the general manager.
“In this new hiring era, where wages are increasing and staff is scarce, GMs tend to be more overworked than almost any other person,” Gerace says. “One of the biggest impairments to restaurant productivity is GM turnover, because performance suffers when a new GM has to build context for the first several months. Profitability is increased significantly when GMs are retained, and they’re staying fulfilled in their roles.”
When GMs are taking time out of their days to make Excel spreadsheets, post paper schedules, and email and call employees, it makes sense they’d wonder if their time could be more effectively spent on other, higher-level tasks.
Gerace estimates GMs spend about a quarter of their time building and reworking schedules—time that could be spent on activities contributing more directly to the bottom line, like fine-tuning promotions or special menu offerings. “Good GMs want to do the right thing and contribute to successful and profitable operations,” he says. “In the back of their minds—and probably every person’s mind today—they’re thinking administrative-level tasks probably don’t add as much value as when they get to apply their core expertise in their core capabilities. GMs are more fulfilled when you reduce or eliminate admin work and help them be more productive for the business.”