How to increase staff productivity, attain greater operational excellence, and realize faster training times.

COVID-19’s strain on the restaurant industry is without question, but, in recent months, three specific issues have arisen as the main challenges in the industry: profitability squeeze, higher employee turnover, and a need for faster employee training. Alone, each of these factors can put stress on restaurant operators; combined, they create significant monetary losses.

The National Restaurant Association reported in June that the restaurant industry lost $120 billion from March to May of this year, fueling a grim projected $240 billion loss by the end of the year. The National Restaurant Association also reported that turnover in 2018 was 74.9 percent—a record high since the previous recession—creating additional hiring and training costs. Meanwhile, low employee morale decreases productivity and drives higher turnover.

Yet these challenges are not insurmountable. In fact, Bob Michelson, president and senior vice president of customer success at UPshow, a back-of-house digital signage software provider, posits that all of these issues can be solved by tackling three areas:

1.  Drive employee productivity with motivational tools

While driving employee productivity seems like yet another challenge for the restaurant industry, it’s actually easier than many leaders think. “Providing employees with real-time feedback on their performance and tying performance to incentives helps overcome the profitability squeeze,” Michelson says. “Instant recognition and peer pressure have proven to be great motivators.

For example, Michelson says that a fast-casual restaurant might want wait-staff to promote a high-end beer or dessert to help drive sales. Rather than simply telling the staff to promote a $10 drink instead of a $6 drink and reviewing performance days later, team members view real-time rankings of sales by wait-staff to see who served the most high-end beverages through a back-of-house leaderboard.

Further, Michelson says, “Those brands that want to encourage multi-store performance and camaraderie amongst all their staff can place leaderboards in each store to track and rank groups of stores. This strategy highlights which locations are driving the largest same-store sales increases or other metrics, such as customer satisfaction results.”

2.  Increase operational excellence and employee engagement

“The Harvard Business Review reports that engaged employees have 65 percent less turnover, and they are also 20–22 percent more productive,” Michelson says. “So, if a restaurant can impact engagement, they can improve retention and drive productivity, which also helps overcome the profitability squeeze.”

Providing real-time information on KPIs, processes, and results has proven to be one of the most impactful drivers of operational excellence. Usually, restaurants use white boards to jot down KPIs—such as speed of service—or make notes about what menu items have sold out. Using a communication platform surfaces that information consistently and in real time.

Some restaurants deliver highly visible information to employees, like updated benefit announcements, open-shift availabilities, and job opportunities on back-of-house screens.

3.  Faster Employee Training

With 75 percent annual employee turnover rates, restaurants face an ever-expanding pressure to train employees to become productive faster than ever. Traditional access to training materials through corporate websites or Intranets is often confusing and time consuming for employees. 

“Better performing restaurants promote employee training announcements via back-of-house TV screens and support employees easily accessing courses and training through QR codes,” says Michelson. According to Michelson, restaurants that use this approach to training have seen greater than 10 percent faster times for employees to become trained and productive.

“As restaurants face these challenges, having a single software solution that handles multiple back-of-house needs, like UPshow, is highly recommended. Alternatively, restaurants face the daunting task of deploying and integrating point solutions that address singular challenges from multiple vendors,” Michelson says.

Supplemental services offered by vendors like UPshow further enable restaurants to get the most out of the technology. A sophisticated creative team will support customers in designing the content and layout for their screens. “There is a misconception that data isn’t useful to employees and will only confuse them,” Michelson says. “But often, that is because it isn’t presented in an easily consumable way. We help restaurants communicate better and surface data in consumable ways to bring back the employee engagement and profitability they depend on.”

To learn more about how UPshow can help your brand achieve greater profitability and operational excellence, visit the UPshow website.

Sponsored Content