In 2021, the turnover rate for quick-service restaurants was 144 percent, according to the National Restaurant Association. However, better communication can help reduce costly turnover. According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 57 percent of business leaders cite retention and employee satisfaction as their first priority, above productivity and customer satisfaction.
While some restaurant operators may think using a free text platform is sufficient, collaboration apps are worth investing in to cultivate a professional environment and streamline processes like inventory, project management, document sharing, and data analytics. “I’m sure everyone has a tool for chat,” says Andy Wang, general manager of Lark at ByteDance. “It could be as simple as just using your phone to text each other or using social media to double as a communication platform. I think the challenge is to start making the culture of communication more professional and to use communication tools that are centralized and have processes and standards that apply to everything.”
When restaurants create a culture of professionalism, turnover rates can decrease as employees have more satisfaction with the culture of the business. High turnover within the restaurant industry is accepted as a reality. Still it can be combated with solutions that vary from task automation to greater employee support with Wikis and help desks that answer common questions on demand. “One of the magic moments we see with our customers when they start using a chat and communication platform is how they behave more like a professional company. Their employees start treating their jobs more like a career and not just like a gig,” Wang says.
Communication not only helps aid professionalism, but it can also create a strong community where people can connect, which also reduces turnover. For example, Lark has a collection of tools including Lark Moments, a social platform that allows people within a company to connect personally, outside of business. “One of our customers—a top 10 chain in the world—has about 100,000 employees,” Wang says. “It used Lark’s built-in social media capabilities and has achieved a 98 percent daily active user rate.”
Better communication is only one facet of a comprehensive collaboration tool like Lark. Many restaurants face challenges with outdated system processes that do not address their modern needs. “It was surprising to meet customers and look at their inventory management and see seven clipboards as their inventory system,” Wang says. Lark platform tools can manage everything from social media and chat to inventory and project management.
Updating manual systems—like clipboard inventory systems—can cut hours from the back-of-house processes and ensure small mistakes no longer have a big impact. “Our customers will use the notification system inside of Lark apps so when a certain ingredient is running low whoever is in charge be it the store manager, or the district manager, or the operations staff, will get a notification saying ‘hi, store number two in Los Angeles is running low on this item,’” Wang says. Lark uses store processes—like POS system data—that may not be easily accessible to operators and puts it at their fingertips. Operators have the opportunity to see revenue, inventory, and so much more on a dashboard system, which can help them identify trends and possible issues.
Lark has chatbots to help address common training issues that arise on the job. Questions like how to reprint a receipt, or what to do if a customer leaves behind their credit card, can be answered by a chatbot that has been informed about company policy. “Employees log into the chatbot on call, and it leads them through a number of choices,” Wang says. “A lot of these questions are repeated. One client now solves 71 percent of those questions through the chatbot. This saves the brand 60,000 hours every year, giving the chain’s most premium staff 60,000 hours back to focus on revenue-generating activities.
The adoption of advanced collaboration platforms like Lark can be a game-changer. These platforms enhance professionalism, foster a culture where employees see their roles as careers rather than gigs, and cultivate a sense of community. This sense of belonging can lead to greater employee loyalty and decreased turnover. Moreover, these platforms can streamline training, inventory, and project management, and save resources by automating tasks. This benefits employees and operators alike. In the ever-evolving landscape of quick-service restaurants, embracing effective collaboration tools is the recipe for success and sustainability.
To learn more, visit the Lark website.