How to Utilize Technology to Keep Your Restaurant Staff Safe This Winter

With the COVID-19 pandemic surging across the country, it’s more important now than ever before to focus on employee safety. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and surges in many parts of the country, restaurant owners are continuing to navigate constantly changing guidelines for operating their restaurants. The major focus of these guidelines is keeping customers safe, but it’s equally important to consider the safety of employees.

While restaurant owners can put six feet between tables, limit dining room capacity or close indoor dining completely, it’s much harder to create a safe environment in the back of the house. Someone still has to prepare and cook food, serve it, clean counters, vacuum and mop, take orders and accomplish many other day-to-day restaurant tasks— typically in a small, enclosed space. 

Now, with winter setting in, it will be even harder to keep outdoor dining a viable option in many cities. That means your back-of-house employees will need every advantage they can find. For restaurant owners, the answer lies in the technology. 

86 Paper Chits

For those who haven’t gone fully digital with their ordering system, now is the time to reconsider. Think of all the hands that have to touch a paper chit to complete an order. A fully integrated, cloud-based POS and kitchen display system allows front-of-house staff to submit orders and multiple back-of-house staff members to access those orders without any physical contact. 

Keep Masks On, But Get In Sync

Like a little cooking coach in the kitchen, today’s kitchen display systems calculate cook times and tell you when each component of an order needs to be fired, dropped, whipped or chopped. They can get the whole kitchen in sync by coordinating various stations without all the usual shouting over the din of clanging pots. It also removes the risk involved when someone must lower their mask to be better understood by other team members.

Reduce the Number of Shared Surfaces

Just as customers don’t want to touch menus handled by every other customer, your staff doesn’t want to press the same POS buttons and touchscreens every other person touched that day. That’s why rather than having one central POS — which each order-taker must touch — a cloud-based system allows each server to have their own POS tablet. That also means you avoid crowded log jams as servers take turns inputting their orders. 

Keep Tables Turning and Interactions Short

By using a system that efficiently tracks orders, you’re minimizing the chance of mistakes, which may not only annoy a customer, but also forces your staff to have longer, more frequent interactions with customers. Plus, an integrated ordering system increases the chance that to-go pick up times match customers’ expectations, while reducing long customer lines and the amount of time your staff needs to interact face-to-face with customers. 

Increase Communication for Everyone

Non-native English speaking workers, as well as newer or less-trained employees, also benefit from the intuitive design of today’s cloud-based kitchen ordering systems. With a few clicks of a button, order confusion is reduced, as is needless back-and-forth between the kitchen and front-of-the-house staff. Even when COVID-19 is a bad memory, your multilingual workplace will remain efficient. 

As we approach a long, cold winter, now is a great time to set your employees (and your restaurant) up for success by embracing technology to increase safety and operational efficiency.