Summer hiring is in full swing, and many restaurants are struggling to navigate one of their busiest seasons of the year while dealing with ongoing labor shortages and a volatile economy.
Turbulent times call for creative solutions, so focusing on efficiencies and making investments in your staff are the best areas to tackle when it comes to running a restaurant this summer. Here are three strategies to set your business and team up for a successful, profitable season.
Invest in Training Seasonal Workers
It might seem counterintuitive — investing time and resources into employees who will only be on the job for a few months — but making an extra effort with temporary employees will pay off. Not only do better trained employees increase productivity, morale and customer satisfaction, seasonal employees can return year after year or even transition into a full-time role.
When it comes to seasonal workers, treat them as you would any of your year-round employees. Don’t skimp on onboarding and training. Poorly trained employees are more likely to make mistakes and can also become frustrated and leave. According to HourWork data from over 10,000 restaurants, employees are five times more likely to quit in the first 90 days if they feel untrained and unprepared for their role. Consider pairing seasonal hires with year-round employees for mentorship and offering ongoing learning opportunities for new employees.
Reduce Costs by Maximizing Employee Scheduling
Times of stress and uncertainty often call for a brief pause and a deep breath. Step back and really observe your restaurant’s customer demand and labor reporting. In particular, look for times when shifts are underscheduled or overscheduled compared to your revenue. Then work to better match scheduling to the ebbs and flows of customer demand. Adding a workforce management system can help you easily track these data trends, keep overtime expenses in check, and even watch out for time theft.
Once you understand your demand data and how employee time is utilized, consider strategies like cross-training employees, so they’re able to work across different areas or restaurant locations. Not only will you have a larger pool of employees who can handle a range of restaurant roles, it ensures you are using employees’ time to the fullest while also maintaining coverage for areas that may be perpetually understaffed.
Work Smarter and More Efficiently
Good employee communication is key for any business, but only relying on the break room bulletin board to share information isn’t a very effective communication strategy. When managers look around and see workers on break on their phones, it’s a missed opportunity not to utilize this resource to benefit the business.
A team communication app is a perfect upgrade to the bulletin board. These simple systems allow team members and managers to communicate individually or as a group to ask questions, share vital business information, and more.
Team communication apps also protect employee privacy since no phone numbers need to be shared to communicate. They also make it easier for managers to monitor just one communication channel and have a record of conversations.
Adding technology to the mix across your business increases efficiency and saves time. Countless hours and surprising amounts of money can be saved by introducing a variety of tools, like:
- Employee scheduling systems
- Inventory and ordering management
- Takeout or delivery ordering system
- Automated payroll and bookkeeping
Small business owners can spend as much as one full day every week on administrative HR tasks. If you are devoting significant time and manual labor creating schedules or managing payroll, technology can help streamline many business processes.
Online scheduling systems not only empower employees to know when they are working, swap shifts, and easily request time off, they can help businesses stay in compliance and free up managers’ time for more important business tasks.
In addition to tech, an incredibly effective way to determine where productivity is dragging is to ask your team. Ask for suggestions for new equipment and get feedback on processes. Workers who are in the thick of the action day in and day out can tell you the areas where more or fewer employees are needed. Listen to what employees are saying about how to improve business processes and take steps to implement their suggestions.
Doing a deep dive into the true needs of your business, investing in your workers, and maximizing efficiency can go far to set your restaurant business up for success, allowing it thrive during the busiest months of the year.
At the end of the season, create a pleasant exit experience for employees by offering letters of recommendation, if needed, and even providing assistance with resume updates or networking opportunities. Going the extra mile will be remembered when seasonal employees are considering what to do during your restaurant’s next busy season.