Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
Find the formula for recruitment and retention
The National Restaurant Association has said that employee turnover in the restaurant industry is nearly 75 percent, compared to about 49 percent for the total private sector. So as painful as the Great Resignation has been for the US economy overall, restaurant operators have felt it especially severely. Restaurant companies that are succeeding at recruitment and retention right now are taking steps to be as proactive as possible at bringing in potential staff and then giving them the career options and stability they need to stay. In a recent webinar, “The Future of Food: The Role of Technology in Restaurant Recruitment and Retention," presented by SmartBrief, Jamie Starner of Bartaco mentioned that every one of their applicants is likely applying for seven other jobs at the same time, so it’s critical to make it easy for people to apply for open positions and then respond to their inquiry promptly. To make that happen, the company uses QR codes to connect people to their open positions, sends applicants a text in response, and uses the Calendly app to encourage applicants to schedule their interview on the spot. Keeping staff happy, according to the restaurant leaders on the webinar, has been about showing them potential career paths at the company, polling them regularly to better understand what they need, and offering the stability and flexibility that comes with offering a salary and other benefits. Instead of accepting tips, some incentivize good service through bonuses provided in exchange for high online reviews each month. For Kelly Phillips of Destination Unknown Restaurants, being able to provide a salary and a career path more akin to what someone might find in other parts of the private sector has been about operating as leanly as possible – using handheld POS devices has helped the company slim down the number of staff needed, for example, so the company has the resources to take good care of the ones on hand. As a result, she says, she doesn’t often have server openings, doesn’t have the ongoing expense of recruitment, and some former servers have stayed to become partners in the company.
Does your loyalty program give as much back to you as it does to your guests? While restaurant loyalty programs once relied on discounts to get guests to return, times are changing. To be sure, you want to use your loyalty program to track guest tastes and buying patterns and translate that information into action. But you can also take your program a step further by harnessing it as an experience you can provide guests. As operators struggle with inflation and supply shortages, providing a memorable guest experience can be a superpower – and can help keep you afloat in these challenging times. How can you use your program to drive people to you? Tap into guests’ fear of missing out by offering an exclusive VIP menu to members. The loyalty program Thanx is helping one operator offer a hidden menu for their highest-spending loyalty customers – it unlocks after a guest spends $200 in 90 days, according to a Nation’s Restaurant News report. The hidden menu can include fan-favorite menu items, be used to test limited-time offers, or simply offer items that are easier to offer to a smaller audience (and can help a restaurant manage inventory more efficiently). All of these potential offerings can create a sense of exclusivity that provides the extra nudge guests need to order from your restaurant right now.
How to Maximize Your Menu with Less
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