Service industries have suffered excessively due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftereffects are still rampantly seen. Especially the food service industry which experienced a stark decline in growth over the lockdown. The industry is in a crunch about labour, specifically chefs, wait staff, and washers. Labour shortage means lower sales, and hence lower profits for the restaurant. Overworking and demoralisation amongst the existing employees have become huge problems due to this situation. 

hotel staff

Some Ways to Overcome Staff Shortage

  1. Creative Ways of Recruitment: Hiring and recruitment is a critical step in building your workforce. The usual course of acquiring employees in food service facilities is by putting up signage or through other food service businesses. But getting a bit more creative could do wonders for your human resource process. You can try posting online on job boards and websites or connect with staffing agencies or post for requirements on social media. You can even advertise job openings in local communities. 
  1. Flexibility: You need to understand that employees have lives and responsibilities outside of your business, so they have time and financial needs. Consider adapting to apps that allow the employees to choose from available shift timings instead of fixed long-term commitments. There are also ways to optimise payroll systems that allow employees to receive per-day payments instead of monthly. Providing flexibility to your staff may encourage retention and motivation.  
  1. Reach Out: Putting a hand out to the local community is always a good approach. Staying connected and partnering up with local businesses, hostels, schools, and other institutions may help you in many ways like, employment, workshops, specialised training for your staff, good public image, etc. 
  1. Employee Benefits & Incentives: Offering higher wages are always a good start, but if that is not viable for your business, there are other ways to provide competitive incentives to your staff. Professional training, certification opportunities, overtime pay, appreciative bonuses, and industry exposure can be some ways you can create benefits for your employees. 
  1. Automation & Technological Adaptation: Though increasing staff is a way to ensure efficiency in the facility, developing with the times will only help your organisation. New technology and automation systems like online ordering, inventory management, and more are great ways to create an efficient process in the space, which helps in shorter wait times as well as digitised archives. It also ends up becoming a support system for the existing staff. 
  1. Positive Work Conditions: A positive and motivational work environment is an essential element of a good organisation where people prefer to work. Open communication and motivational management can create such spaces.
  1. Cross Training: This refers to training staff outside of their regular work roles. It allows them to gain knowledge and experience on a wider scale in the food service industry. It also allows for others to fill in when an employee is absent, creating less stress for the restaurant and fewer gaps in the process. 
  1. Streamlining: Reducing the workload on your employees must be a priority, as heavy work stress can be a major cause of employee exits. This can be accomplished by streamlining various processes through technology and management. 
  1. Referrals: Employee referrals is another way to gain staff. You could offer referral incentives and bonuses to the employees that could encourage them to spread the word about staff opportunities at your facility. 
  2. Feedback & Exit Interviews:  It is important to be aware of what’s going on in your facility and how the staff feels about it. You should be curious to know if your management style is effective for the staff, or if they have any issues or problems in the workspace. Make sure to ask for regular feedback and also analyse what can be changed accordingly. Exit interviews are also a good way to understand why people resign from your restaurant. It could help you recognise loopholes and problems to fix.

Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you may need to experiment with different strategies to find what works best for your restaurant. Regularly assess your efforts and adapt your approach to address the specific challenges you’re facing. Businesses find success on genuine and hard work, but they flourish on human connections, so make sure to connect with the people you work with and serve. At HPG Consulting, we grasp the significance of establishing seamless and successful food services. Leveraging our expertise as leaders in Food Service Consulting, we stand ready to offer you strategic insights and personalized remedies. If you’re navigating the complexities of labor shortages and turnover, partner with us to uncover strategies that suit your unique challenges.