After dealing with so much uncertainty surrounding the reopening of bars and restaurants, many managers in the food service industry are dealing with staffing shortages at a time when they can least afford to do so. While most almost every industry has suffered during the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19 and government-imposed shutdowns, the full-service restaurant industry and their operators have been hit especially hard.
Being short staffed is nothing new to restaurant managers, but with all the challenges associated with the the “new normal” in the industry, staffing issues can often be a problem that causes more stress and anxiety than even the most seasoned professionals might expect.
We’ve definitely been there and have researched the issue in order to compile our top three tips to help food service managers tackle staffing shortages and manage their time more effectively.
Identify Where Current Staffing is Falling Short
In the hectic day-to-day of running a restaurant, it’s easy to lose focus on what specifically isn’t working or where exactly you can use more help. Are there certain places or points in your restaurant’s daily operations where incidents keep happening that cause the most stress? For example, some may have challenges present only at the front while others are facing difficulties in the back.
Identifying where your particular restaurant’s weak spots are is imperative to effectively managing them. It’s much easier to solve a problem when your efforts are laser focused and applied in the right places.
Take Inventory of What Your Responsibilities Actually Are
Especially when we are trying to be the best that we can be at our job, we sometimes take on responsibilities that aren’t actually in our job description. When this happens and those extra responsibilities become regular duties, it sometimes makes us less effective overall because we end up spending valuable time on tasks that take us away from what really matters.
A manager’s primary role is to make sure that everything gets done, not to do everything themselves. If there are things you find yourself doing every day that can be delegated to another member of your team, a little extra work now to train someone on the task can pay huge dividends later on.
Outsource and Automate
Humans are creatures of habit. For this reason, we usually do things the way we’ve always done them, even if a better way exists. We sometimes fear or outright reject change, but in a world increasingly shaped by the realities of COVID-19, the most effective companies have invested heavily in bringing technology into their processes in order to accomplish more with less.
There are many free and low-cost tech tools available and a good portion of them are “mature” products which means most bugs and issues have been identified and eliminated. For you, this means that there are technology-based solutions perfectly suited to solve your problem if you’re willing to give them a chance. Even if there are a few hiccups along the way, customers and employees will usually understand that some problems are inevitable when it comes to technology and often just need reassurance that they’ll be taken good care of while any problems or issues are being ironed out.