Restaurants - How trying to be efficient has put us in a labor shortage.

Ok, so there are obviously so many moving parts to the current situation that the industry finds itself in with regards to a shortage of employees… but hear me out for a minute.

The restaurant industry is notorious for trying to be as “efficient” as possible. The term “cut” is literally used every single day, in thousands of restaurants every time a manager decides that it’s the end of a staff member’s shift.

“You’re cut”.

If you have worked in a restaurant, you’ve heard this hundreds of times.

Now, if you think about the concept of efficiency, it is all about doing more with less. It is what causes managers to make decisions that create stressful environments, to overwork people, or themselves, to a point where people are questioning if they want to work in the restaurant business anymore or not.

Think about all of the examples. -Give a bigger section to save labor dollars. -Send the bartender home early, and pour the drinks yourself, so you can hit your labor target. -Take a prep station as the chef. -Cover a break

-Stay late to close the business down. -Do all of your admin work on your “day off”

These happen every day in restaurants.

I am not saying it is the manager’s fault…. Because I made those same types of decisions for a long time. I just believe it needs to change.

What I am saying is that the way that our beloved industry operates is fueling the labor shortage fire.

Consider for a second how the industrial revolution came about. It was steam that changed everything. All of a sudden, nearly everything that had been made by hand in the past, was now able to be made by machines, which dramatically increased output.

Output…. aka productivity….

The difference is that while efficiency focuses on cutting, trimming, and reducing.

Productivity focuses on output, maximizing, and producing. Doing more.

So, be it through tech, or data acting as our “steam” I believe that this is where the industry needs to focus. This is where the “hospitality revolution“ needs to start.

Provide support, and information for management so that they can make better decisions, take better care of their staff, run more productive businesses, and increase output.

If you ask me, placing more emphasis on productivity, or output starts all of the rest of the conversations about solving the labor shortage. -Wages can be increased through improved productivity. -Staff benefits can be more affordable due to added output. -Management bonuses can be increased. -Overall work environments, morale, and safety can be increased.

This is the way forward. I’m my opinion.

Our industry needs to look to the past to see how focusing on output, instead of just hard work can get it to the place it wants to be.


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