If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the restaurant industry deals with staffing issues even in the best of times. Staff must deal with long shifts, high-pressure situations, an imbalance between work and personal life, burnout, and even potential substance abuse.
On the other end of the spectrum, owners deal with increased labor costs, tight margins, and high turnover rates. On top of all those issues, we've got the disruption and uncertainty brought by the pandemic and related restrictions, as well as fears regarding public safety.
Though there are some concerns that it could potentially remove human workers from the equation, it is believed that AI could help with some of the tedious tasks and improve work/life balance for workers in this industry. This is where OrderSolutions comes in.
If used properly, AI could be the piece needed in your business to allow your human workers to be more efficient and focus on high-level tasks. This will help owners reduce labor costs, as well as increase sales and productivity.
Let's take a closer look at the top issues that restaurants face and how AI can solve them as the restaurant industry tries to recover from the shock of the pandemic.
Top Issues Faced by the Restaurant Industry
In addition to the challenges faced by the restaurant industry beginning in 2020, several issues are permanent in the restaurant industry. These have become an even greater issue due to the added restrictions and restaurant/dining room closures.
One recent survey looked at 295 critical decision-makers in some of the large chain restaurants. When they were asked to name the primary issues that prevent consistency, the top 3 results reveal the significant problems they are facing:
· Increased labor cost
· Employee turnover
· Improper training of employees
Staffing issues are at the top of the list when it comes to problems faced by managers. Solving these issues would make a significant difference in helping the industry recover as we move into 2022. OrderSolutions can reduce labor costs - and you don’t have to worry about employee turnover or improperly trained employees when it comes to AI.
The Issue of Work/Life Balance for Restaurant Staff
If you've worked any time in the restaurant industry, you know that it can be the best job in the world, but it can also quickly become the worst job in the world. You miss out on quality time with your loved ones, major life events, birthdays, and more. Plus, if you don't get along with the other staff, it can make for a miserable existence.
The truth is, finding work/life balance is difficult, even when you are being treated well by your employer. That’s just the nature of the business- and the times we’re living in- but an improper balance can very quickly turn to burnout, a lack of motivation, and may even drive some to substance abuse.
The good news is that OrderSolutions can improve workplace conditions for staff, which enhances work/life balance and keeps staff happy. This will ultimately lead to a decrease in employee turnover.
How Does AI Solve Issues in the Restaurant Industry?
If restaurant owners genuinely want to overcome the challenges within the industry, they must be willing to embrace new tech, strategies, and processes- including AI. The goal is to empower your staff by providing them with tools to focus on valuable tasks and improve their efficiency.
If you want to get the best out of your employees and the technical aspects of the operation, each should be utilized for their strengths. Below, we’ll explore how tech can be used in the front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house to allow your staff the responsibility and power to work efficiently and effectively.
Improve Employee Morale/Training and Reduce Turnover Rates
If your employees are focused on reaching goals, moving up, and taking on increased responsibility within the restaurant, they’ll be more likely to succeed. Plus, when they’re focused on something, they’re less likely to get burnt out or turn to substance abuse. They motivate themselves and their colleagues with positivity and hard work.
Studies have revealed that more than 60% of workers indicate that the potential for promotion would drastically increase their happiness in the workplace. They crave the chance for advancement- more money and increased responsibility within the workplace.
Thankfully, in many areas of the modern restaurant, AI (such as OrderSolutions) can be put in place to make all of this a reality.
Typically, your human workers excel on the customer-facing side of the business because, through natural empathy/face-to-face interactions, they can make the customer’s experience with your brand a good one.
On the other hand, you're also still dealing with humans, so there's the potential for human error when taking orders or things occurring, which results in a change in mood/attitude, which leads the employee to be rude to the customer.
This is where AI is useful. When you take orders via voice channels, you can take the best parts of the employee and support them with AI. This tech will make upsell suggestions, which can increase check totals. You can also use AI to fill in the gaps and answer phones for those times when you don’t have enough staff.
Plus, by using AI to fill in gaps, you can decrease lengths of shifts, which helps your employees achieve a better work/life balance while still allowing them to make money. Additionally, this frees up time for training on the higher-level tasks in the business.
As you can see, AI can be utilized to give your employees more responsibility and increase upsells. This means that you provide better customer service, and your employees are working fewer hours. Working fewer hours means they have a greater work/life balance- which increases their overall job satisfaction.
Benefits of Using AI in the Restaurant Industry
Just a few years ago, we never dreamed that most households would have a smart device that could hold a conversation and follow voice commands. However, that seems to be the trend.
Additionally, it’s fairly common to be connected with a virtual assistant when you call the customer service line for just about any company. The restaurant industry is now jumping on board with this trend.
OrderSolutions can help your restaurant with AI voice command tech. According to surveys, AI tech, in general, is increasing the average check value by up to 23%- and can save around 10 hours of labor costs. Some restaurant chains have reported a revenue increase of approximately 20%. These potential results for implementing such simple tech are astounding.
Additionally, keep in mind that AI can give your customer a positive experience with, and impression of, your brand. Smart assistants make the experience more personalized, which means instead of simply viewing a stationary menu, customers are welcomed with suggestions based on their favorite options via an automated voice assistant or visually on menu boards.
This is a significant benefit for the customer, providing them with options and an easy checkout process. Additionally, it decreases the amount of time the customer spends trying to decide what they want to order- and (through upsell options) can increase the average check total.
OrderSolutions is a Way Out of the Staffing Shortage
When the pandemic hit, we were all affected by it in various ways. The restaurant industry seems to have taken the hardest hit. Many restaurants shifted their focus to takeout/delivery options to stay afloat. These options were great for some because they allowed them to increase their overall revenue.
There have always been challenges in the restaurant industry, which the pandemic has amplified. In the past, the restaurant industry has been reluctant to embrace change. However, they quickly realize that this new AI tech has many benefits to ease some of the challenges they are facing.
However, though the tech is available, it must be utilized so that overall efficiency is improved and workers are empowered. Additionally, it's essential to make sure that the customer experience is a positive one.
Soon, when customers log in to their favorite restaurant app or visit the drive-thru, their purchase history and recommendations will be available. Smart AI systems will consider the time of day, weather, age, mood, and even facial expressions to make purchasing suggestions to customers.
Once the tech becomes more available and affordable, robots and automation will move into the kitchen and front-of-house. Restaurant owners must make sure this happens so that they can reap the rewards offered by the tech and improve the experience of staff members.
OrderSolutions can be the perfect solution to the problems faced by the restaurant industry. After all, extra help is always appreciated, and AI can take on some of the more tedious tasks- which frees up employees for the more important things.