Short staffing has received a lot of buzz over the last few months, as businesses big and small struggle to keep their doors open due to a lack of staff. Some have moved on to other careers while others decided to take the pandemic as an opportunity to retire.
Whatever the reasons for this exodus, the lack of staff in many areas has spawned many problems for businesses, causing many to reassess their strategy, including restaurants.
Let’s take a quick look at how this issue has impacted local restaurants.
The Impact of Short Staffing on Restaurants
The restaurant industry has been particularly hit hard by short staffing, leading some larger restaurants and chains to offer large sign-on bonuses to get people on board.
This has led many restaurants to reduce hours or even cut entire days from their normal schedule. We’ve seen many restaurants in the Massachusetts area that can only be open four or five days a week because of staffing issues.
For restaurants that have maintained their regular hours, their staff is sometimes stretched to the limit. Waitstaff may be covering double the tables that they normally do. This leads to stress and burnout among staff in many restaurants.
All of this is piled on top of an already-stressed industry, still reeling from the height of the pandemic.
But there is a solution that can help restaurants to combat short staffing.
It’s called online ordering.
What is Online Ordering?
Online ordering is the process of going online and ordering food from a restaurant, which is then either delivered or picked up at the restaurant itself.
How does it work?
First, the restaurant must install an online ordering system on its website. This will allow customers to choose what dishes they want to order and pay online, all through the system.
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This online ordering system includes an interactive menu, which can be easily customized by the restaurant on a daily basis if needed. This allows the restaurant to feature daily specials and then remove them once the special is no longer available.
Once the customer orders from this interactive menu, the order is sent to the restaurant, using whatever device the restaurant has set up. Then the restaurant staff can quickly look at the order and work on preparing it for delivery or pickup.
It’s that easy.
So how can online ordering systems like this help restaurants that are dealing with short staffing?
How Online Ordering Helps Restaurants to Combat Short Staffing
During the height of the pandemic, when restaurants were not allowed to seat patrons, many turned to online ordering as their sole means of income. They would take orders and arrange for curbside pickup or delivery.
But now that restaurants are open to half or full capacity, online ordering can still help in a major way.
The biggest staffing issue for restaurants is having enough waitstaff to take care of customers.
But with online ordering, restaurants do not need the same amount of waitstaff. Since an online order is forwarded straight to a computer or tablet, restaurants only need to worry about the staff to prepare and cook the food, and possibly someone to organize orders for pickup.
This cuts back dramatically on the need for staff, including waitstaff and people to bus tables.
With this tool, restaurants might even choose to designate certain days as “online-order-only” days so that they only have to maintain a small kitchen staff. This allows them to keep their doors open and maintain their cash flow, even when they do not have enough staff to open the entire restaurant.
There are many other benefits of online ordering. For example, online ordering can…
- Reduce phone orders and keep staff off the phone. This way, they can focus on attending to in-house customers.
- Reduce lost orders from busy phone lines.
- Increase per-order value without taking more time and energy.
- Reduce order mistakes and the time it takes to correct them.
- Cut down on in-store lines for people waiting to place to-go orders and speed up the time to get food out the door.
- Increase customer satisfaction, which is vital considering the strained environment.
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Concluding Thoughts on Online Ordering and Short Staffing
It’s no stretch to say that we’re in uncharted territory at the moment — between the pandemic and national staffing issues, restaurants are facing a fundamental shift in their business plan.
But all is not lost.
We’re in a modern, technological era that might just be the key to charting this territory and navigating to the other side successfully. With digital tools like websites and online ordering, restaurants can find ways to compensate for changes in staffing without sacrificing their bottom line in the process.
We hope this helped you to better understand online ordering solutions and how they can help you with staffing and other modern issues.