Sacked any of your staff recently, or seen them leave? It’s likely you have – the hospitality industry sees an annual turnover of 30%, according the British Hospitality Association.
Maybe you got rid of them because they stunk at the job.
Or maybe they left because they didn’t like your working environment? This is particularly common with the younger people who make up a high proportion of hospitality staff.
But with recruitment now a nightmare, ask yourself this question:
Is this really the time to give up on my staff?
Or is it time to have a rethink about how they work together – and how the working environment you provide is hitting their productivity and wellbeing?
Productivity has historically been low in the hospitality industry – it’s said to run at about a third of the productivity in manufacturing.
Many reasons. Hospitality is a complex business covering all manner of organisations ranging from bars and restaurants to hotels and food outlets.
Did you know:
- There are 240,000 hospitality businesses in the UK.
- They provide 2m jobs directly and a further 1.44m indirectly.
Luckily, the BHA says that productivity in hospitality and tourism is on the up.
It’s been rising since the economic downturn, rising to an estimated Gross Value Added (the productivity measure) of £73bn.
That’s almost double what it was in 2008, and the BHA believes it could rise as high as £22bn by 2021, if the industry promotes the right conditions.
So hospitality businesses are going in the right direction with their staff, and getting more in return – but there are still improvements to be made.
Why boosting productivity is hard for restaurants and bars
The sheer variety of the UK’s hospitality businesses, the way they operate and the people they employ makes for a tricky mix when it comes to pushing productivity and wellbeing upward.
Hotel software experts Siteminder say most industries can boost productivity with technology and automation, but warn that this needs to be done exceptionally carefully in hotels and restaurants.
“It’s an industry that is built on people-to-people interaction, and also involves a huge variety of tasks and skills within one business, hotels in particular,” they say.
“Understanding what needs to change is one thing, and predicting how customers might react to certain changes is another. Reducing authenticity in such a service-based industry could be dire.”
A good point, and one that should remain a real priority in your mind.
So here are 6 ways to improve staff productivity and satisfaction in your restaurant.
- Reduce tedious admin
- Make time for training
- Eliminate in-fighting
- Swap your stick for a carrot
- Grow your own leaders
- Beat the cheats
Reduce tedious tasks
Duplicating head office functions in a restaurant group can drain your resources. It requires people in each location carrying out the same managerial tasks – such as creating operational reports.
It’s boring and repetitive work that does not add up to job satisfaction.
Enterprise-level restaurant management technology that’s accessible online can remove this need for duplication, with managers able to see data in real-time from any location.
The result? Resources can be directed to more necessary areas to keep operations flowing seamlessly – and your staff get to do more meaningful and satisfying work instead.
For your serving staff, provide hand-held devices (even tablets or smartphones) that allow orders to be taken at tableside and sent direct to the kitchen.
Payment can be taken at tableside, too, so servers spend less time running back and forth and enjoy more valuable time interacting with guests.
Make time for training
Training has not always been a priority for many roles in the hospitality industry, but as the UK Hospitality Commission points out, that has led to a perception of the work as ‘low-paid, low-skilled.”
Investing in your staff so they improve their key skills, such as customer service, pays off directly by making your workers more able, but also helps to create a sense of engagement – a trained worker is a worker who feels valued.
It can be hard for a busy restaurant to find time for training and continuous development, but it’s well worth it, so invest in good labour scheduling technology that makes sure you maximise the hours of every member of staff.
Are your front and back of house staff at loggerheads? It’s a common situation as the kitchen blames the servers for mistakes and vice versa, or as your finance staff criticise others for poor admin.
Teamwork is crucial to staff wellbeing and productivity in any business. It creates collaboration and innovation, and colleagues who become friends are happier and less likely to quit.
Help your team to bond by providing and environment where clear communication and great workflow remove the ambiguity and human error that cause unpleasantness.
Swap your stick for a carrot
Don’t leave all the carrots in the kitchen! If you implement a system of monitoring individual staff performance you will be in a great position to hand out the recognition that drives excellence.
It will also help you identify areas where extra training is needed to keep everyone up to scratch.
Grow your own leaders
When recruiting, be sure to seek joiners who display positive attitudes and empathy – they are key skills for the industry and a good base for growing leadership talent.
Hospitality businesses can be guilty of creating immobile hierarchies where staff members have little opportunity to advance.
This drives ambitious workers to seek better jobs elsewhere, so try to set in place a clear structure that helps people understand how they can get ahead within your organisation.
Once again, training plays an important part – you and your managers should hold regular one-to-one sessions with staff where you look at their performance and discuss the steps that will help them develop.
Cheats to beat
Employee fraud costs UK businesses more than £40bn a year, and while that’s across all types of companies, hospitality takes quite a chunk of the hit.
What’s often not taken into consideration is the detrimental effect cheating has on your team. Suspicion and distrust make for an uncomfortable working environment.
Your managers can’t have eyes everywhere all the time, and watching out for staff fraud is an exhausting task – unless you have fraud prevention technology that flags up unusual behaviours.
This level of monitoring provides quite a deterrent, and helps builds up a high level of trust within the working environment where everyone can feel confident and comfortable.
Hospitality? It’s a people business, first and foremost.
So don’t give up on your staff. Give them a technological helping hand instead, and make recognition, development and training an inherent part of their daily lives.
Getting conditions right for your own people means they feel better, take less sick time, stay longer and work harder.
It’s good for them, good for you and good for your customers. Result…
Dining goes digital throughout the day.