When the UK government announced its immigration plan in December, it was greeted with dismay by the hospitality industry.
Kate Nicholls of the industry body UK Hospitality, told The Caterer: “The central plank of government’s immigration policy, to cut off lower-skilled migration with a salary threshold, is fundamentally flawed and will damage the hospitality sector and the wider UK economy.”
It’s another worry for a hardworking industry that is already facing severe skills and labour shortages – to the point where The Observer newspaper carried a story in 2018 entitled: “The great British chef shortage – why eating out is under threat.”
As Brexit has approached, the UK hospitality workforce – which is estimated to be around 6m people – has been disappearing.
In fact, it has been suggested by the British Hospitality Association that the industry could face a staff shortfall of over a million workers by 2029.
The natural result of this skills and labour shortage has been a hike in wages, which has only added to the rising costs for restaurateurs.
The Government promised skills training, but it is taking time; so what can restaurant owners and managers do?
Many have already turned to ever-evolving restaurant POS to provide at least part of the solution to this cooking crisis.
While restaurant POS will never be able to provide you with a great chef, it can help your business make sound decisions about staffing levels.
By capturing accurate data, restaurant management systems take the guesswork out of creating perfect rosters.
By producing informative reports in real time, the restaurant POS makes it simple to match the level of staff with customer demands. It means you can maintain excellent customer service without wasting valuable labour.
The system also ups the value of serving staff – they take orders on hand held devices including tablets and smartphones, so spend less time running to the kitchen with orders.
Their wellbeing and motivation are also boosted, because they are less stressed and tired, and they can engage better with customers. The restaurant POS even offers them upselling prompts as they take orders.
Servers using Aloha restaurant POS can also now check comprehensive food allergen advice.
It’s much quicker than having to go and ask chef or look at a list in the kitchen, and means customers’ health is well-protected.
Customers like to be able to make reservations and orders via an app, and a restaurant management system enables this 24/7, even when you are closed. Once again, it saves staff time, and also gets rid of a tedious manual task.
Even restaurant managers are able to use their time better – restaurant POS can be provided as a cloud-based option so they can keep a check on operations online at any time without travel time.
It removes the need to duplicate head office functions at different branches – another genuine staffing benefit.
As we head into a turbulent 2019, we don’t even loosely know what will happen with Brexit.
But we can feel pretty sure that labour shortages in restaurants are likely to increase – a YouGov survey just a few months ago found that 330,000 hospitality staff were considering leaving the UK.
We know technology can’t supply all the answers. But we do believe restaurant POS can help restaurateurs make the most of who they have – and create a well-run working environment where they want to stay.
Could eating out actually be under threat? Not on our watch…
* See a short video on how restaurant EPOS works with customers all day: