The labor shortage is an increasingly credible threat to the hospitality industry. While consumers are headed back to hospitality businesses in droves, workers are not. The U.S. Labor Department reported 1,378,000 unfilled jobs at restaurants at the end of September of 2021. The quit rate in accommodations and food services was at 6.6%, over double the average rate across all industries. While Insider reports that restaurants are raising prices, cutting opening hours, and even closing down for good, there is another solution. Internet of Things (IoT) Technology. Implementing technology, automations, and controls through Smart Dispensing for beverages can help hospitality businesses cut down on labor needs while delivering frictionless service.
Labor Shortage in Restaurants and Bars
Integrating technology into existing practices allows restaurants and bars to decrease labor needs without compromising customer service. One touch and touchless Smart Dispensing allow bartenders and servers to save time measuring beverages, mixing cocktails, and tracking and replacing inventory. Each staff member has the capability to serve and engage with more customers thanks to the ease and precision of Smart Dispensing.
Interested in taking your technology one step further? Self-serve ordering and beverage fulfillment stations allow customers to take their orders into their own hands. While customer service will never be obsolete, staff that used to man registers can instead help prepare food, clean facilities, and attend to other guest needs. In addition to saving on labor needs and costs, self-serve stations receive more orders than staff members who take orders. Deepthi Prakash, global director of product and marketing for an Omnicom Group Inc. advertising agency told The Wall Street Journal that “diners are more likely to place bigger orders and add more substitutions when they order digitally because they can hide their embarrassment from servers”. In addition, “People order more and the tables turn over faster, because they can get their orders and they can get their bills sooner.”
QR codes and Bring Your Own Device technology also allow restaurants to update their menus, ingredients, and offerings seamlessly. Rather than reprinting and distributing paper menus, online menus accessed through consumer tech reduces waste and labor.
While self service and Smart Dispensing are becoming more commonplace in restaurants and bars, the same technology can be implemented throughout the hospitality industry, offering the solution to the labor shortage at stadiums, in hotels, on cruise ships, and more.
Labor Shortage at Stadiums
Stadiums and arenas possess labor needs, such as cooks and security, that remain assets to the industry. Positions that cannot be seamlessly replaced by technology are more easily filled when there are fewer unfilled positions to compete with. As in restaurants and bars, stadium cashiers and bartenders can be aided by Smart Dispensing and even replaced by self-serve stations. IoT technology also provides connected solutions that track inventory, predict when and where inventory is needed, and can be programmed to automatically lock and unlock taps.
Jonathan Stahl, Vice President of Ballpark Operations for the Washington Nationals shares how simple it is to halt serving at the bottom of the 7th inning, “With the click of a button, we can just turn off service for everybody. And then we can pull reports and find out to make sure that our servings are matching up to what we’re ringing up in the point of sales system as well and hold our staff accountable.”
In addition, granting access to third-party vendors, where appropriate, allows stadiums to work smart rather than duplicating roles across their own staff.
Labor Shortage at Hotels
Both the labor shortage and hotel cleanliness policies have been exacerbated by the onset of Covid-19. Sestra’s Smart Dispensers help alleviate both issues through alerts. Alerts can be set up to notify the appropriate staff of which stations need attention and when, based on volume, temperature, cleaning schedules, and more. Not only does Smart Dispensing increase efficiency which reduces labor needs, communicating your cleanliness standards may also help assuage concerned staff and applicants. Additionally, Sestra’s Smart Dispensing technology eases operations, increases speed of service, and offers consistency, all while integrating with guest folios and property management systems. Just as self-service helps reduce labor needs in restaurants, bars, and stadiums, mobile bars, tap walls, and other self service stations allow hotels to streamline their restaurant service and monetize their lobbies without incurring additional labor needs.
Not only are cruise ships experiencing similar labor shortages to restaurants, stadiums, and hotels, they endure the additional challenge of limited capacity for inventory and staff. Sestra’s Smart Dispensing can help by pinpointing inventory needs to match pouring activity. This ensures that the crew always has what they need to serve guests, while reducing excess cargo on the ship, which minimizes fuel use in loading and unloading in port and weight on the ship. Alert dashboards also show which bars need attention, highlighting exactly where resources are needed, solving problems before they occur. Not only do these tactics reduce excess inventory, they’re your solution to the labor shortage and help you offer your guests frictionless service.
While Sestra has been perfecting and distributing IoT technology since our inception, the labor shortage has exacerbated the need for the hospitality industry to streamline their technology and implement Smart Dispensing. Our cloud-connected solutions enable customers to maximize profit by preventing loss, improving service speed and quality, easing operations, and reducing labor needs. Whether your venue is interested in streamlining service behind the bar, offering self service, or both, contact us today to learn how we can help you implement your technology backed solution to the labor shortage.