The F&B industry has faced a revolutionary change in recent years, and recruiting staff is no longer about hiring someone who can write down orders that customers dictate. It is now an avenue for businesses to connect with their customers through an enhanced experience no longer centred around noting orders and payment. Available manpower has decreased at an alarming rate. However, this labour shortage does not need to be a major blow to F&B establishments.
Instead of considering increasing pay to attract labour, here are some steps that businesses can adopt to cope with the manpower crunch:
1. Ordering through an iPad
In order to speed up the billing process, most restaurants ask customers to pay at the counter. Companies that wish to thrive in the VUCA world today must integrate technological innovations to enhance the service experience. To stay a step ahead, F&B establishments like Fish & Co. and St. Marcs Café have introduced iPads to their customers, eliminating the need for a waiter to take orders. Customers simply place their orders through the iPad and upon confirmation, the order is immediately sent to the kitchen for preparation. The only downside to this is that technological innovations can erase the service element of the restaurant experience, so it is important to strike a balance between the two.
Order automation is sweeping the quick-service industry, with digital kiosks being introduced at major chains in Singapore and around the world, namely McDonald's. Gone are the days when there was an exchange of cash between customers and cashiers. The future of quick service foresees a rise in kiosk demand. Customers of all ages seek digital interactions in restaurants, especially those that provide them with a faster and easier dining experience.
3. Self-filled menus
Trendy new cafes that cannot afford to inculcate digital innovations due to their high cost of installation and implementation now turn to paper. As evidenced by Tipo, a relatively new pasta bar in Singapore, customers are given a form containing all the elements of the menu, tick what they want, and pass the paper to the cashier. While this cuts down on the need for manpower, it can still be a time-consuming process.
4. Online job portals
Online job portals like GrabJobs and FastJobs have greatly simplified the recruitment process, especially for entry to mid-level jobs. Some are even powered by AI interview chat bots that can even help automate the screening process of your job applicants. However, many jobs in the F&B industry are part-time, freelance, temporary, contract, or holiday in nature. As such, the employee turnover rate would still be high, and the constant recruitment process would still take up valuable time, manpower, and resources.
Partnering with Waitrr has numerous benefits. We allow customers to seamlessly and securely pay in-app with the most major payment methods. With the ordering and payments process in the hands of your customers, restaurants no longer need to suffer the inconveniences of recruitment and manpower shortage. Through Waitrr, customers can order and pay restaurants online, and collect their food at the outlet, eliminating the need for the wait staff in the process.
By integrating online ordering and payments into their operations, Waitrr’s restaurant partners have cut down on as many as 5 staff, or nearly a whopping $10,000 a month. This is not an insignificant number. The average wait staff in Singapore is paid an hourly rate of $8 - 15. A full-time staff member can be paid anywhere in between $1,800 to $2,800 a month.
Despite Singapore having a flourishing job market home to some of the most successful companies in the world, statistics show that businesses (especially those in the F&B industry) are increasingly recruiting expensive hires to plug the labour shortage. It is time for forward-thinking restaurant owners and managers to accept disruptive innovation to beat the manpower crunch and help their restaurants operate on a more competitive level.
“The city-state has a gaping number of job vacancies estimated at around 48,800 in 2017, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Manpower, with the accommodation and food services, and administrative jobs in security and investigation registering some of the highest vacancy levels at 6.4% and 4.9% respectively.” – Singapore Business Review.