The restaurant industry, which employs more than 15.6 million employees in the U.S., has taken a massive hit amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For some restaurants and chains, this means mass closures, an inability to recover, and/or a complete re-imagination of their business models. Restaurants are going to have to be creative as they reopen, while maintaining the proper precautions in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Last month, Restaurant Dive reported that the CDC released step-by-step guidelines for public-facing businesses like bars and restaurants. During step one, restaurants had to limit service to take-out, drive-through, and delivery. In this phase, many restaurants transformed into ‘dark kitchens’, only doing curb-side pick-up and delivery. During step two, restaurants can reopen dining rooms with limited seating (approximately 30-50% of previous capacity) to allow for social distancing – which many already have. By step three, restaurants can remain open as long as social distancing is followed. However, restaurants must promote healthy hygiene practices throughout this entire process. This looks like intensified cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation, promoting social distancing, and training all staff on safety procedures.
With the many steps, requirements, precautions, and – to be sure – liabilities associated with restaurants re-opening within steps two and three, employers need to be extra cautious and attentive when it comes to the safety of their employees and their customers. To do so effectively, restaurants should rely on modern technologies. Particularly, intelligent workforce and talent management solutions to set employees up for success. These holistic and harmonized technologies will be crucial for restaurants to reopen their workplaces in a well-managed, safe, and perhaps even enjoyable way for their employees and customers.
Let’s take a look at the high-level benefits of workforce and talent management technologies in the lens of recovering from this pandemic.
Workforce scheduling, the seemingly simple workforce function, can easily be overlooked. It may seem like a basic tool/consideration for restaurant owners and employers to prioritize, but effective scheduling technologies can significantly improve employees’ confidence in returning to work, along with providing a sense of ease for employers.
Let me explain: within the new restaurant-opening requirements, there is bound to be specific coverage needs – meaning only a certain number of employees may be allowed in front of house/back of house at once, a mandated spaced-out cadence between service staff and cleaning staff, one-way circulation, food and beverage replenishment scheduling, and beyond. With modern scheduling technologies, employers can easily manage, track, and adjust schedules and tasks to ensure proper coverage in accordance to the CDC.
As well, mobile scheduling technology empowers staff to quickly see/change their shifts and take control of their own schedule. Managers can swiftly ensure that there is proper coverage along with safe social distancing protocols in place. Within this new normal, restaurant employers and employees alike need to rely on technology in new and innovative ways – and scheduling is one that should be prioritized.
Restaurant employers and employees can leverage mobile scheduling technologies to confidently monitor their shift coverage, change their shift availability, and ensure that both employers and employees are abiding by the new safety regulations with agility and predictability.
Equipping restaurant employees with the tools, knowledge, and resources to safely work in this new normal is critical. Intuitive workforce learning technologies provides a platform for all employees to learn and help maintain proper health and safety guidelines in an easily accessible platform. Technologies like the Dayforce COVID-19 Learning Portal does just that, offering a hub of pandemic-related resources for employers and employees alike to rely on.
Engaging and caring for your workforce during and post the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to employee wellness and productivity. Learning management software can help create a culture of growth and confidence within an organization. Make learning an interactive, easy, and engaging experience that becomes part of employees’ new daily routines in this new normal. It’s critical that employees feel prepared and confident in the safety precautions and new procedures they must follow when serving customers. This protects the employer, the employee, the customer, and the brand. By relying on intelligent learning software, re-skilling your employees is a less daunting task and is available at the point and time of need.
Along with the re-openings will come a checklist of new business tasks to track and manage. For example, budgeting will be more complex, as we have seen a shift in work and workers. And, there will most definitely be new tasks involved with abiding by the proper safety precautions, like deep cleaning and sanitization, re-stocking, re-skilling, and re-staffing. Within an intelligent task management system, employers can deploy tasks strategically, improve service effectiveness, gain operational efficiency, and – best of all – manage all of this within one place.
With good task management tech, employees and employers will be able to quickly and successfully manage new tasks that might arise from the new COVID-19 requirements – like company-wide communications, schedule deployments, and tracking that proper work is being done, and done so effectively and safely.
Returning to work won’t be simple. However, if restaurants prioritize these seemingly basic workforce and talent management tasks, they will have a better shot at maintaining a successful business, an engaging workplace, and a desirable brand.