How to deal with staffing shortage in UK Hospitality

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As we emerge from the era of fear of the pandemic, staff frozen out of employment through restaurant closures are reluctant to return.

Here in the UK, the coronavirus saw 10,000+ restaurants and eateries close their doors permanently. That’s a lot of people to become unemployed in one swoop. Since no other restaurants were open, the chefs, waiting staff, hosts, and bar tenders, all went elsewhere for work. When everything opened again on the high street, those chefs and waiting staff were already off in other roles. Many have not returned.

How Big a Problem are Staffing Shortages?

As a result, the UK Hospitality is facing staffing shortage. In a recent article in the Independent, reporters point out that around a quarter of all UK pubs, restaurants, and hotels, have had to shut their doors for a portion of the week. A poll by UK Hospitality has revealed that takings are down by a fifth as a result.

This epic failure for hospitality comes on the back of a festive period with coronavirus restrictions (Plan B) in place. Collectively, London based hospitality lost an estimated £8 billion in takings, having now fallen for two years in a row. This, of course, came after forced furlough closures during the virus, where businesses lost takings entirely.

Make no mistake, the UK hospitality sector is barely hanging on.

The Consequences of High Staff Turnover for Your Business

The consequences of this staff shortage are far reaching, impacting even the sturdiest of restaurant brands.

The growing panic to find new staff has left some restaurants unable to open at full capacity. They are reduced to weekend nights only or can’t run the traditional lunch service. In an industry that has been scraping by for so long, this staff shortage could spell the end.

Those businesses who are open with a staff shortage are facing a growth in complaints, as customers face lengthier waiting times and the potential breach of covid guidelines due to queuing. The few staff members that remain with the catering businesses they started with, are now facing extra pressure thanks to the lack of support. The workforce is already exhausted after living through a global trauma, and now they must do the work of more than one person.

On top of the lack of staff in our buildings, there are imports and exports to think about. The supply chain has been disrupted to the point that some supplies simply aren’t reaching Britain any more. A Big Hospitality survey showed that staff shortages affected 63% of hospitality businesses around the UK. Between the supply chain disruptions caused by both the pandemic and Brexit, they found 75% of those affected believe it is the government’s fault.

There are solutions to the problem of staff shortages but none of them are attractive to the average business owner. Turning to digital technology is the answer we have been looking for, to try to resolve some of these issues with a lack of catering staff.

Solutions to the issue

Wondering how to solve the shortage of staff for your catering business? We can help. The following are a few solutions to having a lack of staff, but some are easier said than done. We recommend skipping to the Kayana app, which gives you a way to automate some of your business functions and ease the pressure on your existing staff members.

Traditional solutions include:

-Hiring more employees

The obvious solution is to hire more staff. If you don’t’ treat them well, the staff turnover will remain high. Here are some tips for keeping those staff on your team.

-Offering better incentives

The better the perks, the bigger the corporate loyalty. A discount for them and their family both encourages staff loyalty and attracts the money you pay out in wages back into your business.

-Including Breaks

Catering is renowned for not giving staff breaks. Chefs eat their lunch sitting on barrels in the back room, or not at all. Waiting staff and sommeliers steal mouthfuls behind the bar between table service. Include breaks and staff will like working with you.

-Paying More

The obvious way to tackle staffing shortage in UK Hospitality is by offering a better wage in an industry notorious for bad wages, will set you apart as an employer that attracts the best staff. The best employees are loyal in the catering sector. The more you pay, the less chance of the competition stealing good staff.

-Digital Technology

There are new digital technology systems that help your restaurant, hotel, or coffee shop to operate with less employees. Minimising employees using digital technology decreases those overheads and brings you more profit. Therefore: digital tech could be increasing your profit margin if you are using it correctly.

Which brings us to Kayana, the digital solution that every hospitality and catering business could benefit from.

Kayana: The Expert Staff Shortage Solution You Need in Your Corner

Kayana app allows your customers to automate some processes that your employees would otherwise be left with. The app operates through scanning a QR code on your table, but also presents a swifter way for customers to order takeaway from your business. The app has integrated features like ordering at the bar and KayPay, so your customers can pay digitally and save you a bill, bill sharing, so they can easily split and pay with their group, and countless innovative automations that ease the burden of work in your restaurant.

Kayana lets you take the stress off the staff that you have. Owners can use it in hotels in place of room service calling. Spare staff by facilitating the QR codes in your rooms and giving guests a way to order food, drink, or pay for their stay.

Using Kayana, your customers can book a table digitally, order before they arrive, order drinks without leaving their table, order food that pings the chef, who makes it without the need of a server until the food arrives at the table. Customers can eat, pay, and leave, all without you even speaking to them. Of course, you will have plenty of time to go over and ensure they are enjoying your meal.

Ease the burden of staff shortage using Kayana. Business automation should benefit restaurants, too.

Katriona MacMillan

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