Optimizing Restaurant Staffing to Stay Agile in an Evolving Industry

Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.

 

The Main Course seeks to bring listeners insights from every corner of the industry. The topic of this conversation is restaurant staffing. Host Barbara Castiglia spoke with an expert in the field, Mary Hamill, VP, Pre-Sales, at HotSchedules, a Fourth company. The organization offers end-to-end technology solutions for restaurants and hospitality.

Hamill has a long career in the restaurant world, working in them, running HR and training for groups, and now being on the supplier side in her current role.

The conversation began with how well some businesses pivoted during COVID. “The new norm is eating at home. Those that shifted quickly and smartly figured out how to do takeout really well,” Hamill said.

With changing business models, there was an impact on staffing. “When sales dip, labor gets cut. A big mistake we saw some restaurants make is cutting back too much. You still need the right staffing levels to drive revenue,” Hamill shared.

Hamill also noted that many restaurants reevaluated how they staff and looked to her company to help them with labor optimization. That requires actionable data and technology. The technology that enables restaurant owners to make better decisions doesn’t replace people; it should make everyone’s lives easier.

Hamill’s mantra is the clearer the data, the more enlightened the vision. She said, “Without clarity, you’re not sure what to focus on, so the reporting and analytics need to be actionable.”

Actionable data is looking inside the numbers and diagnosing the labor problem, then optimizing it by determining where there’s over- or under-staffing.

Hamill also offered some advice. “Take care of your staff, understand their needs, give them a safe place to work. There are still ways to drive revenue, and you’ll need people to do it.”

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