Staff shortages in the catering and hospitality sectors are at an all-time high and the sector is potentially facing one of the biggest challenges to date, in terms of business survival. From front of house staff to chefs, kitchen staff, supply chain and even delivery drivers, the knock-on effect of Brexit combined with the challenges of the pandemic have made business survival all the more critical and all the more difficult.
Over-worked staff are at breaking point, there are no hours in the day to spare, no time for breaks, no time to consider impact on people wellbeing, mental health or indeed quality of customer service. Yet consumer demand continues to grow as lockdown restrictions are lifted. Staff are being asked to do more than usual, to take on more roles and different responsibilities to compensate for what has become a ‘skeleton staff situation’ for many – and all for no extra pay. It is a big ask.
Experts are arguing that until hospitality becomes a high-wage, high-value sector to attract new staff, the problem will continue to escalate. Right now, staff, catering and restaurant managers need all the help they can get to keep their businesses on track operationally, and to reduce the admin burden on already stretched staff. Burn out is another issue that the industry faces, which could contribute to further staff losses if shortages continue.
eProcurement technology, which automates some of the day to day tasks and reduces the paper chain, can often be a silver lining especially for traditionally labour-intensive jobs like managing stock control, inventory, purchasing, keeping on top of legislation and allergens information. Not to mention recipes and menu management. The issue is, when staff are over worked and tired, they make mistakes – they are only human after all. So reducing that level of human intervention can also reduce the likelihood of costly errors like stock inaccuracies and missing invoices, not to mention controlling overspend and sticking within budgets.
Busy staff will also have less time to shop around looking for the best deals, even though many hospitality businesses face cost cuts and need to keep on top of finances. Having access to live prices across a range of suppliers means you can see at a glance how much you are spending on an item and how that compares. Although technology won’t solve every problem, it will make life easier for businesses as they weather the current storm.