OPINION: The hidden equipment transforming how restaurant teams work


A transformation in how we think about hospitality equipment and technology can be dated as far back as 1893, during the World Fair in Chicago, where the world’s first automatic dishwasher was showcased.

Although initial adoption was slow, this simple piece of equipment is now integral to all restaurants and hotels across the world, helping venue managers worldwide to run a more efficient operation.

The global foodservices industry is worth around $3.1 trillion (£2.6 trillion) and much of this growth has been enabled by technology designed to make hospitality workers’ jobs easier and more efficient.

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The hospitality industry has been one of the fastest industries to adopt the latest technology across all areas, and a key area that is currently undergoing big transformation is shift management and staff organisation.

Cloud-based workforce management software is being introduced which enables staff to use their smartphones to control their shifts as well as to contact both their managers and other employees.

It’s technology that also allows restaurants to guarantee that they have the right staff in place to run specialist equipment. Just as dishwashers once revolutionised the processes back-of-house, software is making change all over the restaurant.

The Absurd Bird story

At Absurd Bird, a restaurant chain with six locations across the UK, the impact of new technology in its kitchen has been noticed at all levels of the business.

In total, the chain employs 150 people in various positions, including chefs, waiters, bartenders, front-of-house teams, managers, and supervisors.

All of these employees need to be managed for different roles throughout the day so creating schedules, vacation requests and payrolls is a key part of the day-to-day process of running a restaurant.

Traditionally, these processes involved using paper spreadsheets and Excel but once more locations opened it became clear that this wasn’t efficient enough.

Modern restaurants typically already use a lot of software in order to keep track of the complex processes at work; ePOS systems, of course, feature in nearly every competitive restaurant in the world.

The Planday software that Absurd Bird adopted was able to be integrated with the ePOS system already in place in the restaurant, allowing sales data to be analysed which helps to inform decisions on how many staff would be asked to work that night. The software, and its integration capabilities, allowed management to make quick decisions on the daily workforce.

After a year of using the Planday software, Absurd Bird calculated that it had managed to improve its wage control by 3%.

This may not sound like much, but over the year that percentage equals an annual saving of £40,000, a saving achieved simply through giving managers up-to-date tools and allowing for innovation where none existed previously.

And staff found that the software enabled them to more easily view the hours they were scheduled to work, as well as making it easier for them to swap shifts via the Planday app, boosting efficiency and morale simultaneously.

The kitchen tech space is constantly evolving with new products and innovation, which has allowed the global foodservice sector to flourish.

Workforce management software may not be top of the list for all businesses, but just as 19th century kitchens sought to remain competitive by mechanising their dishwashing, 21st century ones could benefit from innovating in management.

Christian Brøndum is CEO of Planday, a specialist provider of staff rota software that makes scheduling, communication, time tracking and HR management simple.

Tags : opinionPlandaysoftwaretechnology
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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