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5 Ways to Avoid the Hospitality Staffing Shortages

Conal Yarwood-Frost
10 Nov 2023

After the extraordinary circumstances of the last couple of years, the hospitality industry has become an entirely different animal from what it once was. Consumers, workers, and owners alike have had to adjust expectations and refocus on what they want from their restaurants and other hospitality businesses. 

While these interesting times have given some businesses the chance to blossom and improve. There have been some undeniable difficulties that hospitality businesses have had to tackle. One of these challenges has been the labour shortage in restaurants, bars, and many other establishments. 

While there are many different contributing factors to why there currently is a shortage of workers, there are concrete things you can do to alleviate the pressure on your own business. In this blog,  we’ll be exploring your options as a hospitality owner and ways to retain your current staff. 

Why is there are labour shortage? 

There is no singular reason that there is currently a restaurant work shortage. Instead, there are many different contributing issues that have left us in the situation we find ourselves in. To visualise it, you could think of it as many contributing threads woven together into a rope. 

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic was a major factor and its influence was felt across the world. The majority of small hospitality businesses, who so often depend on customers visiting brick and mortar locations, were thrown into disarray by national lockdowns and many had to let go of some or all of their workers. 

Now we can confident that the hospitality industry is bouncing back. Businesses have accessed new revenue streams thanks to wide adoption of online ordering and some are doing better than they were before the pandemic. The restaurant worker shortage, however, persists.

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Easing the shortage 

The hospitality staffing shortage isn’t something that can be solved overnight. Retaining your staff and attracting new talent is a difficult process in today’s climate and take hard work. If you put in the time and incorporate our tips, you’ll see the payoff. 

Use a smart rota system 

Retaining staff can be as simple as making their day-to-day lives easier and more conducive to a positive work-life balance. One of the ways you can do this is by introducing a smart staff rota system into your business.

The Epos Now Hospitality system comes loaded with an App Store filled to the brim with 100s of useful integrations. The store includes, a smart rota app designed to make things easier for business owners and staff members alike. 

Using automatically-collected data, builds rotas that place your staff exactly where they need to be in the business. Onboarding can be done in minutes and staff can easily swap shifts and adjust their schedule. Giving your staff a greater sense of control over their schedule while still maintaining good working hours will help retain them. 

Build a culture of trust

For many in the hospitality industry, work is where they spend the majority of their time. Whether it’s the chefs coming in early for prep or the servers staying late to close, the industry is filled with dedicated workers looking to improve customer service in any way they can. 

While these long hours are good for the business, they can lead to burnout which will lead to a restaurant staff shortage. Restaurant owners can alleviate some of the stress by building a positive working environment. This will have a positive impact on the owner’s work life as well. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

To start the process, organise a team meeting with your staff and have a conversation about the business. Ask them what’s working and what’s not. Double down on the positive aspects and work to eliminate the negatives. Once your business has a good reputation for work rights, you’ll find it much easier to attract and retain staff. 

Present clear progression 

There’s an unfortunate cultural attitude that jobs in the hospitality sector are a “stop-gap” on the way to a “real” career. This means that some workers, young people in higher education particular, don’t value their work and see it as a disposable job which in turn means that they’re more likely to quit when something “better” comes along. 

As the business owner, you can fight this perception by presenting clear career progression and offering your employees the opportunity to learn new skills. For instance, you could give one of your line chefs the chance to handle expedition for the night. This will show your employees that you can offer them a career as opposed to just a job. 

This will also have a positive knock-on effect to your entire business. Your staff will be happier knowing that they can train and progress within the company if they want to and you’ll end up with a better-trained workforce that can turn their hands to many skills.  

Give immediate pay

In the restaurant industry, zero-hour contracts are sometimes the only way to reasonably keep overheads under control. While in some cases these contracts can be convenient for employees, there are some major downsides to the practice. Employees may see a zero-hour contract as exploitative and so not take the job seriously. 

Thankfully, as a restaurant operation, you can ease the negative aspects of zero-hour contracts. Firstly, consider offering immediate pay after your employees finish their weekly shifts. This instant gratification will make them feel as though their work has been appreciated and their pay as a reward. In turn, this will keep them focused on their work and that weekly paycheque. 

Be considerate 

In an employee-employer relationship, it can be very easy to slip into a me-against-them mentality. This should be avoided at all costs as it can quickly turn toxic and pit people against each other. Employees will have no issue leaving a job where they feel undervalued. 

Building a better relationship with your team will help them value their work and stay loyal to the business. Try to be considerate wherever possible. This could mean being accommodating to time off and sick days, switching shifts when asked, and paying staff fairly and on time. 

Make things easier for everyone

At Epos Now, we believe that our customers should have access to powerful POS systems for a fair price. Our systems are built with ease of use and convenience in mind so you can spend more time with your team and business. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about Epos Now, get in touch with our expert team below. 

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