Restaurant Staff Shortage: How to Deal With It?

Restaurant Staff Shortage: How to Deal With It?

Learn here how to deal with staff shortages due to covid 19!

Posted by Victor Delgadillo on December 25, 2021

Are you worried because you have lost employees in your restaurant?

Did the staff shortage affect your restaurant?

Across the world, restaurant owners and hospitality experts have revealed a growing trend of staff shortages.

This is because of the pandemic with which we have been fighting in the past years.

If your restaurant is suffering the consequences of a staff shortage, do not worry because it is necessary to face this problem.

In this article I will talk to you about:

  • The causes of the shortage of employees in restaurants worldwide.
  • And about several strategies you can use to tackle this problem in your restaurant.

Sadly, the world has changed, and it is time for us to adapt and continue. That means you have to make changes to the way you do business, run your restaurant, and more.

The good news is that it is not impossible — hundreds of restaurants are applying these methods already!

Restaurant Staff Shortage

Help wanted sign in restaurant window

The problem of staff shortages is something that we have been experiencing since 2019.

However, with the current problems, the new variants of Covid 19, and the lack of concern of many people makes the problem lengthen more than it should.

But that's how pandemics work and it's impossible to point a single culprit.

As a consequence, in two long years, the way people work and perceive their work in restaurants and other types of presential jobs has changed massively.

That's the main cause of the employee shortage — people have adopted remote jobs and they can work comfortably and safely from home.

This is a viable option for many employees in the restaurant niche who have extra skills that can be exploited with online remote jobs.

I am here writing exactly because of that!

Also, with the unfortunate loss of thousands of people, family members, siblings, parents, children, and more, it is only normal for many of us to be fearful and reluctant to return to the old ways.

And that's understandable, even after many people have been vaccinated.

But, as I told you at the beginning, this is not a problem that cannot be solved.

The most favorable prognosis is that Covid will become an endemic, more preventable, and controllable disease — but it will not go away completely.

This will change our lives forever, just as other pandemics have over the years.

Therefore, starting to adapt your restaurant with best practices is one of the few options available.

Strategies to Deal With the Staff Shortage in Your Restaurant

Closed, will re-open in june sign in restaurant window

Now I will share with you the best strategies you can use to deal with the staff shortage in your restaurant.

These strategies take effort, time, money, and as much collaboration as you can get from your employees.

Despite this, my main recommendation is that you do not put yourself or your staff in danger, and keep constantly studying the situation in your area.

Note: If you can't apply all of these strategies, you should also reconsider whether it's worth it. They can all serve you, but if one is missing, its effectiveness will decrease considerably.

Reduce and Optimize Your Restaurant’s Staff

Person measuring woman's temperature with electronic termometer

The first strategy you should apply is to reduce your staff — it sounds convenient, right?

Reducing your staff is in fact a very good idea, as long as you do it in a calculated way and consider several things:

  • You must let go of the least necessary employees to run your restaurant.
  • You can also simply cut your staff in half in each area — kitchen, FOH staff, and more. 
  • You must raise the salary of the remaining staff in your restaurant. This is very useful to improve their motivation and justify a little more the risk of going to your restaurant every day.
  • And you must optimize each operation of your restaurant as much as you can.

This is very useful to reduce the number of people who can possibly be infected that are part of your staff.

In addition, you should also adopt other practices to protect your employees:

  • Help them get vaccinated.
  • Offer them free transportation from their homes to reduce contact with people outside the restaurant and home.
  • Perform simple smell tests on each employee before they enter transportation or your restaurant.
  • Wash and store uniforms in the restaurant and create lockers for employees where they can change.
  • Provide reusable masks, gloves, and others.

This may sound expensive, but it will help you operate safely for your employees and customers.

In case you can't apply all of them, apply as many as you can and think of alternative ways to optimize the process.

Embrace Delivery and Takeout

Delivery guy from uber eats driving vespa

This is a way to further protect your employees, and it is also a decision that can greatly increase your profits.

Currently, a large number of restaurants offer these types of services, as people prefer to order food from home.

This will protect your employees because it will help reduce contact with customers to a minimum, which reduces the risk of contagion in your restaurant.

Some restaurants are even dedicated solely to this type of activity, leaving the reception of customers in the restaurant for special occasions or controlled events with fewer people and better security practices.

Read our article on how to start offering a delivery service in your restaurant.

Menu With Qr Code or Contactless

QR code menu sign to order and pay from the table in a restaurant

QR code menus are a great alternative to traditional menus.

Also, in the middle of a pandemic, having a menu that passes through the hands of all your diners is not a good idea.

Therefore, you can start adopting QR code menus so that each person can scan a code and receive the menu on their phone.

This brings other benefits, such as spending less on menu prints and reducing contact between servers and diners.

For example, Waiterio’s QR code menus can also help you make the service faster, optimize your restaurant for delivery, contactless service, and more because the menu sends orders directly to the kitchen.

Learn more about it with our article on QR code menus and how to use them.

Hygiene and Practices to Avoid Contagion

woman spraying her hands with hand sanitizer

One of the most important recommendations that health organizations have given worldwide to avoid contagion is to wash your hands.

That is one of the few hygiene practices that you must apply in your restaurant to avoid contagion.

These can also help you make your restaurant safer:

  • Create a hand washing station at the entrance of the restaurant.
  • Perform smell and temperature tests on each client before entering.
  • Make sure each diner was wearing a mask before entering the restaurant.
  • You should reduce the number of tables in your restaurant.
  • You must increase the distance between each table.

You must create rules so that this is mandatory for each diner and post about this on your social media, in brochures, and more to educate your customers.

And of course, you must refuse service to people who do not want to abide by the rules.

Some customers will complain, sure, but the good type of customer will stand by you!

Be Aware of Contagion Levels

social distancing sign on the floor to keep 6 feet distancing between clients

It is always a good idea to be aware of the contagion levels in your area.

This will help you to react correctly and close or limit the functions of your restaurant if there is a notable increase in cases.

Also, you should consider the percentage of people vaccinated in your city, and if there is any variant that has reached it.

The Omicron variant, according to experts, is even more contagious and a bigger risk to your staff.

This way you can avoid the contagion of your employees and protect your guests better.

Something I wanted to mention is that you should always keep your audience educated on these changes that you are making in your restaurant.

This is vital so that people can adapt to them because they receive the information on time.

Don’t Let a Shortage of Staff Stop Your Restaurant!

The restaurant staff shortage is a real problem. However, the necessary precautions must be taken to protect your staff, your guests, and your business.

This problem does not mean that you should close, but rather that you must adapt your business and prepare it to survive the new normal.

You should also consider:

  • Investing in social media marketing.
  • In local SEO to boost your restaurant’s website.
  • Creating business alliances with the most efficient local food delivery services.
  • And adapting all your dishes to the delivery format.

All of this will make your business evolve, and more importantly, survive.

Good luck!

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