By Mike Walls, Operations Consultant & Beverage Certified Cicerone
Many restaurant owners, periodicals, and forums are talking about worker shortages. Restaurant worker subreddits and Facebook groups frequently discuss leaving the industry entirely for jobs with better hours, better pay, less stress, and benefits.
Restaurant workers are beginning to realize that their work experience could be substantially better in terms of pay and stress levels. They don’t have to put in 12-hour days, six or seven days a week with few breaks and minimal pay, relying on overtime to make a living.
The hard truth is many people who open restaurants come from unrelated industries, and despite good intentions, don’t understand how to run their operation. Even many business owners who have spent their lives in hospitality were never taught the “right ways” to do things. They simply do things the way they have always been done, getting the results they have always gotten. We see it constantly as consultants. This lack of understanding causes a lack of structure. The lack of structure results in higher costs, longer hours, tighter and tighter margins (with no money left for better pay), more frustration, higher turnover, and inevitably less profit.
All the issues outlined above that the restaurant workers are fleeing from en masse are symptoms of an underlying cause: Lack of systems, lack of training. With a degree of flexibility, there is a right and a wrong way to run a restaurant. If a restaurant is systemized properly and runs on best practices as we teach in our training and operations platform Synergy Sync, all these symptoms essentially sort themselves out by creating a better work experience through better systems and better training.
The goal as a restaurant owner should be to plan for the business, manage proactively, and create a structure such that everyone on your team is empowered to exceed your expectations, enjoy their work, and not grind themselves to the bone to deliver a great guest experience.
If the restaurant business wants to solve the worker shortage, doing things the way they have always been done is not the answer. We need to extend the hospitality we want shown to our guests to those at the heart of our operations. If we don’t, we won’t have any more skilled labor to rely on. We created Synergy Sync to help restauranteurs do precisely that.
Our methodology starts by creating a great management experience that is structured and empowering, with the right people in the right places. We follow this by teaching managers how to develop great team experiences built on promises that we make to each other by thorough training, meaningful feedback, and coaching. Once we have a fully staffed team, fully trained, and fully engaged, great guest experiences are the easy part. Add to this a commitment to agreed-upon, nonnegotiable daily systems, methods, and procedures for each position, plus an understanding of why we are committing to them. The result is success. Our clients and their employees thrive in this system. Worker shortages don’t exist for those creating better work experiences with better pay and more structure.
So, in the end, we have a choice to make. We can keep doing things the same way and watch as hospitality employees leave for better jobs or make hospitality jobs a better option. If you choose the latter, Synergy Sync and Synergy U can help.