Using Automation to Ease the Employee Shortage

Sep 29, 2021

by Natasha Reta Culinary Consultant

Many optimists forecast that robotics such as the fry-cook robot “Flippy” will run our kitchens in the near future. While this would provide significant assistance to the many restaurant operators troubled with a lack of available employees, its advancements will need adequate testing and training that several operators cannot financially map in their current struggle to stay afloat.

The restaurant labor shortage is the number one challenge facing operators right now. The strain on labor trickles downstream and affects all back of house and front of house operations making the customer experience less than ideal. The pandemic pushed front-of-house service efficiency to the forefront of our processes, leaving the back-of-house struggling to maintain. Fortunately, there have been automated advances and equipment innovations that are allowing operators the opportunity to streamline.

Notable automation and innovations for restaurant owners to consider

These are a few of the notable automation and innovations restaurant operators can review to enhance their current operations without investing in the untested workings of robotics in their place of business.

KDS – If you don’t know, well, you should. KDS is a kitchen display system that helps BOH employees operate more efficiently and keeps them organized in preparing orders.  Orders coming in through a POS system, online, or kiosk are populated on the KDS and color-coded for time awareness. Cooking directions and pictures can also be incorporated to assist even the most unseasoned cook.


Kiosk Ordering– Front-of-house self-service kiosks are helping offset the need for multiple order takers. This has been a great asset to fast-casual operations when volume levels extend beyond what a physical cashier can maintain. Allowing guests to view the menu, make modifications, order, and pay all at once.

Shake Shack
Ordering via kiosk is a breeze at Shake Shack

Tableside payment processing– While this is not the newest advancement, it significantly expedites the payment process for the guest, allowing them to pay and depart as soon as requested. Often, service staff is tied down at the POS, struggling to get orders in, entering modifications, and processing payments.  This option takes the struggle off service staff and makes the close-out process simple for the guest.

payment processing restaurants
Pay directly from your table at Big Buns

Enhancing Restaurant Guest Experience

We have noticed now more than ever that the customer experience can make or break your business.  Many guests do not want to dine out without confirming reviews first, so the slightest negative review can steer guests away. Testing automation in your operation will significantly enhance the experience and ensure positive reviews for future guests.