Blaming Others or Better Solutions

by Martin Boyd

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The continuing story of labour shortages continues to make the headlines with the UK Government receiving criticism for failing to see the shortages in the food and farming sector. “...400,000 vacancies in the sector at the last count – are already harming the attempts of businesses in the sector to rebuild,” said UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls

Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA joins the chorus: “Staffing is a major issue. I’ve lost count of the hoteliers and restaurateurs commenting on mass no-shows having set up interviews – that’s if they get candidates in the first place!” – We have easy targets to blame for continuing struggles - in summary:

  • The Government (all countries)
  • Brexit (if you’re in the UK)
  • Covid (all countries)
  • President Putin (all countries apart from 2 or 3).

Easy targets!

When the pressure is on, like a lot of things in life, there is a danger that we do a lot of hand wringing and finger pointing but fail to step up and make changes to improve the situation. So it was encouraging that, when reading another article* about the staffing issue, it did finish with some practical - if not exactly surprising - advice “Integrated Operations” and “Automated Tasks”, “Digitising all your operations will make your team more flexible and agile.”

Well, yes.

But What? And How?

The hospitality sector, as the name implies, relies heavily on great service, and happy customers. Any automation brought in by managers cannot be at the expense of quality of service or customer satisfaction. In fact, making customer satisfaction the aim of any tech solutions will be key to getting this right. There are answers to the pressure teams are under...

A ‘No Gaps’ Ordering experience

Spoonfed has focussed development on the customer’s ordering experience - as with any engagement online if there’s a poor experience there are plenty of other places to try. Or what about, as in many cases, customers lifting the phone to book catering - they find they have to leave a message (short staffed you see…) and it’s the start of a drawn-out process.

Managed Menus = Managed Teams

An ordering experience where menus are clear for a confident, happy customer is only part of the story. We need to include tech solutions which will tackle the problem of reduced catering teams…

  • automatic email confirmations
  • control min and max items ordered each day
  • manage how many orders can be taken for any given time slot
  • control menu availability from day to day

Just some of the automated processes which bring controlled efficiency for the team and allow managers to decide when they will need more or fewer staff. Much of the comprehensive nature of Spooned’s end to end system is about time saving, and reducing manual processes - these are the practical solutions to the staffing issues faced in the F&B sector. And there is more…

Going further with Self Service…

When 365 Retail Markets brought Spoonfed into their family of businesses it was because much of what is described above fits naturally with their mindset of flexibility, convenience and streamlining.

Their range of self-service technology innovations in checkouts, coolers, vending machines and enhanced consumer experience in unattended ordering, are all part of the story of how managers can properly confront the staffing crisis while giving increased service.

Lastly, and just in case we feel we are battening down the hatches and that everything is on a downward spiral…well, it’s a story for another day, but the ability to order with confidence online, and using convenient payment options at innovative kiosks and vending, typically sees an increase in consumer spending.

Get in touch with Spoonfed to see how our solutions across all these areas can be part of your operation.


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