2020 brought us a lot of different lessons and left us with a lot of different problems to solve. The hospitality and restaurant industry being one of the most impacted, not only by forced closures and problems with even keeping their doors open for the duration of quarantine but coming back into normalcy, has proven to be equally challenging.
Between low motivation to go back to work for employees and an increased ability to get a job online, restaurants are facing a crisis as they’ve never seen. Billboards outside of restaurants across the country spell out “NOW HIRING – $100 SIGNING BONUS” in large, sad letters. They’re all competing for the same thing – the ability to stay open and keep enough employees to at least run the basics of their restaurant.
Luckily, with big problems come new and innovative solutions. We’re going to look at 3 different tech trends that are attempting – and succeeding – at solving this heavy crisis and revolutionizing how we look at the food industry.
1. The Gig Economy: Bite Ninja
Bite Ninja is a start-up tech company that was specifically developed to solve the hiring problems facing the restaurant industry. One evening in early 2020, William Clem and Orin Wilson found themselves in the unique position of having a problem and being able to solve it with their own creation. This technology connects restaurants with people who work from home and take orders at the window, front counter, and tables with the help of video conferencing technology and an uber-like freelancer system. Customers actually get to see the person they’re ordering from and even have a more personal experience, which is so important in a time where we are all trying to reconnect with one another.
2. Point of Sales on Tables
Having a Point of Sale on the table, such as an attached iPad or other system, can help greatly with reducing the need for employees and streamlining the whole process. Additionally, if customers are still wary of going out or contact issues, this is a great solution. Employees can run tables, seat guests, and tend to the overall running of the restaurant instead of being tied up to two or three individual tables.
3. Mobile and Online Ordering
Mobile and Online Ordering is yet another way to reduce the number of employees a restaurant needs to run at full capacity. People will be able to put in and pay for their own orders (instead of occupying an employee’s time to take the order) and pick it up without any pressure besides cook time on the staff.
The hiring crisis is a sign of a shifting industry, but there are tools to get through it and adapt for the future. Lively and bustling restaurants are the center point of society, a place for breaking bread and making connections, which is exactly what we need in the world right now.
Written by: Alexis Wilkins, Senior Contributor, Beale St. Eats