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How technology can improve restaurant staff motivation and productivity

Posted by the Wi5 Team19th December 2019Opinion

Customers dine at your restaurant for the experience, and their interaction with staff is just as important as the food. Keeping a team of motivated and productive staff helps ensure that customers are met with consistently positive interactions. But it’s no easy feat. With hospitality staff turnover at 30% in the UK, restaurants need to craft creative ways to keep staff happy, motivated and providing a consistent level of customer care. A HubSpot survey found that 95% of restaurant owners agree that technology improves overall restaurant efficiency. And, although it isn’t the only route to go down, tech allows you to stay on top of trends, delight staff members and provide the tools they need to work to the highest standard.  

Here are just a few facets of your restaurant that technology can help in driving motivation and ultimately productivity.


On-boarding and HR: Start off on the right foot

Odds are, you can think back to a painful or less-than-perfect on-boarding experience. Historically, on-boarding and HR processes have included lengthy paperwork trails, inefficient meetings and low task completion rates. On-boarding is the first formal introduction of a new staff member to the restaurant and overall brand … the experience should be sharp, easy and memorable rather and not full of frustration and confusion.

Making this process digital firstly speeds up the process, allowing staff to be utilised in their intended roles sooner (something both parties will surely be thankful for). Just look at a few options – from Sapling to Harri. In using an end-to-end on-boarding and HR solution, you’re providing a central knowledge bank, so staff can reference learning materials, scheduling/time off, and their secure personal documents easily. And, you’re adding bells and whistles to on-boarding in the form of animation, graphic design and a smooth UX for an impressive employee experience right off the bat. They are the best brand ambassadors, after all.


Training: Continuous knowledge sharing

Knowledge sharing doesn’t stop after the on-boarding period, especially as restaurants are always changing.  Whether your HR/onboarding platforms also support continuous training, or you choose to implement another tool – a tech-forward approach should save managers time in having to physically train their teams and, when you choose the best solution for your operation, serve as an engaging resource that supports staff in a fun, less pressured way.

Custom learning management systems, like Plume or Flow, allow you to tailor learning that set your team up for success. With intuitive features and smart design, these technologies are built to teach in the most effective ways for all parties. Ditch the pen, paper and unnecessary group trainings in favour of exciting opportunities for people to learn and develop with, and on behalf of, your brand.


Rewards: Incentivise the team

Although a pat on the back still goes a long way, technology makes it easier and more exciting to reward your staff for all the hard work they do, and/or motivate them to improve moving forward. Just look at Perkbox – ‘perks’ are earned from friendly competition, feedback and shout-outs from colleagues.

Whether staff get a free cup of coffee, a gift, or hard cash as their reward, there’s benefits for management with using this type of program as well. Easily keep track of feedback on certain staff members to earmark future leadership, constructively coach those who might be underperforming and use insights to build out training and hiring programs. These details are things that delight your staff and are also a powerful tool in hiring new team members. Remember that aforementioned 30% staff turnover rate…

Communication: Connecting the dots

As key as consistent communication is, it’s often ‘easier said than done’ with a rota of staff and a full house … potentially in multiple locations. Technology is invaluable when used to bridge communication gaps, ensuring that information is shared swiftly across the board. Especially between management and their front-line employees. Internal communications app Speakap offers company news, training, knowledge and feedback in a centralised place, while Yapster is a messaging app that that offers staff a dedicated space to connect one-on-one or in groups.

‘My ethos is making sure all the team is really included, to ask them for ideas and seeing how we can implement them (…) So when they start seeing stuff on the menu, they know it is part of them.’-  Daniel Broughton, Searcy’s Executive Head Chef

Using technology for communication is certainly a more convenient way to make sure the entire team feels heard.

Operations: Removing pain points

At the end of the day, happier customers mean happier staff. When customers are enjoying their experience and staff aren’t having to put out as many fires, so to speak, it’s a huge burden off of their shoulders. Consider implementing technology solutions to reduce in-venue pain points, which will allow staff to focus on a wider view of operations. Wi5’s mobile Order & Pay solution allows customers to order and pay for food and drink from their own mobile devices. There’s less pressure on your staff, and more control directly in the hands of customers.

You don’t have to change every facet of your restaurant operations – start by identifying some key technology additions or changes you can make to spark a noticeable change in employee engagement.


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