When the restaurant industry came to a halt, workers had to figure out what they could do while their place of employment was unavailable. Even industry professionals with a significant career behind them started to brainstorm options.
Unemployment benefits were expanded, but many thought it was time to make a new plan with unknown lasting impacts on the future.
Some industries that continued to thrive despite it all – technology, insurance, and healthcare, for example – seemed like the best choice.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, while restaurants have struggled to fill jobs, other industries with lower risk have seen an upturn. For example, compared to February 2020 there are 100,000 more people employed in storage and warehousing alone whereas the restaurant industry is still 1.3million positions below pre-pandemic levels.
Now that the restaurant industry has seen a resurgence, those employees are staying in their new fields, though. Two prominent reasons are an improved environment and less demanding hours. FSR Magazine explains this in their July 20 article stating that more than half of restaurant workers are not intending to come back.
The shift has seen restaurants at staffing levels still 10% behind where they were before the pandemic. However, customers returning to dine-in restaurants are expecting the same high-level guest experience. But what can the hospitality industry do when it’s always been reliant on its employees to create the complete guest experience?
Well, innovative restaurants are turning to technology...
Fine dining restaurants need quality staff to serve their guests, but that doesn’t mean they can’t use technology to assist them. One option that can provide restaurant management and staff a helping hand is a pay-at-the-table solution.
Pay-at-the-table allows guests to settle their bills at their convenience, but it can do much more than that. With a table pay solution, restaurants create more time for their servers. The back-and-forth that usually comes with settling the check is eliminated.
Servers gain 10 minutes per table on average. That extra time can be used to upsell, make recommendations, or meet guest needs at the end of the meal — activities that would have otherwise been neglected due to lack of time.
Servers aren’t the only staff that benefits.
Over-stretched bartenders can use the mobile payment solution to let guests take care of their bills without slowing them down in what typically is a fast-paced environment. The bar staff can start tabs for guests who have pre-dinner drinks and don’t have to worry about collecting payment before they are seated. Bar staff won’t be splitting their attention between making drinks and keeping an eye on every customer – no one slips through the cracks - and they can focus on fulfilling drink requests.
Additionally, hosts have greater oversight of the entire restaurant and can more accurately estimate wait times for incoming guests based on the number of current tables that have paid.
A pay-at-the-table solution is significantly more convenient for staff, but what about the guest experience?
Unsurprisingly, guests also value convenience. Anyone who has been in a hurry to get somewhere after a meal knows you don’t want to be stuck at a busy restaurant waiting to get the server’s attention to complete the payment process.
As evidence of customer satisfaction, establishments using a pay-at-the-table option see larger gratuities for their servers — a 16% increase on average.
Further, a best-in-class mobile payment solution can allow guests to provide feedback on their server and the dining experience. The feedback is instantly available to staff to follow up on, so no guest ever has to leave the restaurant unhappy. By addressing guest concerns immediately, restaurants can avoid unnecessary negative reviews that could have been easily handled at the time of service.
When you consider that management can use the feedback and data collected during payment to develop marketing strategy and staff training, pay at the table solutions can with relief from the restaurant employee migration challenge.
Furthermore, restaurants with advanced technology in place will likely attract the best candidates moving forward. Employees considering the restaurant industry will seek better working environments that are less physically and mentally draining. Technology can provide just that and streamline multiple staff touch points and employees can focus their time on the guest experience and increasing revenue through upselling.
By making the most of your existing POS and adding complementary functionality such as pay-at-the-table restaurants can give their staff an edge.
Instead of running back and forth to a stationary POS, servers can use a pay-at-the-table solution which allows guests to pay their bills, leave a tip, and provide valuable feedback to improve customer satisfaction. This saves server time and avoids unnecessary extra touch points that don’t add value to the experience.
A top line pay-at-the-table solution will securely send the details from each guest directly to the top restaurant POS systems without using any third-party, cloud-based integrations that open the door for security intrusion. Instead, customer details are encrypted and are not accessible in the event the POS is breached.
In the future, restaurants will need to establish seamless technology integrations into every part of their operations to stay competitive. Restaurants using a pay-at-the-table solution raise the bar and establish a clear advantage.
Learn how to evaluate pay-at-the-table.