Labor Shortage Solutions

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The labor pool for our industry in the Pacific Northwest is historically shallow. At the time of this writing, May 2021 it’s a cracked desert. Harbor Foodservice’s Restaurant Solutions Group gathered insights from operators who’ve innovated techniques, identified taxpayer funded resources, and recruited experts from unlikely sources to present solutions in a series of webinars.

Recognizing that people have preferences in how they gather information, we’re offering the recorded version of the webinars below, as well as producing accompanying articles.

We’ve categorized our Labor Shortage Solutions into three main focus areas, each with their own sub-groups:

Part I: Recruiting

Andy Cook, Harbor Foodservice Restaurant Solutions Group Consultant

Coping Strategies: For when your staffing levels are below the threshold of demand that includes Messaging that informs expectations, tactically limiting hours and days of operations, and new service styles.

Attracting Talent: How to increase you chances of bring former employees back, job posting platform alternatives, and eliminating unnecessary barriers in the application protocol that minimizes “ghosting”

Recruiting Like A Marketer: Guest collaborator and master marketer, Tara Clever offers insights, context, and actionable advice on attracting applicants like a marketer attracts customers using proven techniques and strategies.

You can view the recorded Part I webinar below.

Part II: Training

Andy Cook, Restaurant Consultant with Derek Bugge, Chef Consultant

Harbor Foodservice Restaurant Solutions Group

In this segment, the focus is kept on the state of labor in May/June of 2021. Many restaurants are needing to fill 25-40% of their staff while facing less skilled applicants, skill drain among experienced workers, and an as-yet unknown industry-wide paradigm shift.

Consideration of the impact filling 25-40% of positions in a short span of time will have on your trainers and staff, your guests’ experience, and the inevitable degrading of standards, the following is intended to provide strategies and techniques that will accelerate training and minimize impact.

Pre-Training: The following offers considerations that will prepare you, your team, and new hires for volume on-boarding now and moving forward. Early preparation efforts will have a magnified positive effect not just for the training period, but for the extent of their employment, aa well as increasing long-term retention rates.

Formal Training: The nuances of training in your establishment is as varied as you are and dependent on so many factors, this section will aim to call out key considerations, strategies, and resources for your consideration that will help keep learning focused, relevant, & timely with less burden on the trainers.

Skills Development: Committing and creating opportunities for knowledge and skill development is a best practice is “normal” times… under these circumstances it’s vital.

You can view the recorded Part II webinar below.

Part III: Retention

In the third and final installment, we explore the aspect of labor shortage that has the most positive impact of staffing, profitability, and success: Retention Strategies.

We present aspects of compensation such as Tip Sharing, Service Charges, & Bonus Structures. We also share, and provide context for, easy to implement practices, programs, efforts, and strategies that add a positive gravity to your workplace culture that makes your jobs harder to leave.

Compensation Strategies: The legal requirements surrounding Tip Sharing, AKA Tip Pooling, have shifted to create new opportunities to fairly compensate BOH. We present ideas and structures that can capitalize on this new(er) opportunity while not disincentivizing FOH. Service charge formulas and bonuses structures that that are successful.

Culture & Leadership: Considerations and techniques that can help promote cultural buy-in from leadership on through the staff as well as actions you can implement today that will ease stressors on your staff and foster a sense of dedication.

Culture & Staff Engagement: Social and business level engagements that help to knit your team, propel commitment, and increase your “gravity” in a manner that attracts quality and holds productivity.

You can view the recorded Part III webinar below.