In the midst of the ongoing labor shortage, companies have turned to a new solution: automation.
Businesses large and small are seeing the perks of incorporating this technology into their operations as it becomes more accessible and affordable.
“Staffing…it was a problem and continues to be a problem,” said Cedric Pool, president of THAT Burger Spot Franchising, Inc. “We figured we will be able to automate the process of order taking, we wouldn’t have to pay somebody to do it.”
The company sought the help of Grubbrr, a company that sells free-standing kiosks and accepts in-store orders, while merging online orders. According to Pool, the first two kiosks in one location cost $14,400, which is nearly the same amount a worker would earn annually taking orders over the phone.
A report from the National Restaurant Association shows that seven in 10 restaurants are struggling to meet consumer demand due to a lack of workers. Although adding 1.7 million jobs to the restaurant industry last year, many of these businesses are still facing labor shortages.
In addition to the lack of labor, NCR Hospitality President Dirk Izzo says that the cost of kitchen and front-of-house staff are around 20% to 40% higher than one year ago, making automation a more cost-effective choice.
However, despite the assumption that more automation could mean less employment, Nana Joes Granola owner Michelle Pusateri believes that this technology can be used in a manner that actually increases employment.
For instance, using automation to optimize production processes and equipment can make it easier to push products, meet demand, and allow companies to maintain workers with higher wages. This means workers can learn new skills that will allow them to operate alongside these tools.