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Simple Tips for Tackling Labor Shortages

It goes without saying that our industry is facing labor challenges like never before. In fact, National Restaurant Association reports that foodservice is still down 750,000 jobs — roughly 6.1% of its workforce — from pre-pandemic levels1.

Simply put, no other industry is facing a more challenging path to employment recovery than we are. And, while some progress is being made, it’s not going to change anytime soon. In fact, one in three operators report a drop in the total level of culinary skill in their kitchen staffs (Datassential, 2022).

So, what do we do in the meantime? Here are a few tips to help simplify back-of-house prep and improve efficiencies across the board. 

  1. Consider using speed scratch ingredients on your menu to help reduce prep time BOH and increase prep consistency for your staff. Examples include pre-chopped vegetables and pre-marinated and pre-seasoned proteins. 
  1. Try fully cooked proteins on your menu to reduce cook and prep time in the kitchen and help all workers — regardless of skill — create entrees quicker and more efficiently. 
  1. Consider investing in new technologies, equipment or innovations to implement back of house that will save time in the long run. 
  1. Make sure you have standard operating procedures in place to help new workers feel confident in the BOH routine and processes. 
  1. Layout your kitchen efficiently. For instance, if you’re fast-casual, make sure workers can crank out orders at high volume. If you’re fine dining, you may want an open kitchen to show off as many plates as possible. Either way, you want to set up your staff to move swiftly and effectively. 

Running efficiently during these lean times is no easy task, but there are ways you can get ahead without taking shortcuts. We hope these tips are a great place start. 

Content courtesy of Burke Corporation 

1 National Restaurant Association, 2022

2 Datassential One Table Report, 2022