The employee turnover rate in the hospitality sector rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2015, according to data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall turnover rate in the accommodation and food service industry was 72.1%, up from 58.9% in 2011. Turnover expense is significant, considering the cost of advertising jobs, interviewing and screening candidates, training new hires and allowing for service mistakes as onboarding occurs. To limit turnover, the National Restaurant Association recommends you invest in employees by providing tools, training and development opportunities throughout their tenure. Think field trips to farms to learn about sourcing or courses to build their expertise. Employees are more likely to stay in an environment of mutual respect – that means setting expectations early on, providing training, offering sincere praise when merited and scheduling check-in meetings to understand their perspective. Finally, help them see opportunities for advancement so they can envision a career path with you.
Calculate your sales per guest
Every week it seems there is a new technology that will help you stay on top of your restaurant’s finances. But if you are reluctant to jump on that treadmill, there is a simple calculation you can use to track your profits and losses. Restaurant Owner recommends that on every financial report you create – whether daily, weekly or monthly – you have a column for the sales per guest for beverage and for food. You can readily see discrepancies when comparing time periods or locations. If sales are lower for meals per guest in one location, for example, you might have a problem with theft or simply a need for more training. Having this information on hand can help you schedule employees appropriately and track expenses for tableware and other supplies as well.
These strawberries won’t make it to the market
Florida strawberry fields have been flooded with strawberries lately – but many of them are being sprayed with herbicide to prevent any harvest. That’s according to a recent NPR report that said there aren’t enough workers to pick all of the berries and they’re going to waste. What’s more, California provides a longer growing season for strawberries along with ideal growing conditions. When California berries hit the market, the price of strawberries drops and it’s no longer profitable for Florida growers to harvest their crop.
Times are changing for women in restaurants
Women are rare in the ranks of top chefs in the United States but the landscape for restaurant ownership is a different story. Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, said that between 2007 and 2012, the number of women-owned restaurants jumped by 40%. Today, 33% of American restaurants are majority-owned by women and another 15% are co-owned by women and men.
Eliminating tips and raising prices to stay in the black
Two-dozen New York City restaurants and counting have joined the no-tipping brigade since Danny Meyer announced his plans to make the move last year. They have also raised their prices in an effort to stay profitable amid new state regulations requiring them to give waiters and other traditionally tipped employees a 50% raise and pay an increased minimum wage to other employees. In a Grub Street article on the topic, Sabato Sagaria, chief restaurant officer at Meyer’s Union Hospitality Group, predicts 2016 will usher in one of the largest shifts in the restaurant industry in the past 30 years. For now, dining out in New York will likely become a more expensive prospect as operators navigate their new business model.
Do you want beer with that?
As quick-service restaurants struggle to appeal to customers tempted by fast-casual competitors, many are adding something special to their menus: beer. Eater reports that Burger King is offering the beverage at many new locations across the United Kingdom this year, McDonald’s just started serving it in South Korea in addition to many outlets across Europe where it has long offered it, and Taco Bell started selling alcohol at its cantina-style outlets in Chicago and San Francisco.
Compete with – or join – the meal subscription trend
One effect of the healthy eating trend is more consumers see value in preparing meals at home. According to a recent report from Food Marketing Institute, consumers prepare five meals at home weekly, on average. Meal subscription services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are vying for a slice of that market. A Foodable report says restaurants still have some advantages: Consumers prefer restaurant dining and take-out at breakfast and lunch, and meal subscription services only provide meals for twosomes or families, not singles. But as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em…there is opportunity for restaurateurs to collaborate with meal subscription services. Some operators have started providing recipes and ingredients to these services to encourage nutritious eating – and boost the value of their brand as one that promotes good health.
New device tests for gluten on the go
A new device will make it possible for restaurant guests to test their food for gluten in two minutes. Eater reports that a San Francisco company called 6SensorLabs developed a technology that acts as a portable food lab. Users put their food in a disposable capsule. When chemicals inside the capsule react with the food, the contents filter onto a test strip and sensors test for the presence of gluten. The company says the sensors can detect within two minutes whether the food contains 20 parts per million of gluten.
Use scoring to measure performance
Scoring is one technology trend helping restaurateurs boost their bottom line right now. It helps you collect metrics about menu items and employees so you can make adjustments as needed. If you’re uncertain about the future of a menu item, you can track its popularity and test substitutes. On the staffing side, it can help you measure your employees’ sales, time required to turn tables, waste and other issues including unauthorized discounts. Having the data on hand can help you stop small problems before they become big ones.
Next in food delivery
Just as food delivery companies have been entering the market in quick succession, they are now beginning to show signs of trouble. In recent weeks, SpoonRocket closed its doors, Instacart cut the pay of its delivery people and DoorDash lowered its value, according to CNET. So what could be the next big thing in food delivery? Domino’s Pizza is currently testing an autonomous delivery vehicle, which has already delivered pizzas to customers in Australia. Upon receiving their delivery, customers punch in a code, then a hatch opens to release the order. Then there’s delivery by drone. CNBC reports that Foodpanda is testing drones for food delivery in Singapore, with rollouts planned in its 24 markets in the coming months.