Everybody knows how valuable technology is for the success of a restaurant – the last two years have borne ample testimony to this. However, simply implementing technology like a food ordering application to your restaurant is not going to miraculously change your business. In order to reap the benefits of the software and hardware that you bring in, you need to get your staff onboard.
Your restaurant will benefit from new technology only once your staff accepts and actively supports the tools you bring in. When your employees are fully behind the digital upgrades, they will use all its facets and features, accruing amazing advantages to your restaurant. Therefore, you should take steps to win your workers over each time you launch new restaurant technology.
· Show Your Staff The Value Of The New Technology
No matter what the technology is, buy-in is faster if we know its benefits to us. It is no different with your restaurant employees. If they have a clear understanding of what they stand to gain from the new tech you are bringing in, they will be far more enthusiastic about it. Be specific about the advantages of the technology that you are hoping to introduce. Go beyond talking about the restaurant and profits, tell them how their work experience will be enhanced by the new tools. Better yet, give them a chance to experience it for themselves. Give them the time and space to use the technology through simulations. Be creative: conduct role plays so staff get a feel of the positive impact of technology across the boards. Seeing is believing they say, so create opportunities for your employees to see the difference the new technology will make.
· Integrate Training Into The Work Day
A perennial objection to new technology is that restaurant staff have no time. Well, that is mostly true – no matter what capacity they may be working in, be it front-of-house or back-of-house or admin, your employees are always busy. And adopting new technology requires training. With an already packed shift, it is not surprising that restaurant workers view the training as a burden. Because this is above and beyond their regular duties, most will be unhappy about the extra hours they will need to put in just to learn to use the technology.
Try to arrange training during work hours. Reallocate duties and train your staff in batches while they are on-shift. Because they are not expected to put in additional time they will be more amenable to the training and, by extension, more accepting of the new technology.
· Create Opportunities To Use The Technology Before Launching It
Restaurant staff are also uncomfortable around new technology when they feel they are not well versed in handling it. This is especially true of front-of-house staff who do not want to appear uncertain or hesitant in the presence of guests. An obvious preemptive measure is to design a training programme that is thorough. Then of course there are the simulations talked about earlier. Or you could get your employees to invite family and friends and practice using the new gadgets and software with them. By taking away the element of judgment that is a given when serving a customer, you create a friendlier environment for your staff to get familiar with technology that is about to be launched.
Having trial runs is also a fantastic way to assuage the fears of those who feel they are not tech-savvy. The aim is to get them comfortable with the technology and instill confidence in their abilities to handle it.
· Ask Staff For Their Views
Actively seek staff feedback after you introduce new technology. You can do this in different ways: conduct polls, get team leaders to collate the opinions of those in their groups, and speak to your staff yourself. When you ask for input from your staff you signal to them that their experiences count and that you have their best interests at heart. In this way, they will be more open to the technology because they will see that it is the effect the technology has on them, and not the technology per se, that matters. Employee input will also be a good gauge of the success of the tools you have brought in and will help you figure out the correct steps to take to make the most of the digitization.
Change is not always easy to navigate, especially when people have been used to doing things a certain way. That said, you cannot stay static and expect your restaurant to thrive. Your restaurant needs new technology. So keep upgrading and digitizing – just make sure to take your staff along with you.