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How Staffing Technology is Changing the Face of Catering

As we officially roll into a new decade, we look forward to change, opportunities and innovation to help us run our businesses with higher levels of customer satisfaction, profitability and efficiency. One of the greatest challenges we have is staffing, and the peace of mind that comes with having the right people at our events delivering on clients’ expectations.

So how will advances in technology in the next decade help us deliver on the promise we all make in our sales pitches? We all want to make the claim that the differentiator between one company and another is quality of service. However, as the economic marketplace evolves, employee and employer expectations are challenged, and our standards grow. Technology has replaced a lot of the more traditional processes of hiring, training and managing of event staff. These technologies impact the service industry in both positive and negative ways.

Here are some of the social and economic factors affecting staffing — not just in catering but across the foodservice community:

  • On-demand foodservice and catering delivered to your door
  • Increases in minimum wages and cost of doing business
  • More digital user preferences
  • Consumer’s choice of when and how much service is needed

The long-standing view of catering is that it involves a trained, uniformed staff that serves drinks and beverages at event-specific locations. However, this view is now competing with a newer one — where online ordering allows customers to have catering delivered to their door to accompany their DIY events.

There is a bigger need for a living wage, which is driving up the cost to provide the additional hands that caterers feel they need to fulfill the customer expectations for high-quality service. In some cases, human customer/supplier interaction is being completely eliminated by mobile apps. Self-ordering kiosks, “grab-and-go” features and robotics are also changing the face of customer service.

The growing need for flexible schedules

As we shift to less staff, the labor pool is placing higher value flexibility. The ride share industry, for example, allows qualified workers to pick and choose shifts on their terms; and this trend is only growing.  Employees have the opportunity to pick and choose who they work for and when they want to work, forcing employers to rethink how they create the best opportunities to hire those key employees they want representing their companies.

Technology improving the way we staff and run our businesses

Not all aspects of technology are negative. Technology creates many opportunities that help us run our businesses better. Online staffing platforms, and time management software have made it easier for caterers and staff to communicate about schedules, shift opportunities and events. Many of these systems have also allowed for communication between other software such as event management, accounting, design and ride share applications.

Then there’s the issue of gaps in your staffing pool. Think of those days when you have more shifts than staff. Advancements and availability in on-demand temporary staffing software platforms enable us to fill in the gaps, allowing you to request staff that meet pre-determined criteria for your event.

As for training, there are more opportunities to learn online than ever before. It’s still just as important for companies to create specific training platforms that are tailored to fit their operating and service procedures. These educational opportunities are a great way for employers to provide value and a sense of inclusion for employees.

Technology is always changing. It’s up to your organization to understand what’s available for you to use in order to recruit, train and engage your staff. They are, after all, the face of your company and are responsible for the delivering high quality services to your customers.

For an updated overview of the latest software available and solutions they provide, please check out our website.

Lead photo courtesy of Chef John Reed.

John Reed

Owner, Custom Culinary Solutions, Chicago, IL

John Reed is a professional chef with over 30 years’ experience. He is the owner of Customized Culinary Solutions, a culinary consulting firm located in the Chicago Northshore area. He works with restaurant, catering, and foodservice companies to provide the highest quality food possible. His contributions include menu and recipe development, emerging concept development, and transition management for companies introducing culinary and production software programs. His company specializes as an on-demand culinary department supporting out-sourced culinary project management.

An active member of the ACF, he has earned certifications as a Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Administrator, and American Academy of...