The labor shortage has perhaps been more frustrating to supermarket and grocery store operators than the pandemic restrictions these past months.

Struggling with a shortage of workers and high employee turnover is not new to retail food operators. More broadly, the labor shortage has become widespread across numerous industries.

So how do retail food operators focus on streamlining worker tasks, while ensuring food availability and safety? Managing an hourly workforce, including setting and keeping track of schedules while balancing the store’s needs with that of employees is a daunting task. With the high cost of recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining staff, one tactic that can help streamline operations is to invest in an automated kitchen.

Smarter strategies are now available to maintain fresh and prepared food safety without increasing human contact, allowing operators to use labor more effectively and ensuring that product waste is minimized. For example, automation will simplify certain tasks and move workers to where they can be more efficient and effective.

Access to cutting-edge technology will increase the efficiency of managing day-to-day responsibilities, such as employee scheduling, food prep tasks, equipment cleaning, and tracking incoming shipments of goods. In addition, the task of training people who may have never worked in a grocery store has become more critical in the face of new demands for sanitation and social distancing.

Utilizing an automated kitchen can increase productivity and reduce chance of error. One such system, the MenuCommand® Kitchen Automation Platform by DayMark, provides applications for task management, receiving, menu labeling, and temperature monitoring. Using a web portal, operators can document the progress of ongoing operations in both the front- and back-of-house quickly and efficiently with a variety of tools that address the assignment and tracking of tasks, flexible scheduling, employee training, and the monitoring of cooler temperatures and line checks.  

The labor shortage is not expected to end any time soon—workers are not just being cautious about the health risks in returning to the workplace; some are looking for better pay, improved hours, and access to childcare. By investing in a more efficient and effective technology solution for front- and back-of-house operations, store operators can address their current staffing issues while simultaneously preparing for future increase in demand.