Hospitality staffing: Happy teams make happy customers

Hospitality staffing: Happy teams make happy customers

Discover the latest trends on hospitality staff and uncover ways in which you can properly support your workers, so they can delight your diners.

It’s no secret that businesses in the hospitality industry are always managing staffing issues to some degree. In recent years, it’s fair to suggest that there are few other industries that have  had to face a harder challenge than the hospitality sector.

Those that took part in our recent Beyond the Booking Hospitality Industry report, however, said they expect hiring or retaining employees will be less of a challenge in 2024, suggesting the staffing crisis, experienced by so many businesses for so many years, could be easing. On the other hand, many venues are quietly optimistic about bringing in more revenue and even expanding with new sites, which could create their own staffing headaches.

Read our 5 top tips for managing a successful team in your bar or restaurant


Restaurant management working on laptop and smiling

What is the outlook on staffing and growth in the hospitality sector?

The fact remains that restaurant staffing is still a challenge, as more than half (53%) still need more team members. But it is one that many venues appear to be succeeding in addressing. Those surveyed said they had 10% fewer staff vacancies than last year.

Of those that do have vacancies, their needs are varied with an average of three openings in front-of-house and two in the back-of-house.

Growth and expansion for bars and restaurants

Owners and operators’ expectations for 2024 are running high, with nearly half (48%) expecting increased revenue in 2024. There is a real sense of optimism in the industry – particularly compared to the start of 2023, when only 28% were feeling positive after being asked the same question.

This optimism isn’t misplaced, as 36% of diners are already making plans to enjoy a meal out more regularly this year. That could mean more busy days and nights, and the need for a bigger team to maintain and even improve your service.

Expansion is a hot topic too as more than a quarter (28%) of operators are considering opening new venues in 2024 - that’s after 18% of those surveyed had already opened a new venue in 2023. This will inevitably create more jobs, which is great news for the sector, but it could also ramp up the competition for great staff in your area. 

It’s also worth taking into consideration that  a potential rise in the number of days venues are open (18% are open more days per week), which could further add to this increased need for staff.  

As you can see, operators will need to put as much focus on their staff as they do their customers to ensure they meet those demands in the coming year.


Restaurant front-of-house and kitchen staff conversing

Increase staff loyalty (to nurture customer loyalty)

As well as building loyalty with customers, it is important to build loyalty with staff. As it so often goes, it is far better to retain your existing employees than it would be to replace them. Happy and well supported staff won’t just provide better service (thus increasing your chances of repeat bookings and loyal customers); they can also act as evangelists for your workplace when you’re looking to fill positions in a competitive jobs market.  

Research shows, for example, that more than half of Gen Z workers (aged 16-24) do not see themselves staying in the hospitality sector for more than four years. This suggests that the hospitality industry is seen as a stop-gap, with many people jumping into it during their younger years to finance their time at university, for example, but not sticking around for long afterward.

That same survey reported 56% of the 500 respondents as saying limited resources allocated to employee training and development contributed to a lack of career progression. This should be a key consideration if you’re planning to expand your team. What can you do to ensure your employees feel empowered to do their jobs and grow within your business?



How technology can help you retain staff

As well as giving the right training and opportunities that employees are looking for, supporting them with the right tools to do their job well could be another key factor in retaining staff. As they say, ‘happy staff make happy customers!'

Just under half (43%) of venues believe they have the technology they need to run smoothly. That’s according to a ResDiary report that also found as many as 20% of venues knew for a fact that they didn’t have the systems they needed to operate efficiently. Keeping your staff happy and making sure they're supported with the right tools to take unnecessary legwork away and make their lives easier, will make your workplace a happier, more productive place to be.

Consider your core systems. For most hospitality businesses these are, booking management, table management, and of course, EPOS. Tools such as ResDiary can help to reduce the unnecessary admin and potential headaches of handling table bookings, allowing your team more time to focus on their customers. 

See what's possible with ResDiary and review our key features.

Data can also play a vital role in giving you visibility into your booking trends and operational needs - especially when it is shared between systems, like booking software and EPOS. This can help you maintain consistent and strong staffing numbers to help you ensure a smooth service and a great experience, not just for your customers but your employees too. A system such as Rotaready not only lets you manage staff rotas digitally, but its functionality also means you can produce accurate timesheets and have complete control over labour costs too. 

Focusing time and resources on attracting – and more importantly – retaining staff will set you up for success in the long run.

Could it be time to embrace new tools for venue management or upgrade your existing ones?


Read the beyond the booking hospitality industry report from ResDiary