How Equipment Can Positively Impact Labor Take a look at headlines about the foodservice industry and you’ll see a trend emerge — labor shortages and the impact on operations. A decrease in candidates and employee turnover contribute to the issue, but increasing wages stands out as the leading factor. Operators attribute 41 percent of their labor increases to higher wages and benefits, according to FE&S’ 2018 Forecast Study. While equipment won’t eliminate labor issues, the right pieces can help operators address labor challenges in a number of timesaving ways, including: faster production, less maintenance or repairs, easier operation and increased equipment up-time. Equipment that does most of the work and requires little active user participation means a practically hands-free operation where the crew can “set it and forget it.” By minimizing or simplifying the level of equipment-user interaction needed to produce the desired result — whether that’s a toasted bun, steamed pasta or filtered water — manufacturers ensure a restaurant operation sees a ROI through better quality menu items and a streamlined process. Ergonomic designs that reduce physical strain or offer greater accessibility boost production and make workflow easier for staff members. In addition, using pictures instead of words eliminates the need for time-consuming translations, which can increase onboarding time and oversight. Equipment designed for easy, intuitive use also means less training time and an overall easier training process. Given the high turnover in the foodservice industry, self-training has become increasingly more important in the interest of time and money. Equipment that is user-friendly, such as those with touchscreens that look like smartphones, makes for faster onboarding without manager oversight. Equipment features that save operators time can vary from piece to piece; here are a few examples from the Antunes product lineup: Touchscreens Antunes’ latest steamer offerings — the Jet Steamer and Rapid Steamer — feature a touchscreen interface, making it easy for operators to program and run cook cycles for all of their menu needs. Ergonomic designs The Rapid Steamer features intelligent programming — just set the steam time and the RS-1000 will automatically optimize steaming performance. Accessories can also play a role in ergonomic design. The spatula designed for the Antunes Muffin Toaster allows for easy loading and unloading of English muffins, and the one for the Miracle Steamer features large holes in bottom to allow more steam to penetrate food. Easy cleaning The Egg Station with Dual Zone contains a machined grill surface for ease of cleaning. Additionally, the Hot Dog Corral is the easiest grill on the market to clean, taking less than 5 minutes. Low maintenance The VZN water filtration system delivers high-quality ingredient water through a two-phase process that extends the lifespans of the ultrafilter and carbon cartridge to ensure the lowest cost of ownership for premium water filtration. Because the ultrafilter ensures that mechanically clean water enters the carbon cartridge, the system requires only one low-cost carbon cartridge change per year rather than multiple times per year, like many competitive products. The right equipment can help alleviate some labor challenges by providing greater efficiency and requiring less training — benefiting the operator and ultimately, the customer. Learn more about getting the most out of your equipment with this article, The Value of Versatility.