On the Front Lines of Addressing Back-of-House Labor Challenges Interested in the changing role of labor? You’re not alone. At a recent Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, labor was once again the hot topic. According to this conference recap from Restaurant Business, the biggest concern was the impact of labor costs. “Restaurant operators’ top fear, by far, is labor. That’s assuming they can even find labor, which many operators can’t,” the article states. At Antunes, we know labor is a top consideration for our customers and prospects. Here, our sales team shares thoughts on this topic, based on the questions they’re asked and the conversations they’re having. Restaurants are getting smaller, and therefore the space available in the back-of-house is getting tight. Operators want to minimize the amount of space and the movement of their employees. In a small footprint, the equipment is vital and must be efficient, user-friendly and versatile. Having equipment that is programmable and can operate with the push of a button is key to freeing up employee time. If one employee is physically waiting on food to be finished at a station, it means a second employee is needed to complete other tasks. If the operator has confidence in the foodservice equipment, they can have one employee accomplish different tasks while the product is cooking. Furthermore, technology will allow for advances in automation. Automation will provide the ability for food to be produced consistently and in a timely manner, which has direct ties to labor. Chain customers are looking at automation to save on labor costs as wages increase to the $12+ range, as it will enable employee resources to be used in other areas. This advancement may lead to restaurants hiring fewer employees, working around the challenge of finding talent. Operators are looking to their equipment manufacturers for solutions, and Antunes understands the labor challenges facing quick-serve restaurants. We’ve worked with chains on optimizing back-of-house operations to address specific needs. See how in these case studies: Bringing Consistency and Efficiency to a QSR’s Popular Menu Item Challenge: An American regional chain of fast food restaurants was creating cheese fries by melting cheese slices on a griddle and adding them to the fries. This process was labor-intensive, inefficient and inconsistent. Solution: With the Rapid Steamer (RS-250), operators were now able to melt cheese easily and quickly, reducing the labor needed to manage the process and clean the griddle. Read the full case study Consistent Steamer Performance Leads to a Consistent Customer Experience Challenge: Employees of a fast casual sandwich chain used equipment that required them to manually pump water the entire time to generate steam for their signature sandwiches. Solution: The chain switched to the Deluxe Food Warmer (DFW). Instead of having to attend to product while it was steamed, employees were able to walk away to complete other tasks. By freeing up employees, the DFW helped reduce ticket times, cut customer wait times and speed up service. Read the full case study Designing a Cheese Melting Solution for a Mexican Fast Food Chain Challenge: To ensure the quality of its menu, a Mexican fast food chain required a solution that would accommodate different sizes of tortillas and increase operational efficiency in the kitchen. Solution: A customized Miracle Steamer was the perfect fit. Not only did it meet the chain’s culinary needs, the unit includes an audio alarm that allows operators to better manage kitchen production and is useful for drive-thru orders that require employees to complete several tasks quickly. Read the full case study Our team is here to discuss the impact labor has on your operation and how an equipment solution from Antunes can make a difference in your kitchen. Drop us a line to get the conversation started.