Merchants continue to face a significant labor shortage, and how they respond can impact the future of their businesses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that retail job openings totaled 887,000, and openings in accommodations and food services totaled 1,339,000 in November 2022. Virtually all business operators find that legacy restaurant or retail IT systems can’t help them create the experiences consumers demand and the efficiency and cost-effectiveness necessary to stay profitable in 2023.
As a result, merchants are upgrading their restaurant or retail IT systems and deploying these solutions to overcome labor shortage challenges.
Dawn Saquic, sales & marketing manager at Touch Dynamic, says, “It’s all about self-service in both the retail and restaurant industries. With labor shortages at an all-time high, retail workers and restaurant servers are in high demand. The solution to these shortages is self-service.”
“Offering kiosks throughout your store or a fixed base tablet at a restaurant table allows patrons to browse inventory, view a menu, order food, and pay for their purchases. The technology works for you by offering seamless payment methods through PIN pad readers and no-contact NFC readers. Bonuses include your payment method always being in the customer’s possession and minimal human contact, which is a priority for patrons post-pandemic.”
Ravi Panjwani, vice president of Brother Mobile Solutions, looks for businesses to leverage mobile solutions. “Businesses will actively seek out innovative solutions that enable mobility and empower them to do more with less,” he says. “Long-term sales success depends on fast-paced inventory and customer satisfaction. Solutions that let employees address those challenges while staying on the go will significantly influence the retail and restaurant industries.”
“Leaders in the retail and restaurant industries will continue to leverage mobile solutions that empower their employees to maximize efficiency and productivity,” he comments.
He adds that mobile printers allow employees to accurately manage inventory, print clear labels and receipts, and positively impact customer service without being tethered to a back-room workstation.
Nadav Solomon, co-founder and president of Tabit, stresses the importance of mobile point of sale (POS) for restaurants.
“By replacing pen-and-paper ordering with tablets, employees can instantly fulfill guest requests or drop orders to the bar or kitchen from wherever customers are. That means less chance for mistakes, even with complicated orders or while serving large parties. The result is happier customers, happier staff, and fewer opportunities for the friction between staffers and guests that makes hospitality workers quit,” he says.
“Today’s tablet-based POS systems also mean ordering and payout from wherever a customer is, for much less walking per shift. That kind of attention to detail can raise online review scores and help employees feel less drained at the end of the day while still delivering the excellent service that increases tips and keeps guests coming back,” Solomon comments.
Streamlining the checkout process is another priority for businesses operating short-staffed. Offering the payment methods that customers want and simplifying the steps necessary to manage all types of transactions is vital to fast, efficient checkouts, happier customers – and less stress for employees.
Josh Bennett, vice president of partner business development at Elavon, says, “This year, merchants need the ability to combine embedded finance services, including credit card, ACH, buy now pay later (BNPL), lending, and financing.”
Bennett tells ISVs, “These tools can provide valuable tools to merchants. Having a payments partner that can offer a comprehensive and diverse range of financial services can be the key to unlocking new revenue streams and staying ahead of the competition.”
Restaurant and Retail IT Innovations Are Paving the Way to Success
Using new solutions – and popular restaurant and retail IT in new ways – can help businesses find the efficiency they need, even with small staffs, and deliver the customer experiences that will build loyalty and a strong brand reputation.
In 2023, retailers and restaurateurs who recognize gaps and devise ways to use technology to fill them will be more successful than their competition.