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How Technology Is Bridging Labor Shortages In The World of Hospitality

Updated: Nov 8, 2021

According to the 2021 Global State of Hospitality Industry Report conducted by Lightspeed, half of restaurant operators are planning to deploy automation technology to fill labor gaps in the next two to three years.

The survey of over 2,000 restaurant owners, operators, managers, and guests across North America and Europe the report also found that 90% of those surveyed believe technology adoption has been critical for survival throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly half of full-service operators and more than one-third of quick-service operators believe innovative technology is the key for their businesses for the future.

In the last two years, the rise in the adoption of delivery platforms has been a lifesaver for many in the industry as they have navigated the intricacies of making money with these partners, but also the nuances of menu engineering, packaging that optimizes the quality of the product for the end-user, and an opportunity to get much-needed replacement revenue, upsell, and grow average check size.

"In what we now know as the post-COVID world, this new way of doing business and technology is here to stay. There are multiple automation opportunities available for operators today."

McDonald's is one organization exploring the boundaries – from automated drive-through order taking, the use of in-store self-order kiosks, using robots for delivery, to automating the portion of fries served with your Big Mac™ sandwich. Undoubtedly, each of these innovations creates efficiencies that positively impact the bottom line for this QSR giant.

San Francisco-based investor and entrepreneur, Alex Vardakotas, who is the founder & CEO of Creator has developed a fully automated BurgerBot wherein only five minutes through the use of 350 sensors and five computers, your burger is ready to eat.

Another recent innovation revolutionizing the pizza industry is from xRobotics with their xPizzaOne is a safe, reliable, and affordable pizza-making robot that fits in any kitchen. Another robotic pizza maker is Picnic’s Automated Pizza Assembly System that can make up to three hundred twelve-inch pizzas in one hour.

What about ordering your morning cup of joe from a robotic Barista? CafeX is just one example of this technology, and there are six more to read about in Nanalyze’s article, 7 Robot Baristas That Will Make You Coffee from 2019.

Japanese investment giant-backed innovator, SoftBank Robotics is actively exploring and investing in the possibilities of how the sector automates to not only solve existing labor challenges but also make a for a better experience. From their four-foot robot Pepper, which is optimized for engaging with people through conversation and a touch screen and is capable of recognizing faces and basic human emotions, to their autonomous self-driving floor cleaner, Whiz.

Each step forward in these types of automation allows for workers to focus on higher-value tasks.

Whatever the futuristic extent of the technology, now more than ever technology must be easily consumable, accessible, and drive convenience for a better consumer experience.

One such example is BlueRunner Solutions is a comprehensive app-based tool that helps consumers have a better experience and engage with the physical environment – think in terms of how a student might engage with their campus and all the available amenities, or how a new employee navigates their place of work or visiting their new office. It is imperative to make it seamless for these consumers to gain access to a building, book space for a meeting, find their way around campus, or see what is available to eat in the campus cafe that day.

Multi-purpose apps, now than ever before, are much more powerful than the ubiquitous single-purpose apps of the past. BlueRunner acts as an enabler and connection to the physical environment and includes a wallet to make payments.

BlueRunner is not just for the direct consumer either. For example, the BlueRunner platform offers parents the ability to browse menus and purchase meal plans for their kids as well as look at classes and events that are going on at the school.

Employees can pre-book meeting rooms or classes and order catering for that meeting. The Loyalty & Rewards section of the app allows customers to utilize a cloud-based, convenient, contactless payment choice that incorporates loyalty rewards and e-gift cards.

Previously, automation was a perceived threat to minimum wage workers of the world in the hospitality industry. Now, with employers reporting up to 25% disparities in finding hourly workers, automation is becoming an essential solution to fill the gap of labor shortages.

4xi Innovation Partner, MyFieldAudits is another groundbreaking, single-source App that provides greater visibility into dispersed operations, performance, and metrics. Completely customizable for your operations, the MyFieldAudits platform allows helps you see like never before, and all from your pocket smartphone.

Technologies like MyFieldAudits and BlueRunner are filling the gap to ensure that the consumer experience is seamless, embracing, efficient, and above all convenient and easy to use.

What are you doing to leverage technology to address the challenges faced today?

Come and talk to 4xi and how our carefully curated Explorers Innovation Partners can help fill the void, or if you are seeking a specific solution, use our InnovationScout© service to find the answer.

You can check out our Innovation Partners at:

4xi: Inspiring the future, together.

4xi Global Consulting & Solutions is a team of talented leaders from both the client-side and service provider side creating an impact in the Human Experience (HX) for people at work, in education, rest, and at leisure.

We believe in a people-first, experience-led philosophy, whether client, employee or guest – their experience is the fundamental foundation of success.

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