July 12, 2023
Lauren Platero

7 Strategies to Reduce Manual Labor In Restaurants

Manual labor can drastically hinder business operations in many ways. High-stress environments with low to moderate salaries can result in a labor shortage. Or, a lack of staff development training can result in poor workforce management practices. 

In the food and beverage industry, manual labor can have several negative effects. From a high labor cost to few staff optimization techniques, it can cause countless issues. Approaching labor the right way can result in staff retention and optimal cash flow. 

In this blog, we'll cover everything you need to know about manual labor, from its definition to ways to combat it. So, without further ado, let's begin!

Manual Labor: Definition

Manual labor is any physical work done by humans. It can range from mild work to strenuous duties. Any other type of work would require a machine or software program. 

The term "manual" literally refers to the process of using physical movement. Therefore, energy, the skeletal system, and the muscular system are necessities. In fact, this is also why there are industries where animals have jobs. Some of the strongest mammals are used to transport goods due to their strength. Meanwhile, dogs are often part of high-level investigative work due to their keen senses. 

But when it comes to the restaurant industry, such strenuous and sensory-specific manual labor does not exist. However, it's common to see restaurant workers multitasking. In fact, the food service ecosystem is one that experiences significant amounts of work overload

For instance, the wait staff might also be handling the duties of bussers and hosts. Meanwhile, the back of house staff might be juggling each other's tasks. If this sounds like your eatery, there's no need to feel too stressed out. 

There are numerous strategies that can reduce manual labor in restaurants. After a while, implementing such tools and ideas can make the workplace more efficient and streamline restaurant operations. Want to learn all about them? Check out seven options below!

7 Strategies to Reduce Manual Labor In Restaurants

The ability to reduce manual labor in the workplace is essential for costs savings and optimal productivity. Ready to reduce the cost of labor? What about achieving more with less? If so, we’ve got you covered! Check out the following strategies for lessening manual labor in restaurants:

1. Install Self Ordering Kiosks

Kiosks are the ultimate labor saving devices in restaurants. They barely require any staff members to be present. The way it works is the eatery uploads a digital version of its menu to the kiosk device. Then, customers can select items to purchase. In some cases, there are even digital payment options connected to the kiosk. 

All you need is the kitchen staff to prepare the food. It’s that simple. So, even restaurants with tight budgets can maximize profits with digital solutions.

2. Implement Online Ordering

The use of online ordering apps can eliminate the bulk of manual labor happening in a restaurant. The more orders that roll in for delivery and carry out, the fewer the wait staff will have to handle. Not only will it reduce the labor cost, but it will expand your geographic reach. Over time, being available on ordering apps will escalate revenue.

3. Adopt Restaurant Inventory Software 

If you add up the time it takes to take inventory, it will likely be much longer than you think. And the busier the restaurant, the more often you need to do so. This means that a hectic eatery requires additional manual labor on the back end. There has to be a solution for this, right?

There absolutely is–and a simple one at that. With an inventory management app like BlueCart, restaurants can completely automate all their inventory ordering needs. From demand planning to the reorder point, it can all be automated well in advance. This will save the restaurant manager massive amounts of time during and after each shift. Oh, it’ll also save significant amounts of money, too.

4. Promote Takeout and Curbside Pick Up

Offering delivery doesn’t always reduce the amount of manual labor needed to run a business. If your delivery service providers don’t have their own drivers, this feature will certainly require more manual labor. This is especially true for those restaurants that rely on takeout for the bulk of their sales. 

An easy way to combat this issue is to promote curbside pickup (see: difference between curbside and pick up). Customers can still enjoy their food in the comfort of their own home, it’s just not as convenient. So, you might be wondering how to make such an offering sound appealing. Try offering discounts for curbside pickup only. Or, remind customers that they won't incur delivery fees.

5. Utilize Mobile and Contactless Payments 

Mobile POS functions allow payment processes to be much quicker. Instead of scanning a card, authorizing a payment, and printing a receipt, everything can take place by scanning a smartphone. It’s actually quite surprising how quick the checkout process can be. In turn, it requires fewer steps from the staff.

6. Add a Tabletop Device to Each Table

Tabletop devices can significantly reduce the amount of manual labor required from the wait staff. Instead of needing one of the servers present, customers can handle numerous tasks independently. Guests can place orders, view the menus, and pay the bill on such devices. It’s that simple! Meanwhile, a smaller team can be tending to other duties. 

7. Use Automated Restaurant Equipment

Automated cooking appliances refer to robotic devices that can replace manual labor. In restaurants, this might involve the flipping of burgers or the assembling of pizzas. This kind of equipment can dramatically reduce the number of steps each staff member needs to take. 

Robotic tools also help you abide by safety regulations. Without human contact, kitchen workers can lessen the risk of cross-contamination. This is ideal for customer satisfaction. But more importantly, it's vital for legal purposes. 

Another great feature of robotic kitchen equipment is that it reduces errors. The staff can pre-program such devices to prepare different recipes in a particular way. Then, they can feel confident that they’re getting it right every single time. Over time, all these features combined can establish a better customer experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About Manual Labor 

Manual labor comprises numerous attributes. Since the restaurant space is such a niche market, it's important to understand the basics of manual labor from a more general standpoint. Read on for a brief overview of the topic:

What Are Examples of Manual Labor?

Some of the most popular examples of manual labor include:

  • Restaurant chefs 
  • Construction workers 
  • Landscaping technicians 
  • Dishwashers in a restaurant
  • Custodians and housekeeping 
  • The wait staff in a restaurant 
  • Emergency medical technicians

What Is Another Word for Manual Labor?

Other terms for manual labor include:

  • Physical labor 
  • Common labor
  • Manual work 
  • Handiwork 

Do Manual Labor Workers Have to Be Strong?

In many cases, manual labor workers must be strong. Industries that require loading trucks or construction need staff with physical strength. However, jobs like custodians, painters, and automotive technicians might not have similar stamina. Just because a job requires manual labor, it doesn’t mean that there is a specific strength requirement.

Is Manual Labor Harder Than a Desk Job?

Physically, manual labor is much harder than desk jobs. This is because it requires a particular stamina to fulfill such roles. However, there are desk jobs that may be much more difficult from an intellectual standpoint. For instance, software engineers might face more challenges and technical difficulties. It’s safe to say that both types of work have their pros and cons in their own right. It’s just a matter of the employee’s preferences.

What Is the Hardest Manual Labor Job?

Many people claim that the hardest manual labor jobs are iron and steelworkers. They require extensive physical work. Plus, the working environments aren’t the best. Other difficult professions include military, healthcare, and construction personnel. These jobs entail a lot of manual labor, as well as high stress levels. 

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Reduce Labor, Boost Efficiency

There are many reasons why a business owner would strive to streamline operations. But with the ability to reduce manual labor, too? That’s the ultimate combo. Luckily, it’s not an impossible feat. In fact, Revolution Ordering offers labor solutions to businesses across the hospitality industry. If this is something you need, book a demo with us today!