Episode Summary

Have you recently visited your favorite coffee shop or fast food joint and it’s taking longer than usual to get your order?Unfortunately, you are not alone. Across the nation, operators are struggling to staff their restaurants and retain talent for the long term. Unfortunately, this can lead to shortened store hours or even restaurants closing their doors altogether.
To solve these dire labor challenges, we believe broad sweeping changes are needed for a stronger future. This episode of Restaurants Reinvented is the start of a new series we’ll be releasing that is focused solely on labor and what operators can do to attract and retain employees.
This week, our host, Jen Kern welcomes Stacey Sikorski of 7shifts and Niko Papademetriou of Qu to discuss how operators can leverage modern technology solutions to drastically improve working conditions for their team.

Guests-At-A-Glance

🍽 Name: Stacey Sikorski & Niko Papademtriou
🍽 What they do: Stacey is the Mid-Market Key Accounts Executive at 7shifts. Niko is the SVP of Sales & Business Development at Qu
🍽 Company: 7shifts & Qu
🍽 Key Quote: “I know a lot of restaurants were probably tech-savvy before this, and those have really come out and succeeded during COVID. But the ones that weren’t have now been forced to look at tech and actually embrace it, knowing that it’s something they need for their business to succeed in the future.”Stacey
🍽 Where to find Stacey: LinkedIn
🍽 Where to find Niko: LinkedIn
7shifts logo
Qu Logo

Key Insights

🌶️ A job in the restaurant industry is more than just a career stepping stone.
Although seen by many as a transition or temporary role, food service workers are the backbone for your business and even the American Economy. As Niko explains, “Food is really a slice of wallet share from the entertainment part of your wallet… If that’s now how we’re viewing it, then why do we necessarily look at those roles as minimum wage or entry level? So how do we use technology and culture to quite frankly, have happier employees? I think happier employees present a better brand, a better product”. 
🌶️ How can technology streamline operations and make everyday life at work easier?
It’s safe to say that technology is making everyone’s lives easier, but currently there seems to be a lack of tech in restaurants that can help your employees perform and communicate better.  Stacy believes the mission for solution vendors like 7shifts should be to “provide tech that takes away the bad part of the employee’s job to make their lives easier at work”. 
🌶️ Tech companies are not vendors but partners.
When tech companies integrate, they can do even more than if they had operated alone, and that’s exactly why Qu and 7shifts make such good partners. But there’s more to it. In order to provide the ultimate customer service, tech companies should approach their collaboration as a true partnership.
Niko explains, “The tech has to be there, the right architecture needs to be there, but it’s as much about the people behind the partnerships. […] How is one of our customers or one of our mutual customers going to be the winner?How are they going to be the winner if we don’t work well together or if we don’t know each other well, or if we don’t care about each other?”

Episode Highlights

Technology provides smooth communication, transparency, and predictability
The biggest advantage of having technology at the core of your restaurant is the amount of new insights you can gain. Stacey talks about a valuable add-on option that 7shifts offers — feedback management. This isn’t feedback from your restaurant guests, but rather gaining insights directly your employees about their shift.
“We have an engagement feature built into 7shifts. It allows employees to provide feedback on their shift right after it has ended and surfaces that data to show highly engaged employees versus highly disengaged employees. Restaurant managers can then take that information and use it for an actionable one-on-one with that employee, so they can address the concern before it turns into an iceberg.”

Niko adds that tech allows for more transparency and predictability. “It’s not just the data; it’s the insights from the data. And it’s not just the insights from the data. It’s the speed at which you can make actionable decisions and implement those changes based on the insights that you get from having holistic data fast.”

Challenging the status quo
The world is quickly evolving, faster than ever before. Thus, restaurant technology providers need to look forward and see how they can streamline and continuously improve the experience for operators, staff, and restaurant guests.
“Most restaurant technology today holds restaurants back, and that’s antithetical to the concept of technology. So if we’re technology providers, if we’re innovators, we darn well better be thinking about innovating and about figuring out ways to empower restaurant brands and not hold them back. It doesn’t mean you get everything tomorrow that you just dreamed up today; but, it does mean that we eat, breathe and do nothing but figure out ways that we can help drive [restaurants] forward.” -Niko Papademetriou
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