Restaurant operators dissect workforce management tools


Facing margin pressures, increased industry regulations and the need to enhance guest satisfaction to drive traffic, restaurant operators and executives from Pizza Hut, HMSHost and Stacked Restaurants discussed best practices of workforce management tools during a Nation’s Restaurant News webinar last week.

The webinar was titled “Integrated Workforce Management: A key strategy for building guest satisfaction, sales & profits” and was sponsored by Kronos Inc.

It featured a panel discussion by Baron Concors, chief information and digital officer for Pizza Hut Inc.; Tony Bonilla, senior management of total labor management for HMSHost Corp.; Brian Pearson, chief information officer for Stacked Restaurants LLC; and Liz Moughan, director of the retail and hospitality practice group for Kronos.

Listen to a replay of the webinar

With nearly 280 industry professionals registered to view the moderated discussion live or via delayed replay, executives at 49 restaurant companies also participated in a series of poll questions during the webinar.

Key takeaways from the live survey included even splits between operators looking to upgrade systems and those that already have improved technologies, as well as what types of tools operators find most useful, from pre-employment screening to online scheduling.

“Customer satisfaction is directly tied to the capabilities of your team members working in the restaurants,” Concors said. Referring to his chain’s “learning management system,” he added, “Having full visibility into who is trained, and who is trained within the allotted time frame, and tying those scores directly to customer satisfaction scores has been very enlightening and it’s been a tremendous success.”

Answering a poll question about what components of workforce management systems their organizations view as most important in driving guest satisfaction, 35.7 percent of respondents said they were best served by combined systems that provide or enhance pre-employment screening, labor scheduling assistance and support the employee review process.

Another 21.4 percent said that pre-employment screening capabilities alone were the most important workforce management technology component for improving guest satisfaction, and an equal percentage said the same about screening tools or review administration tools, in tandem with automated labor scheduling help.

About one in seven of the respondents, or 14.2 percent, indicated that the combination of candidate screening and personnel review administration tools was the right combination to improve guest satisfaction, while 3.5 percent indicated that labor scheduling help was key, and 3.5 percent felt the same way about help with the employee review process.

The numbers of operators participating in each poll varied by question, but results were representative of independent restaurants and chains of various sizes up through those of 501 units or more.