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Battling Burnout: How Technology Can Revitalise the Hospitality Industry

Updated: Jun 7

The hospitality industry, a cornerstone of the nation's vibrant culture and a significant contributor to the economy (generating over $66 billion in revenue in 2022 ABS), is facing a multitude of challenges. From chronic staff shortages and rising costs to an increasingly competitive landscape, restaurants and cafes are struggling to stay afloat.This, coupled with long hours and demanding work, can lead to significant burnout among hospitality professionals – a major concern with a staff turnover rate exceeding 80% in some parts of the industry (National Restaurant Association).

girl working in hospitality

A Perfect Storm of Challenges: How Technology Can Revitalise the Hospitality Industry

  • Staff Shortages: A 2023 survey by the Australian Industry Group revealed that hospitality is the sector most affected by worker shortages, with businesses reporting an average of 4.2 unfilled vacancies AIG. This lack of skilled workers makes it difficult to operate efficiently and deliver the high standards Australians expect.

  • Rising Costs: Inflation, particularly in food prices, is pushing up the cost of ingredients, utilities, and other operational expenses, squeezing restaurant profit margins. According to a 2024 report by Restaurant & Catering Australia, food costs alone have increased by an average of 10% in the past year RCA.

  • Long Hours and High Stress: The hospitality industry is notorious for demanding hours, particularly during peak seasons, and high-pressure environments. This can lead to employee burnout and staff turnover, further exacerbating the existing worker shortage.

Tech to the Rescue: Streamlining Operations and Improving Staff Wellbeing

Technology can be a powerful tool to help address these challenges and revitalise the industry. Here's how:

  • Recruitment and Onboarding: Online recruitment platforms like Seek or Indeed can streamline the hiring process, saving valuable time and resources. Applicant tracking systems can help efficiently manage applications and identify qualified candidates. Additionally, e-learning modules offered by platforms like Skillsoft or Merlot can expedite onboarding and training for new staff, reducing reliance on busy chefs and managers.

  • Inventory Management: Inventory management software like EposNow or Lightspeed can help track stock levels in real-time, optimise ordering based on sales data, and minimise waste. This frees up chefs to focus on creating their masterpieces, not chasing down missing ingredients.

  • Online Ordering and Delivery: Online ordering systems like Uber Eats or Menulog and delivery partnerships with services like DoorDash can expand a restaurant's reach and cater to the growing demand for convenience. This can be particularly beneficial for smaller cafes and takeaway establishments, allowing them to compete with larger chains.

  • Automated Tasks: Technology can automate repetitive tasks like scheduling with Deputy or scheduling apps like When I Work, payroll processing with platforms like Xero or MYOB, and reservation management with online booking systems like OpenTable. This frees up staff time for more customer-centric activities, enhancing the overall dining experience.

  • Work-Life Balance Solutions: Employee scheduling apps like Deputy can provide staff with more control over their schedules, promoting work-life balance and reducing stress.

  • Mental Health Resources: Apps like Smiling Mind or ReachOut Australia can connect hospitality workers with mental health resources and support systems, helping them manage the demands of the job and prioritise their wellbeing.

A Brighter Future for Australian Hospitality

By embracing technology, hospitality businesses can create a more efficient and sustainable environment for both staff and customers. Reduced stress levels, improved work-life balance, and access to mental health resources lead to happier and more engaged employees. This translates to better service, a more enjoyable dining experience for patrons, and ultimately, a revitalised hospitality industry.

The Road Ahead: Collaboration and Innovation

Technology is just one piece of the puzzle. Collaboration between industry stakeholders like the Restaurant & Catering Australia and the Australian Hotels Association, government support for training initiatives like apprenticeships and traineeships, and a focus on creating a more attractive work environment with competitive wages and benefits are all crucial to ensuring a thriving future for the vibrant hospitality sector.

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