NCR has separated into two separate and distinct companies: NCR VOYIX and NCR Atleos.
This website is temporarily being used by and for NCR VOYIX alone, and not by or for NCR Atleos. Click here to go to the NCR Atleos website.

Is your restaurant short on staff? An on-demand app may be the solution

Published September 21, 2021

by Vivek Somani

Restrictions are lifting in many parts of the world, and restaurants are gearing up for a hiring spree in anticipation of growing sales and demand. According to QSR magazine, KFC plans to hire 20,000 employees after stellar first-quarter sales. Mellow Mushroom Pizza declared last May to be the "National Month of Hiring." This hiring trend is expected to peak during the holiday season as diners around the world head to restaurants in huge numbers. This predicted surge in demand, coupled with the ongoing labor shortage, has made hiring new staff a top priority for restaurant owners and operators.

So how can restaurateurs meet the growing need for labor while dealing with looming safety concerns, new waves of the coronavirus and increased unemployment benefits that may be keeping potential candidates out of the workforce? The on-demand workforce might be part of the solution. 

What is the gig economy and why is it great for the restaurant industry?

High employee turnover has been a longstanding issue in the restaurant industry. In fact, it’s reached an all-time high in the past ten years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospitality employee turnover reached 78.9% in 2019 compared to 57% in 2010. Due in large part to the pandemic, hospitality employee turnover skyrocketed to over 130% in 2020. Furthermore, underemployment and unreliable employee attendance continue to challenge both restaurateurs and employees.

But rather than fighting the nature of the restaurant industry, why not embrace it? This is where the gig economy and the on-demand workforce come into play.

Traditionally employees work one job for one company on a relatively fixed schedule for a long period of time. The gig economy is quite the opposite, with many workers operating as short-term independent contractors with much more flexibility in their work schedules. Rideshare providers like Uber, delivery services like Doordash and freelance networks like Upwork have already leveraged the gig economy with tremendous success.

And now gig workers (equipped with the power of technology) are poised to make a big difference in how restaurateurs hire staff—perhaps permanently. 

How to find and leverage on-demand talent

Put simply, sourcing on-demand talent is about matching eligible workers with opportunities at a moment’s notice. On-demand employees usually work temporarily for a firm on a case-by-case basis as needed and are usually classified as independent contractors or as employees of on-demand talent providers. This saves firms time and possibly money because they don’t need to recruit and train gig workers (on average it takes up to 36 days to fill a role via traditional methods, according to a 2019 SHRM talent acquisition report).


On-demand talent apps

Plenty of on-demand talent products and services are popping up in the market, many in the form of digital applications that make finding and hiring workers as easy as pressing a button. Companies are launching on-demand workforce applications specifically geared toward the hospitality industry. These apps can instantly provide lists of relevant staff positions looking to work based on your criteria. The applicants provide the restaurant manager with their work experience, areas of expertise and an employee rating based on past gigs they’ve worked, all through the application. A potential employee, as an example, who advertises “NCR VOYIX Aloha Experience”, may open themselves up to 100,000’s of sites that run the NCR POS.  Tools like these provide value for restaurant owners looking for workers at a moment’s notice and create a whole new digital marketplace for hospitality gig workers to find employment.

Related: Tips on how to find and keep the best talent for your restaurant in 2021—and beyond


Find your “Fly”

Even without on-demand talent applications, you can still benefit from the gig economy by hiring what the industry calls a “Fly.” A Fly is a part-time, hourly worker who is hired exclusively to pick up shifts when others can’t make theirs. Many restaurants will keep Flies on staff. A Fly usually has full-time commitments elsewhere, such as childcare, school or another full-time job, but can pick up shifts during their downtime in order to make supplemental income. Incorporating Flies into your workforce is a great way to overcome short staffing.


Foster a culture of flexibility

Another way you can leverage the power of the gig economy and build an on-demand workforce is to create a work culture that promotes flexible work schedules. Promoting this perk will naturally attract more gig workers to your business. First, create open work schedules that can be filled by your on-demand workforce. Next, advertise your flexible work model when posting jobs. Last, gamify your shifts by creating a rewards program for employees. For example, if an employee picks up five shifts, offer time and a half on the sixth. These incentive programs will not only ensure you stay staffed but will also incentivize your employees to work more frequently at your restaurant.

Don’t fight the challenges, embrace them with on-demand gig workers

Restaurants today are facing tremendous challenges to find talent as dining out becomes the norm again. While there are many ways to approach this problem, perhaps the best solution for your restaurant includes leveraging the untapped power of the on-demand workforce—it may just be the perfect answer to your labor woes. 

Need more information?