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Putting people first: Overcoming the QSR labour crisis with Fourth

By Fourth|Aug 11, 2023|6:08 am AEST

The global labour shortage has become a growing concern for businesses across the world. The shortage is being felt across industries, from hospitality to manufacturing, and is being attributed to several factors including aging demographics, a decline in birth rates, and a lack of skilled workers.

In the APAC region alone, many countries are experiencing labour shortages—due in part to aging populations and the accelerated rate of retirement during COVID-19. For instance, as of August 2022, the unemployment rate in Australia was at its lowest point ever since August 1974—dropping to 3.4%.

Even as countries continue to recover from COVID-19 pandemic, the APAC region still lacked 22 million jobs in 2022 and is predicted to widen further in 2023—to 26 million job gap based on a report from the International Labour Organization.

Labour shortage in the QSR industry

The hospitality industry is one of many that have struggled to find enough qualified workers as the re-opening of borders boosts travel and tourism activities.

In Australia, the tightened border controls, the exodus of foreign students and workers, and two years without tourists have left the Australian QSR industry struggling to fill jobs—and keep their businesses going.

QSR companies can’t hire enough workers to replace those who leave; as a result, understaffing has become a serious problem at many chains across Australia–and it’s costing them money.

Intelligent workforce management technology

With the pandemic causing disruptions and uncertainties in the job market, recruitment and retention of employees have become pressing issues for QSR businesses. However, intelligent workforce management technology can be the solution to this crisis.

Fourth’s solutions leverage over 20 years of data expertise to provide actionable insights that drive agile operations and optimal performance. Fourth’s AI Forecasting engine uses machine learning to help businesses make better decisions. Real-time operational reporting provides insights that enable businesses to align costs and savings while accurately predicting demand—identifying any historical patterns or trends in the data.

For example, a restaurant in a city’s downtown area may experience higher levels of customer demand, during certain times of the day, than one located outside town where people are more likely to visit because they need supplies or services. In addition, for larger gatherings including sports matches and festivals, the system analyses the weather and other external factors to ensure sufficient supply deliveries and labour scheduling.

Scheduling the workforce

Using the AI Forecasting engine with machine learning, the scheduling dashboard predicts customer demand and automatically generates shifts for each day and future weeks. The system also understands historical trends, analysing data from third parties sources including events, weather, and school/ public holidays to get the most accurate forecast.

With MySchedule, an app that allows managers and staff to access schedules on their mobile devices, QSR businesses can set up shared schedules so their employees can view their shifts and request swaps or additional shifts—with manager approval. An automated scheduling tool that removes the complexity and time spent by managers on creating and amending staff rosters, with full visibility of the labour hours required, is a must-have in today’s QSRs.

Engaging employees

With a labour shortage, it becomes even more difficult to find and retain employees. Engaged employees are less likely to leave their jobs, reducing turnover rates and the costs associated with hiring and training new staff. This can also improve the quality of work and customer service as experienced employees are more knowledgeable and efficient in their roles. Additionally, engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond for customers, providing exceptional service and building customer loyalty. This is especially important for QSRs where customers expect a fast and convenient experience.

Fourth’s Employee Engagement App connects managers and employees in a branded digital hub that can be accessed by staff either on the PC or through mobile devices using single-login. It also provides a space for employees to securely access and share company documents, policies, images, and videos—anytime and from anywhere. Lastly, it also includes group newsfeeds, group messaging, and team dashboards for sharing tasks and monitoring actions by other people.

The Results

For decades, the Jardine Restaurant Group has been driving the expansion of Pizza Hut, KFC, and PHD brands in Asia. JRG was aware of the importance of controlling labour costs, and so it took measures to address this issue.

JRG chose to use Fourth’s workforce management solution, a real-time technology that helps restaurants forecast, schedule, and engage with their teams.

Fourth’s workforce management solution has enabled the company to realise significant returns. JRG was able to achieve ROI from the forecasting system within just 1 month. During this time, the group experienced a 10% straight reduction in mean absolute percentage error (MAPE)—a key measure of forecasting accuracy.

Moreover, JRG has made great strides in increasing efficiency across brands and regions. Regional and area managers now have real-time visibility of store operations, available to them at any time they want without having to make special requests or submit paperwork through traditional management channels.

“Fourth has given us the ability & insight needed to bring all of our stores’ labour & forecasting capabilities above the standard of even the highest performing stores before implementation,”

— Ran Zou, Senior Transformation Manager, Jardine Matheson

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