How Baton Rouge restaurants are making the most from smaller workforces

Despite pandemic restrictions lifting, many workers have not returned to their positions at TJ Ribs, supervisor Emma Munoz says. But customers have come back in droves, forcing the restaurant to rely on technology to help stretch the efforts of its smaller staff. 

This is part of a larger trend of businesses using technology and any resources available as they struggle to fill open positions and deal with increasing numbers of customers, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

Software investment rose 10.5% in the first quarter compared to a year earlier as businesses directed more funds toward technology such as cloud computing and collaboration software.

After the TJ Ribs team noticed a spike in both dine-in and curbside orders, it decided to use handheld Android devices to take and process orders, Munoz says. 

When the curbside line got long, customers could be checked out quickly and efficiently, Munoz says, and servers did not have to run back and forth and print receipts and orders. Customers also like the no-touch process.

City Pork owner Stephen Hightower says he’s moved some food production off-site to take the pressure off kitchen staff. 

City Pork staff were having to work overtime to make products like barbecue sauce and cheese sauce for City Pork’s mac and cheese. Now, they’ve compartmentalized the people they do have and are moving products that would normally be made on-site into commissary production in order to maximize product and hours, Hightower says. 

Other restaurants, like Another Broken Egg, are turning to online ordering through third parties. Pent up demand boosted business coming out of COVID-19, but its online orders increased from 5% to 30% during the pandemic.

Without third-party delivery, servers were having to spend extra time on those deliveries, which was not efficient for the restaurant, owner Stuart Ottinger says. 

Online ordering helped and continues to be popular, Ottinger says.