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5 tips on how to adapt to the labour shortage

Two chefs in a restaurant's kitchen

A majority of restaurants reported having a difficult time finding and retaining service and kitchen personnel1. Indeed, this will become one of the main challenges for restaurants in the coming months2. Fortunately, certain industry tactics can help you maintain your operations even with a reduced team.

Chef Jonathan Thauberger


Take advantage of our foodservice experts' insight into the latest trends along with Chef Thauberger's tips on how to adjust your service and menu preparation.

Tip #1: reduce the number of items on your menu 

Simplified menus might be an excellent solution to the labour shortage3. Instead of offering a large variety of dishes, go for a smaller offering to facilitate service, reduce training time, and minimize prep.

  • Keep some of your most popular dishes to continue meeting customer cravings.

  • Prioritize classic recipes with fewer steps or easy preparation, like certain lunch staples.

Tip #2: make the most of your ingredients

Versatile ingredients allow you to change up your menu with creative options.

  • Depending on your inventory, use extras and sides to propose customizable options to your clients and increase the average bill amount.

  • Create unique mashup dishes by reusing ingredients from items on your menu, from different cuisines, or from various types of meals (breakfast, dinner, dessert, etc.).

  • Prioritize versatile products that can be used in new, innovative ways. Don’t hesitate to ask your Saputo Foodservice representative for advice on which products are best adapted to your restaurant.

Tip #3: optimize work hours

Make the most of your team to save on time and resources.

  • Keep kitchen personnel busy during downtime by having them prep for the next rush or for tomorrow’s service.

  • Opt for practical product formats, like shredded, sliced, crumbled, cubed or shaved cheeses.

  • Train your employee so that they can perform various tasks. For instance, a busser could also prepare takeout or delivery orders.

Chef Jonathan Thauberger


It’s easier to be more efficient when working with an experienced team that you can rely on and that requires less training. That’s why it’s important to upgrade your retention tactics using various advantages whenever possible. For example, offering staff meals for each shift or flexible time off.

Tip #4: adjust your prices

Restaurants can benefit from adjusting their prices to match cost increase, including salaries.

  • Rely on transparency, which is valued by customers4. For example, provide details, either online or on the bill, about prices and employee salaries, showcasing their good working conditions.

  • Tell your story to help build customer support. During an intent survey, half of respondents stated they wanted to support local businesses5!

  • Take time to reconsider various elements that could help you offset salary increases, like reducing free offerings or redistributing tips.

Tip #5: facilitate service in three easy steps

Rethink your restaurant’s in-house experience with:

  • Counter service

  • Time slots dedicated solely to takeout and delivery orders

  • App that allows clients to order their meals, request table clearing, and pay their bill on their telephone or a tablet placed at their disposal.

Review off-premise experience thanks to:

  • Delivery apps

  • Online ordering platforms

  • Creative pick up solutions

  • Mobile payment

Use state-of-the-art technologies to reduce costs and save time with:

  • Automated self-serve devices, like ordering kiosks

  • QR code menus

  • Self-service table ordering system

  • Smart inventory management software

  • Reservation apps

  • Several other new technologies

The restaurant industry is in constant evolution, so this is the perfect time to rework your menu or come up with new ways to offer the best possible in-house and off-premise experience to your clients. Thanks to quality ingredients and practical technology-based tools, you can improve performance even with a smaller team.


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Restaurant Canada, Restaurant Outlook Q2 2021, 2021
2-3 Restaurants Canada, Foodservice Industry Forecast 2021–2025, 2021
Mintel, Global Food and Drink Trends, 2021
NPD Group, COVID-19 Foodservice Sentiment Study, 2020

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