In the restaurant industry, change is constant. Employees, customers, menus, standards, and POS systems change. Your staff is used to change, but that doesn’t mean they always enjoy or accept it.
Whenever you ask them to adjust how they do their job, especially when it requires mental engagement, the likelihood of resistance increases. Even if it’s only for a day or two, a grumpy, disgruntled employee interacting with your customers has significant consequences.
When introducing a new technology employees use on daily bases, like a POS system, you want them to embrace the decision and avoid any long-term antipathy.
Here 5 steps to ensure your employees buy-in:
Choose a POS that was designed for the restaurant industry and is easy to use.
If learning how to ride a bike required a user manual along with hours and hours of complex training, there would be a lot fewer cyclists. Biking is easy to learn because it’s simple and intuitive. There are only a few steps to figure out before turning it over to our muscle memory.
The POS is the same. If an employee can’t learn a new system in minutes, instead of hours or days, engagement levels decline, attention span dwindles, and their interest in learning the new technology plummets.
In addition, because of high turnover rates, most restaurant employees have used several different systems during their careers. They’re aware when they are using an unnecessary complicated interface. If they know there’s a better, faster way of interacting with the software, they quickly will grow frustrated. Conversely, a system that doesn’t require a lot of training or memorization is uncomplicated, and improves their efficiency is welcomed.
Every front of the house employee has opinions on how the system currently used could be improved. That’s because they have the experience necessary to understand how restaurants flow, and the sequence in which their actions must be taken.
If they have to press the screen five times, scroll up and down, and navigate to multiple screen changes just to modify an item, they know that POS was not designed by someone who has experience in the restaurant industry.
Far too many systems were designed by software engineers, whose feedback was from restaurant customers, rather than restaurant industry professionals. The end result is a user experience that feels disjointed and frustrating.
If possible, request a free demo version of the POS you are considering. Let your staff interact with it and gather their feedback. Their observations are valuable and you also increase the likelihood of their acceptance of the new system, by including them in the decision-making process. Which leads to step 2.
Include them in the decision-making process.
When employees are involved in making decisions that affect their daily work, they gain a professional and personal stake in your restaurant’s overall success. This commitment leads to increased productivity, as employees are actively participating in various aspects of the company and wish to see their input lead to better results.
They also feel that ownership/management value them as significant contributors. When people feel valued, they tend to raise their level of effort and commitment to ensure the restaurant’s success.
Another benefit in asking for their assessment is they will put more effort into liking the new system once it’s implemented. The more we invest our time into anything, the more committed we are to that undertaking. Even if it’s only 20 minutes of time, including your staff to demo a new system or articulate what’s missing from your current system, activates their engagement.
Lastly, if the POS you select is influenced by your employees' feedback, the judgment of those employees is now at stake. The last thing they want to occur is to have an important decision, they’re partially responsible for, be a mistake. They will fear losing the trust of ownership/management and will do everything to make that decision a success. Not only will they embrace the new POS, but they will also put effort into positively influencing their teammates as well.
Explain the reasons why you made the final decision.
A POS has many responsibilities and functions. Not all of them are visible to employees interacting with the user interface. Back office duties like labor management, sales reporting, customer relationship management, and performance analytics are just as important (if not more) to the success of the restaurant. These are important factors that go into your POS purchase decision of which your staff is probably unaware.
Paint the big picture and let them know how features they’re unaware of benefit them. For example, a labor reporting tool helps lower costs, allowing more profits, which not only keeps the business running, but provides more opportunity for employees raises, healthcare, or shift meals.
Don’t tolerate negative comments
After following the first 3 steps, it’s likely your staff will be excited, or at least open-minded, to use the new system. Inevitably, there’s one or two employees that resist change, regardless of your efforts to make it easy for them.
If they choose to start complaining and nitpicking every little thing that’s different, it’s imperative to stop it immediately. There is no room for negativity, at any time, in your restaurant. Negativity infuriates your quality employees and emboldens your lesser ones. Worse, it fosters a culture of negativity that encourages employees to resist ownership/managerial decisions. This is a recipe for disaster, as standards quickly erode.
The good news is that by decisively halting this behavior you demonstrate the kind of leadership the rest of your staff craves. They will be grateful and respect your decision even more.
Nobody likes being around a complainer in the workplace. Most people are hesitant to confront their teammates about it since it could quickly lead to confrontation. They endure it the best they can and try not to let it bother them, but there’s a limit one can tolerate before choosing not to be a part of your team anymore. This is the danger if you allow it to ferment: you lose quality employees.
If you're interested in introducing a new POS system to your restaurant, visit Brigade Society here to avoid obsolete technologies.