Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine asked restaurant industry insiders including our own Jay Fiske to discuss the key challenges they believe restaurants will face in 2022. Here are Jay’s insights.
Jay Fiske, Vice President, Powerhouse Dynamics
Staffing is the consistent theme we are hearing from our customers. Recruiting and keeping staff has been even harder these days – and it’s always been a challenge in the foodservice industry. When many restaurants were shuttered during COVID-19, much of the furloughed foodservice workforce found employment opportunities in other industries, so getting them back is hard. Consequently, we see an uptick in demand for technologies that can alleviate workload demands on staff since many restaurants continue to be understaffed. So, how can restaurants get more productivity out of fewer people? Restaurants are asking us about using Internet of Things (IoT) to automate HACCP data collection, management of HVAC and lighting systems, and cooking equipment, such as recipe updates from the cloud.
Our customers are also facing increasing costs in food and utilities. This will not abate in 2022 and will accelerate as global supply chains continue to be challenged. In the thin-margin foodservice industry, any increase in fundamental costs presents challenges. Restaurant leadership will therefore look for creative ways to find relief in other areas of their P&L. From our perspective, we are seeing more and more companies adopt technologies to better control equipment for reduced energy consumption and to use advanced sensors and cloud-based diagnostics to reduce the frequency and magnitude of expensive reactive equipment repairs.
In addition, equipment supply chain challenges will most likely persist. Restaurants are seeing increased lead-times for procuring new cooking equipment, HVAC units, etc., forcing them to find clever ways to eke a little more life out of old equipment.