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Investing in Automation Can Ease Labor Shortages for C-Store Operators

Jill Carte
Director of Product Development
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Attracting sufficient labor continues to be a challenge for all areas of the food and beverage industry. Convenience store operators historically have struggled with a shortage of workers and high employee turnover. Since the pandemic, however, the U.S. labor shortage for the c-store sector could be the worst ever.

For operators, it is difficult to focus on customer service, food availability, and food safety while dealing with a shortage of workers. The challenge of managing an hourly workforce, including setting and keeping track of schedules and balancing the store’s needs with those of employees, is a daunting task.

One solution for reducing the need for labor is investing in an automated kitchen—an investment that can result in increased productivity, safer food operations, and better protection for employees. By using newer and smarter technology, operators can increase productivity and maintain the safety of fresh and prepared food without increasing human contact, allowing for a more effective use of labor. With the high cost of recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining staff, investing in an automated kitchen is one tactic that can help simplify and improve operations.

Working Smarter with Less

One such automated system, the MenuCommand® Kitchen Automation Platform by DayMark, provides applications for task management, receiving, menu labeling, and temperature monitoring.Using a web portal, operators can document the progress of ongoing operations in the store quickly and efficiently, with a variety of tools that address the assignment and tracking of tasks, flexible scheduling, employee training, and recording daily health details, including employee temperature checks if necessary.

Food Safety

With food safety always top of mind, it is important for operators to maintain regular temperature checks, including cold holding in refrigeration units as well as food in hot hold situations. In the past, monitoring temperatures was tedious and sometimes ineffective as staff manually checked and recorded temperatures in a handwritten log. Automated systems, such as the DayMark Temp Monitoring Solution featuring the cutting-edge LoRa technology from JRI®, offer HACCP-compliance and provide food safety management and temperature monitoring through an intuitive and comprehensive web application. These systems eliminate the need for staff to manually check temperatures and are an accurate and reliable way to make sure all foods are stored and cooked correctly.

The labor shortage is not expected to end any time soon. Efficiency is key when it comes to operating a c-store with fewer employees than are needed. Investing in automated solutions helps operators maintain a consistent level of food quality and customer service so that changes in staffing are less apparent to customers.

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