Over the past two years, the restaurant industry has experienced one of the most dramatic and historic labor crises they’ve ever had to deal with. In any city around the country you might visit, you will find “Help Wanted” signs in the front windows of nearly every restaurant you might pass. It’s become a regular occurrence for guests to visit their favorite restaurants and experience long waits to be seated, longer waits for their food, and generally exhausted and discouraged workers that are overwhelmed and angry.
The experience you provide for your valued staff is equally critical, and equally impacted by the state of your dining areas.
So, what does this have to do with a table base manufacturer? Well, in fact it has a lot to do with the same thing
we’ve been working with restaurant owners and operators on since we sold our first product—providing the best
restaurant experience possible. That isn’t just limited to your paying customers, however. The experience you
provide for your valued staff is equally critical, and equally impacted by the state of your dining
Let’s look at three of the main reasons that workers have consistently cited for not returning to work within the restaurant industry and how having the right tables could impact these issues directly.
Issue 1: Health Concerns
The biggest concern for workers to return to the restaurant environment is also the same concern many guests have mentioned. They are concerned with health dangers within the dining room and kitchen (AZ Central, 2021). The pandemic has made everyone—staff and customers alike—much more aware of the hygiene within restaurants. Your staff is working long hours in close proximity with co-workers, customers, and vendors, and they are constantly aware of the potential exposure to illness. This is compounded with the many responsibilities your front-of-house staff have while serving, busing tables, and seating guests.
One of those responsibilities could be dealing with unstable, or unaligned, tables for guests. No one wants to spend their time down on the floor of a restaurant having to adjust or reset a wobbly table for a guest. The optics of having one of your servers under a table, sticking shims, napkins, coasters, or other materials under a table foot to stop it from moving is not sending a very assuring message to your guests and employees about the health and safety conditions within the restaurant. Your servers are usually overwhelmed with their regular responsibilities, and requiring them to expose themselves to this sort of repair in the middle of a busy shift is not only damaging to the brand, but also unsanitary and demeaning.
The optics of having one of your servers under a table, sticking shims, or other materials under a table foot to stop it from moving is not sending a very assuring message about your health and safety conditions
Issue 2: Unhappy Customers
Another big deterrent for quality staff is bad experience with aggressive or frustrating customers (Restaurant and Dive, 2021). The labor crisis and short-staffing that has plagued the restaurant industry has done nothing to improve the patience or attitudes of guests. They are waiting longer, dealing with smaller menu selections, and paying more to have a restaurant experience. This has led to an exponential increase in customer complaints and negative interactions with staff.
Your employees are exhausted and overwhelmed. They want to provide a good experience for your guests because their wages are in many cases directly impacted by that experience–whether through tips or through sales that are tied to customer retention. Having a long, hard shift of non-stop work is challenging in the best of circumstances. Add to that having to deal with disgruntled customers while being the face of the restaurant has led many to just give up and not return at all.
Making an investment in quality tables that took away many of the triggering frustrations that customers have–like wobbling tables, spilled drinks or food, and misaligned surfaces–could have a huge impact on the happiness and satisfaction of both your staff and customers. You want to provide a clean and comfortable space wherein your staff can focus on providing excellent customer service, and your guests can have their expectations fulfilled without any awkward distractions to the experience you’ve worked so hard to create.
Making an investment in quality tables that took away many of the triggering frustrations–like wobbling tables, spilled drinks or food, and misaligned surfaces–these could have a huge impact on the happiness and satisfaction of both your staff and customers.
Issue 3: Work Culture
This is one of the big issues that existed long before the pandemic and has just gotten worse. Restaurant work has always had an “all hands on deck” mentality about the responsibilities to keep things running smoothly. That has meant that many times the front-of-house staff needs to get to work an hour or two before their shift begins in order to set the dining room up and check every table to make sure everything is ready to receive guests. That’s time that either owner/operators are having to pay full wages to a few staff to cover, or (in many cases) staff that are paid a modest wage with the expectation that tips will make up the difference are having to work for a few hours each shift at a minimal wage.
This can lead to unsatisfied staff that are starting every shift annoyed and, in some cases, untidy because they’ve had to move tables and chairs around and adjust tables for stability and alignment. All this work is done on the floor where uniforms can get dirty and grimy.
Front-of-house staff are also expected to act as the main brand ambassadors for every guest that comes through the door. So, they are dealing with all the complaints about table conditions and pleading with managers and owners to help them with angry customers. They can often feel unvalued and ignored when conditions do not improve, and the tips they depend upon continue to underperform.
Staff are already starting a shift annoyed and, in some cases, untidy because they’ve had to move tables and chairs around and adjust for stability and alignment.
All these issues can be improved by having dining room tables that are low-maintenance and quick and easy to adjust by your staff.
It can be a real and tangible demonstration of how much you value their contribution to the restaurant by providing them with the best opportunity to serve and delight your customers.
FLAT® Table Bases are some of the most technologically advanced bases available on the market, while still being well-within the budget of most restaurant owners and operators. These tables use a patented base design that leverage patented technology to effectively eliminate table stability issues automatically and permanently. Our bases also make it incredibly easy to align multiple tables for larger groups to make those frustrating table levels disappear. The table is the place where your servers and your customers interact. Why not make sure that space has the best opportunity to be a positive experience for both?
If you have existing tables that are frustrating your staff and customers, you can also retrofit them.
FLAT® Equalizers. These award-winning table feet replace the old traditional screw-on leveling feet and provide a self-contained foot that adjusts to surfaces for a rock solid foundation. The feet can be installed in a matter of seconds, and then the staff needs only to apply a light press to the table top to stabilize the table-the feet lock into place providing frustration-free table stability. Equalizers can also provide table top alignment for adjoining table tops by lifting or tilting the table tops to the same level.
If you want to attract and retain the best staff for your business, you should consider upgrading your dining room experience with FLAT® products.
See our full catalog of table bases, Equalizers, and other products. Be sure to reach out to us and let one of our many expert representatives help you find the perfect table solution to match your brand decor, dining area needs, and budget.
The difference for your staff and your guests will be invaluable, and will quickly pay for itself. Happy staff means happy guests, and happy guests mean happy owners and operators. Let FLAT® help you win the labor crisis and grow your business in the future.