Happier Employees, Happier Customers, Happier Retailers

Kronos aims new software suite at improving back- and front-end food service operations.

Work-force management technology vendor Kronos has released a new suite of solutions for food service retailers, Kronos for Dining. Announced May 16, Kronos for Dining features applications to help manage functions such as hiring, scheduling, compliance and customer service.
A talent management module automates the paperwork and other processes involved in hiring a new employee, as well as assists in identifying the best employees for specific jobs. "Hiring managers can screen candidates for certain characteristics," said Kara Barker, director of hospitality marketing for Kronos. "You can identify the customer service skills needed for a host or hostess, and through profiling, find the best fits for certain positions."

A forecasting/scheduling solution takes data feeds from different systems in the enterprise, such as the POS, to predict sales and then translate those predictions into labor demand projections. "Lots of restaurants who schedule manually wind up understaffing, so people aren't being served appropriately, and then they won't return," said Barker.

A time and attendance application ensures employees are paid properly, which Barker said is "critical in addressing pressing compliance issues," and an absence management solution automates employees' scheduling of medical leaves, vacations and other absences.

In addition, an analytics solution performs reporting on top of all the other modules of the suite. "It gives senior management key pieces of information to help manage the business proactively," said Barker.

Kronos for Dining can help restaurants in the areas of customer service, labor-cost control, same-store sales and compliance, Barker said. "The time and attendance solution has some self-service features which allow staff to view schedules and place time-off requests," she said. "It helps drive employee satisfaction, and happier employees provide better service to the customer."

By helping food service retailers avoid payroll, staffing and time-tracking mistakes, Barker said Kronos for Dining can help control labor costs that are rapidly rising in the industry. In addition, by allowing restaurants to hire the best employees and keep them happy, the solution can help them draw and maintain customers, she said.

By ensuring the accuracy of payroll, scheduling and other human resources processes, Barker said the solution can help food service retailers comply with the rules and regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and various employee unions.

Denis Pombriant, managing principal of customer relationship management consulting company Beagle Research Group, said he "applauds" Kronos for releasing Kronos for Dining, but isn't sure how much impact it will actually have on customer-service levels.

"The waitstaff has all the incentive they need to provide good customer service," he said. "They work for tips. And I'm not sure happier employees behind the scenes will do things noticeable to the people out front that will have a material affect on the overall business."

Pombriant also said people who apply for jobs such as hosting tend to be interested in working their way up in the food service business and are more likely to have good customer service skills. He added he was not trying to discount Kronos for Dining or specifically criticize it.