Navigating the labor shortage: Helping staff accomplish more with less through restaurant automation solutions

As they emerge from the pandemic, restaurants across the US are facing a new challenge—a labor shortage

In light of recent circumstances, one realization has become clear: with labor in short supply, foodservice staff need to accomplish more work with less support staff. To do this, many businesses are turning toward the automation of everyday tasks, such as food labeling.

In these times of change, adopting restaurant automation solutions isn’t just a matter of convenience. It’s a matter of survival. Now more than ever, it’s time to adapt.

Tackling the labor shortage

Faced with increasingly understaffed teams and a competitive labor market, restaurants everywhere are turning to different solutions to bring new employees on board. Bigger restaurant chains, like Chipotle, raised wages while others, like McDonald’s, have paid people to show up for interviews.


That might work for bigger chains with larger budgets. But for smaller chains or single location businesses with less money to spend, those tactics aren’t realistic options. Considering the circumstances, many restaurants—small to large—have embraced automation as one of many solutions to the labor crisis. 

By streamlining small, everyday tasks, automation allows restaurants staff to reallocate their attention toward responsibilities with more impact on the bottom line—such as making guests feel welcome or cooking amazing food.

Compared to raising wages or offering sign-on bonuses, automating certain aspects of restaurant work can be fairly affordable. A small, upfront investment of a few hundred dollars for a new piece of technology—like an automated labeling machine—can save hours of employee time. And those savings can add up quickly. 


The easiest place to start automating

Consider how many types of labels a restaurant uses in a day. There are labels for bins of prep ingredients, deli food, bakery goods, and retail items. And with restaurants offering even more service models since the start of the pandemic, they now need additional labels for grab-and-go, delivery, and curbside pickup orders.

This increased need makes labeling the perfect place to start experiencing the benefits of automation. Having a single automated solution to create every label gives restaurants an optimal amount of flexibility and helps staff label what they need without expending too much time.

What to look for in an automated labeling system

The ideal automated labeling system gives restaurants the flexibility to create labels for almost every use. This device should allow users to:

  • Modify existing templates or design unlimited labels from scratch using custom fonts, logos, and branding.
  • Create labels that include allergens, ingredients, QR codes, price, nutritional facts, barcodes, and other essential information.
  • Access an online portal where administrators can control menu items, label designs, and settings across all devices regardless of location.
  • Print customized designs and information on tamper-evident labels that protect delivery orders—whether food or beverage—from unwanted meddling.

In addition to that, an automated labeling system should update its software automatically and without charge. Restaurant staff have enough to worry about as is.

So, what kind of device has all the features listed above (and more)? That would be the DateCodeGenie® from NCCO.

Whether your kitchen needs a more stable labeling solution encased in stainless steel or a nimbler device that moves easily from place to place, the DateCodeGenie enterprise of solutions includes several models to fit various circumstances. No matter the need, DateCodeGenie offers a solution.


Thanks to its intuitive label designer and ease of use, the DateCodeGenie simplifies the labeling process every step of the way—from designing labels in the online portal to printing them off in the kitchen.

If a kitchen staff member needs a label for a bin of prepped onions, no problem. The DateCodeGenie will automatically populate the label with crucial information—such as the use-by and prep dates—before printing off however many labels the employee needs within seconds.

And that’s just one of the DateCodeGenie’s many uses. In reality, it’s a single device that helps staff save time with every labeling need. And when staff save time on labeling, they can refocus on serving customers, cooking amazing food,, and creating experiences that guests want to relive again and again. When that happens, everyone wins. 


To see the DateCodeGenie in action or request a personalized demo, visit ncco.com/datecodegenie-rb today.