USA | Future QSR Workers Must Be More Tech & People Savvy

The Restaurant Worker of the Future needs to be a digital savvy individual with great people skills, said Tracy Skeans, chief operating officer and chief people officer of Yum Brands Inc.

Skeans said the restaurant job of the future would exist as a connection point between people skills and the ability to leverage technology.

Yum has 1.5m employees with 50,000 restaurants, and the pandemic has increased distribution points in all restaurants.

Customers used to walk in and walk out with their food. But now there's drive-thru, curb side pickup, and aggregators.

Yum's large scale has allowed it to test new technology in isolated markets. For example, KFC Australia is trying curb side-lane-only that enables customers to order, relay a code when they drive up, and receive their food.

Skeans said that Yum had accelerated its investments in technology implementation during the pandemic to make the restaurant jobs easier and more fulfilling.

The future of restaurant employees is those who've grown up with technology, said Skeans. No one is going to be trained by a binder - they'll want an app instead. Pizza Hut already has an app called HutBot, which is essentially a digital manual.

However, there is an increasing level of diversity in the workforce, affecting how employers teach workers, said Skeans.

Training must address challenges like how to work with a diverse team, how to get along, how to manage conflict, and how to meet restaurant goals.

These are people and communication skills, said Skeans, and she hoped people would choose Yum brands to grow their career.

Earlier this year, Yum committed to investing USD$100m in 'Unlocking Opportunity' grants over five years to help counter inequality within and without the business.

Skeans said Yum is dedicated to teaching workers skills that will serve them the rest of their careers. Whilst she hoped those would stay with them and the restaurant industry, the skills are transferable and will benefit people wherever they go.