You can’t step into a restaurant in America without feeling the effects of the post-pandemic labor shortage. Restaurant workers are at the end of their rope, guests continue to wait (and wait…) in dining rooms, and restaurant owners and operators continue to lose revenue because they can’t staff adequately to meet demand.
Even with all the challenges in the labor market, there’s cause for optimism. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) predicts the food service industry will reach $997B in sales in 2023. As for the labor market, the food service industry workforce is expected to swell to 15.5M workers by the end of the year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
Restaurant owners who use this time to innovate and transform their operations will be perfectly poised to win the labor war and seize the opportunities ahead. However, before we dive into what you can do to combat the current labor challenges, it’s critical to take stock of the situation and understand what got us here in the first place.
In the wake of the pandemic, Americans who had been stuck at home were eager to get out of the house and back into restaurants. Their demand for delicious food and a good time only continues to increase.
Meanwhile, restaurant employees have been slower to come back to work. Many who lost their restaurant jobs when dining rooms closed decided to leave the industry for good. There are many reasons why restaurants are understaffed. Here are a few of the biggest:
Let’s look at the state of the restaurant labor market by the numbers. From just how short-staffed restaurants are to why restaurant employees keep quitting to the labor shortage’s impact on restaurants, we’ve compiled the latest restaurant industry data in one place.
Given what’s at stake, it’s more important than ever to empower general managers to hire faster, onboard smarter, and keep their staff happy. Sadly, there isn’t a magic button we can push to make staffing woes disappear. However, there are things you can do to position your restaurant to overcome staff shortages and create the kind of work environment that attracts the best talent and makes them want to stay for the long haul.
A big piece of combatting the restaurant labor shortage is optimizing your talent acquisition. Yet, you’ll never overcome the pain of the labor shortage if you’re losing people left and right due to high turnover. Putting a priority on retention will lead to many benefits, not the least of which is major cost savings—Black Box Intelligence estimates the turnover cost for restaurants is $1,956 per hourly employee.
Building a loyal team takes more than just the occasional pat on the back and calling it a day. You need a holistic plan to create a work environment that makes your team feel valued and appreciated. Look at everything from compensation and benefits to predictable scheduling and growth opportunities. Be sure to look at your operations as well. Implementing the right technology can streamline processes and lift the burden of time-consuming tasks from managers, giving them more time to focus on building a winning culture.
Not sure where to start? Learn what motivates restaurant workers to put in their best effort and how restaurant owners and operators can create a workplace employees love.
Fourth is a workforce management solution built specifically to help you regain control of the employee lifecycle by giving employees the necessary tools, insights, and support to not only get things done faster, but positively impact retention and revenue.
Hire 90% faster, improve demand forecasting by 75%, and improve operational efficiency to drive employee happiness and deliver exceptional guest experiences.
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