Restaurants Have a Labor Shortage

Why Is There a Labor Shortage?

As vaccinations increase and daily cases of COVID-19 go down, restaurants hope to finally get back to normal for real this summer. But they’re finding it difficult to hire back the staff they need. There’s a labor shortage in the hospitality industry, and it’s hitting everyone hard.

Although they’ve been called “essential” workers all year, restaurant employees still experience poor wages, discrimination, and harassment at high rates. The federal government has teased a minimum wage increase, but progress there is slow. Meanwhile, the lingering threat of COVID-19 makes people hesitant to come back to an unwelcoming environment that’s not always worth the money.

This labor shortage hurts restaurants all over the U.S. The more you learn about the obstacles it presents, the better your business can prepare.

What Obstacles Do Restaurants Face?

How the Labor Shortage Affects the Industry

Despite lifting restrictions, many once-popular restaurants remain closed. The long shut-downs, tight regulations, and sanitation all make it difficult to pull in guests and workers alike. Still, there’s a bigger issue at play: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the hospitality industry is still 2.8M employees short relative to pre-pandemic. Industrywide unemployment crested above 10% despite the national average of 6.1%. There’s a divide between qualified, available candidates and those currently applying.

In part, this is due to the federal government extending unemployment benefits. Service workers often find that they make just as much, if not more, on unemployment than they do at their jobs—where they’re also faced with poor treatment, strenuous hours, and infection risks.

So what can restaurants do to keep their labor? Better wages, benefits, and understanding during a global crisis is a good place to start.

What Your Restaurant Can Do

First and foremost, identify what makes you a good employer. Your reputation and online reviews likely reflect what people think. If you don’t like the word around town, commit to changing. Then emphasize your new dedication to diversity and inclusion in your job postings and advertisements.

Service workers talk. They’ll refer each other to good employers or warn people off from bad ones. Your professional reputation really influences success. Prioritizing staff’s health and safety demonstrates your commitment to keeping them safe during the restaurant recovery period. Offering sick leave, PTO, mental health days, and time to weather the side effects of the vaccines will reflect in recruiting better candidates.

Improving the relationship between workers and management makes for better retention, loyalty, and word-of-mouth. Adapt your management style to show the little ways that you care, and acknowledge that they’re feeling the effects of COVID-19 just as deeply. Only then will you start to bring back the workers you need.

Will the Labor Shortage Continue?

President Biden is pushing to end the tipped minimum wage for restaurant workers. Instead, the administration wants to increase the blanket minimum to $15/hr. This alone may bring workers back if they can earn more at restaurants than they can from home.

When the labor shortage does end, give your sales team the tools they need to hit the ground running. Invest in a smart Point of Sale system. eatOS has workforce management features that make clocking in and out from the app simple. We also automate payroll, set permissions, and do so much more to make your business the best it can be. With a smart Point of Sale system, restaurants just run more smoothly.

eatOS offers an all-in-one cloud-based eco-system exclusively for restaurants. From Point of Sale to Contactless Ordering, Pay & Order at Table, Kitchen Display System, Customer Facing Display, Online Ordering APP / Website and Workforce Management there is everything to help a restaurant succeed no matter the size. Click Here to Schedule a demo to learn more about how your restaurant can make a smooth transition into the world of restaurant technology made simple.

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