Eating and drinking establishments once again led the nation in job creation, adding about 50,000 of the 236,000 jobs in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This accounts for about one-fifth of the total jobs added and brings restaurant and bar employment within striking distance of pre-pandemic labor levels.
Are you feeling a lessening of the labor crunch?
According to data from the National Restaurant Association, about 28 states remain below pre-pandemic employment levels as of February. The top states with the fewest jobs include Maine, Maryland, and Vermont. However, on the upside, about 60% of restaurant operators feel optimistic and predict higher sales in the next six months. According to Bruce Grindy, the National Restaurant Association’s chief economist, “While the path forward won’t be without challenges, we expect the industry to continue on a positive trajectory in the months ahead.”
Are Restaurants Still Experiencing Labor Woes in Spring 2023?
The answer to that question depends predominantly on where the restaurant is located. Those establishments that get an influx of tourists in the summer and boast beautiful outdoor settings are feeling the challenges more directly. Seasonal workers are in high demand in the hospitality sector and other businesses that rely on an influx of workers in the summer.
For instance, the Marketplace reported on the challenge summer pools face when finding pool lifeguards. Last year, over 300,000 public pools limited operations due to a lack of staff, and they expect this season to be worse.
In the restaurant industry, reduced hours are still on the menu. The Society for Human Resource Management forecasts the labor shortage to persist for years.
Why Are Restaurants Still Having Staffing Issues?
While we could point fingers at the pandemic and the Great Resignation, labor retention, and recruitment have been a problem for our industry for some time. It’s a business that often requires night shifts and irregular schedules. On the flip side, it’s an ideal setup for those going to school or surfers and outdoor enthusiasts who play during the day.
While not the sole cause, the pandemic is responsible for the shakeup. As restaurants shut down, employees headed to different industries, and many remained in their new positions even as restaurants started reopening.
What Can Restaurants Do When a Labor Shortage Persists?
Unfortunately, many of us witnessed restaurants whose customer experience was diminished due to the labor shortage’s effect on staffing. In response, restaurants cut hours, reduced sections, and turned to technology.
A few technology solutions that help reduce the operational upheaval associated with fewer staff include using QR barcodes for ordering, offering mobile pay, and turning to robotics.
How Can Restaurants Find the Talent They Need?
One of the main hiring challenges is finding serious applicants that fit the company’s culture. Even pre-pandemic, the National Restaurant Association reported the employee turnover rate to hit over 66% annually.
One of the signs I’ll never forget seeing right after restaurants began reopening read, “If you’re breathing, we’re hiring.”
There’s a big difference between hiring talent and hiring someone that’s breathing. Hopefully, both apply. A Blackbox Intelligence report in 2022 found three main reasons restaurant employees search for other positions. These included higher and more reliable pay, a schedule they could count on, and additional promotion opportunities. Now’s the time to ask if your establishment has risen to the occasion, as many others have, looking to train and promote from within, determining what competitors are paying, and creating reliable schedules.
Target Workforce to the Rescue
At EMERGING, we do things a little differently. We look at the issues our clients are dealing with and develop unique solutions. As the labor shortage and its unrelenting effects continued, Target Workforce was born.
This proprietary technology helps restaurants find the highest quality and best-trained staff at the lowest cost. We accurately target potential hires in your area using Geoframing, GPS, mobile tracking, and IP address verification technology. We also place targeted ads on the most popular websites at the right time, directing them to the right people. The result is finding highly qualified workers that you can add to your team.
Are you ready to consider a different approach to hiring? To learn more about Target Workforce or to schedule a demo, contact EMERGING today.