Help Still Wanted

Help Still Wanted

Restaurant staffing is challenging in the best of times. Before COVID-19, the restaurant and hospitality industry was the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, providing 15.4M jobs—10% of the total U.S. workforce.

 

Today, a much different story. Gutting the hospitality industry, the pandemic pushed thousands of restaurants to their breaking point. From reduced hours and dining capacity to limited menus and severe staffing shortages—Restaurant Business Online reported that employment has declined 8% since the pandemic started, with over one million workers quitting their jobs. More troublesome, the latest data indicates that some 80,000 restaurants, or nearly 10% of the national total, have closed their doors.

 

While the restaurant and foodservice industry added back 1.7M jobs during 2021 for an end-of-year total of 14.5M employees, they’re still not out of the woods. After nearly two years of plummeting profits, restaurant owners are being hit by a cascading series of new challenges: inflationary pressures, a global supply chain crunch and the inability to hire and retain enough employees to operate.

Staffing Remains Top Concern for Restaurants

Struggling more than any other industry to get people employed, the National Restaurant Association’s latest report found that roughly half of restaurant operators expect that recruiting and retaining workers will be their biggest challenge this year. Adding to it, seven out of ten operators across all major segments say their restaurant currently does not have enough employees to support customer demand.

 

As restaurants brace for a future with fewer workers, more of them are coming to a stark realization that things many never return to normal. Although the industry added back many jobs lost during the pandemic, most restaurants are still understaffed.

 

According to the 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry, nine in ten operators say that being understaffed is having a significant or moderate impact on their restaurant’s ability to grow and succeed. That’s why many are exploring new ways of looking at their workforce—including Papa John’s—who in recent months has leveraged gig apps like DoorDash to help them meet delivery demand.

Tackling the Labor Shortage with Gig

It’s no secret that there is tremendous competition for talent right now. With staffing concerns creating major disruptions throughout an already fragile restaurant industry, operators are turning to an unconventional source to staff their restaurants: gig workers.

 

During a recent webinar sponsored by the National Restaurant Association, experts revealed, “In a tight labor market, high employee turnover and desire for flexible work schedules are driving some restaurant operators to change the way they hire and manage staffers. Long seen as a resource only for the delivery space, the gig economy is quickly becoming an essential force of the American restaurant scene.”

 

With a massive shift taking place within gig, workers and businesses are looking at the future of work differently than they did pre-COVID. Freedom and flexibility are becoming the new norm when it comes to what workers want. In a recent survey completed by Hyer, 80% of their Taskers reported flexibility as the main reason for choosing gig work. 92% report being more satisfied with gig work than traditional work. A sign of the shift taking place.

 

A recent article by Restaurant News said, “With the size of the gig workforce now large enough to have an impact on how workers think about work, businesses from many industries including restaurants are now comparing what they can get from gig work with what they can get from traditional employment. And in many ways, traditional employment comes up short.”

 

Curious what gig could do for your restaurant? Talk to our team today.