Restaurants are desperate for workers, with more than 60% of food-industry businesses reporting that they are understaffed.
- A recent survey found that more than 60% of restaurants report being understaffed.
- In 2022 there was only one unemployed person for every two restaurant jobs needed—making it the lowest level on record.
- The food-service industry is expected to reach $997 billion this year while struggling for workers and overworking current employees.
Why it’s news
Many restaurants lost workers during the pandemic as employees left to work other higher-paying jobs, and three years later, in 2023, the businesses are still struggling for workers.
Now that the pandemic has subsided, many Americans are returning to regularly eating in restaurants, sending business booming, but one major flaw—there isn’t enough food-industry staff.
The food industry typically consists of long, hard-working hours, and during the pandemic, many jobs opened up that had better pay and working hours, leading many food industry workers to leave and work for other companies.
Many restaurants have offered incentives for workers, such as sign-on bonuses and raising hourly pay, but it isn’t enough. Unemployment levels are low, which is good, but bad for businesses struggling for employees.
Survey shows that 92%of restaurants report higher food costs being a challenge to not be able to pay workers more, forcing the businesses to continue struggling.
As companies continue to struggle and work with small amounts of employees, the current staff members are being overworked, causing them to look for work elsewhere, adding to the issue of small staff numbers.
“Despite the really strong gains in the labor market, leisure and hospitality continues to be the sector where you haven’t seen the full recovery,” says economist Anna Zhou. “They continue to struggle to fill every opening.”
The food industry is expected to continue growing this year, reaching nearly 1 trillion, but the restaurant labor shortage isn’t looking to cool down anytime soon, which is causing many businesses to worry about the impact of the growing industry.