ALTHOUGH TURNOVER IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY HAS ALWAYS BEEN HIGH, SOME ESTABLISHMENTS WILL BE ONBOARDING AN UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER OF NEW EMPLOYEES.
As states roll back many of the restrictions enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19, restaurant owners are banking on a full recovery after a devastating year. But new challenges have emerged. Although brands may be focused on re-engaging existing customers and attracting new ones, labor shortages have impacted their ability to quickly find and hire new team members. In turn, customer experience needs to be monitored closely. Brands need to pay close attention, as many new employees and inadequate staff sizes could translate into operational inconsistencies and an overall degradation in service delivery.
A June report from the National Restaurant Association puts the issue in perspective: while restaurant employment rose for the fifth consecutive month in May, staffing levels remain well below pre-pandemic levels, with eating and drinking establishments currently short-staffed by 1.5 million jobs (12 percent).
Restaurant owners and operators must acknowledge that the employees they were forced to lay off during the height of the pandemic may not be coming back. This means brands must level up their strategies for hiring new staff, and fast. At the same time, although turnover in the restaurant industry has always been high, some establishments will be onboarding an unprecedented number of new employees—some of which may be new to the hospitality business or joining the workforce for the very first time.