Labor Shortage In The Restaurant Industry

The struggle of labor shortage in the restaurant industry is real right now. Restaurant owners have been posting job requirements after job requirements, hiring signboards after hiring signboards, with no success. The restaurant industry is suffering from a severe staff crunch.

But what is going on with the labor shortage in the restaurant industry? Why aren’t people applying for jobs in this industry? Is it due to the covid 19 pandemic? Is it due to the supplemental unemployment benefits? We really need to think about this situation before making up our minds about it. We really need to get real and talk about the practical side of things here. 

Some Facts And Figures-

Some facts and figures

Let us take a look at some data that can help us understand what exactly is going on with the labor shortage in the restaurant industry.

  1. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings rose to a record 9.3 million in April, 2021, an unprecedented number that has remained stagnant in the following months. 
  1. By May 2020, the industry was down 5.9 million jobs , and the number of restaurant jobs scheduled was down 75%.
  1. 17% of restaurants closed for good, and laid-off employees had to find new ways to make ends meet.
  1. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 6% or 9.7 million people

Now the real question is, when the U.S. unemployment rate sits at 6% or 9.7 million people, then why is the restaurant industry still struggling to fill the available positions?

Reasons For Labor Shortage In The Restaurant Industry –

Reasons for labor shortage in the restaurant industry

There are many reasons for labor shortage in the restaurant industry besides the Covid-19 pandemic hitting the world which may have been a cause of the earlier staff not showing back to work as per some restaurant owners and other executives.

Recruiting new employees is difficult due to the restaurant industry’s poor reputation for workplace quality. It’s known for high-stress shifts in hot kitchens, few employee benefits, and frequently low pay. Restaurants are finding it difficult to provide competitive wages and unemployment benefits. According to the New York Times, the median cook or food preparation worker earned $13.02 per hour in May 2020, and dishwashers earned $12.15.

Hence people would naturally find it better to work in other industries with multiple employee benefits as well as better pay, or maybe use the unemployment benefits and never return to the hot kitchens!

Pandemic hit us all very hard. And with everyone sitting at home, people had a lot of time to self-analyze and think about what they are making out of their lives. 

They now feel empowered to be more selective when choosing jobs. According to a recent Joblist survey, 58 percent of job seekers are not interested in hospitality jobs and prefer a different work setting, such as an office environment.

During the peak of the pandemic, many of the workers must have been subjected to the deadly coronavirus. Because of the uncertainty surrounding safety conditions and the insecurity of working in a restaurant, many people have left the industry permanently in search of other opportunities.

With the pandemic around the world, the daycares and creches closing down, they had no way to go but essentially quit their jobs to take care of the family commitments. Everyone has to think twice before getting back to work.  In the United States, 72 percent of families report paying more for childcare now than they did before the pandemic, and many parents are reducing their work hours or leaving the workforce entirely to care for their children. 

Realistically, it is a mix of these factors and many more that have driven the U.S. labor shortage in the restaurant industry.

We really need to come up with certain new and innovative ideas to combat this labor shortage issue, otherwise, the restaurant industry is going to be in deep trouble.

Leverage Tech To Combat Labor Shortage In The Restaurant Industry –

leverage tech to combat labor shortage

With the Covid 19 restrictions slowly lifting up, and people getting ready to eat out, restaurant owners are facing the biggest nightmares of their lives. With trying to reduce their opening hours to reduce the items on the menu, they have tried everything and failed. “Now is the time to incorporate tech into the restaurant industry and focus on how to combat the labor shortage”, this is what everyone says, but the biggest question is- HOW?

Let’s find out.


Handheld POS

Gone are the days when your staff used to move around the restaurant, back and forth to the customer’s tables to get the bills ready, then getting the payments done. With the provision of handheld systems, your staff can easily get the payments done then and there. No hassle of moving all the way around. With less staff by your side, you should absolutely do this so that the staff can save that amount of time to wait on thirty other hungry tables!

Promote Online Ordering

Promote online ordering

Not only because of the pandemic, which forced restaurants to close their dine-in options, but owing to the fact that it is far more convenient, online ordering has seen a significant surge in recent months. People nowadays prefer to have their favorite foods brought to them, at their doorstep. 

One way to see this is that you will need less front of the house staff to wait on the tables. You give your guests the ability to order on their own personal devices, freeing up time for your present staff to focus on bringing food to tables with that extra revenue coming in. Check out our branded online ordering solution- Foodkonnekt!

 Online Targeted Recruitment and Hiring 


When putting the HIRING banners used to drive applications after applications in, are the talks of old days. Websites and software are becoming increasingly important in the recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes. Indeed and LinkedIn, for example, are frequently optimized to present job opportunities to potential applicants who are the best fit for the job. You can also use Facebook to post jobs and then run ads to target the most suited audience. Check out some of the best practices to find and hire great staff for your restaurant. Then see the applications flying in, thank us later!

Focus On BOH Too

Back of the house

To be very frank, you could have world-class equipment, state of the art decor, but if your food doesn’t taste good, you’re nil. Hence, in these difficult times, we have to focus on the back-of-house operations also. To speed up the process of delivering high-quality food in a timely manner, kitchen display systems replace paper tickets and kitchen printers. It has the tech to give the chefs what ingredients to use, specific instructions, and even what to prioritize first. This is a very good option to actually get work done faster and in an efficient manner, considering the fact that we have a labor shortage at our hands.

Leverage Data Analytics

Leverage data analytics

Use analytics to inform scheduling decisions – using historical and predictive data can help you better plan, staff up for busy hours, and operate on a leaner scale during slower hours. Using data from your restaurant can help you optimize your scheduling methods and save money on labor.


All of us at this stage have to really understand the fact that there is a severe staff crunch right now, whatever the reasons may be. Instead of thinking about what has happened or what is happening, we should also focus on what can be done. Tech is something that can be our best friend right now. So let’s come together and fight ourselves out of this struggle.