Uncovering The Truth About Labor Shortages In Restaurant Jobs
Labor has always been a top concern for restaurant owners and managers. But over the past two years, the labor shortage with restaurant jobs has grown to a level that has caused concern. According to Business Insider, in November 2021, a record 1 million restaurant and hospitality workers quit their job. And while the foodservice sector experienced gains in employment in January 2022, the unemployment rate in leisure and hospitality remains double the rate of the general economy. So what’s really to blame for so many leaving their restaurant jobs recently?
What Caused The Labor Shortage?
When Covid hit the United States and lockdowns started in March 2020, the foodservice industry was hit especially hard. Kitchen jobs and serving jobs could not be done remotely and staff was out of work for an unforeseeable future. Some of those workers permanently lost their jobs when their employers closed. There was a common sentiment that restaurant staff didn’t need to return to work due to receiving stimulus funds and additional unemployment, and would return once those benefits ran out. However, the mass return to restaurant jobs never happened. And even more workers in the restaurant industry are continuing to quit. Working in a kitchen is mentally and physically exhausting, and the stress can add up. In fact, 38% of former restaurant workers said they’re not returning to restaurant jobs because of stress, long hours, inconsistent schedules, and several other factors.
Where Do Restaurant Jobs Go From Here?
To help attract and retain employees, companies are coming up with incentives they hope will bring in more staff. Larger chains are increasing wages, cutting operating hours, and offering better benefits to help deal with labor shortages.
Those benefits might be feasible for large chains, but many operations can’t afford to implement those measures. Finding a way for businesses to work with less staff in the long term is imperative, so—what’s next? One solution is automation, which helps make tasks easier for staff and can reduce labor costs for restaurants. Automation can also improve working conditions in restaurant kitchens, helping to attract and retain staff.
There are different levels of automation that can be applied in a commercial kitchen, but it might not be as complicated as you think. IoT cloud-based platforms are a perfect example of using technology to work smarter, not harder. iOT solutions can monitor equipment performance, facility diagnostics and food safety. Imagine if the lights and equipment in your facility automatically turned on and off based upon a preset schedule. Or getting an email to remind you of routine maintenance coming up for your equipment. This is all possible through the award-winning IoT solution, Open Kitchen.
Anytime you simplify a process using more technology and less labor, you’re using automation. Whether it be placing product on the belt of an automatic broiler or dropping a vacuum-sealed bag into a rethermalizer, you’ve freed up staff to walk away and focus on a different task. Of course there are more literal translations, such as robots that drop fry baskets and put finished product into a dump station. Or even pizza robots that fully assemble to exact specifications and then load pizzas into an oven. When it comes to making restaurant jobs easier, there’s many solutions to explore.