How to Navigate the Restaurant Labor Shortage

Close-up On A Blue Sign In The Window Of A Restaurant Displaying The Words, "Come in. We're Hiring." Restaurants that survived the initial COVID-19 lockdown know what it means to be adaptable. Traversing this unfamiliar landscape of customer shortages and a ban on indoor dining has helped you become resilient in the face of adversity. However, with the worst of the pandemic behind us for the time being, restaurant owners are running into a new problem: a lack of job applications. With stress being a large contributing factor to this issue, let’s discuss how to navigate the restaurant labor shortage.

What’s Causing the Restaurant Labor Shortage?

Restaurants typically have a high job turnover rate due to the staff largely being comprised of teenagers entering the workforce. Low wages and a high-stress, fast-paced environment also make it difficult for restaurants to find workers. However, with COVID-19 thrown into the mix, it’s created the perfect storm. There’s now a significant health risk to working in the foodservice industry. Not only are restaurant workers facing the fear of contracting a dangerous virus, but the loss of wages and ensuing medical bills are a huge financial strain. This uncertainty is enough to cause hesitancy amongst job seekers.

How Can I Find Workers During the Restaurant Labor Shortage?

It’s a difficult problem to contend with, and unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to hiring staff during a health crisis. Posting to a congested online job board full of competing restaurants likely won’t produce results. However, some tips that might help you attract talent and retain employees during this shortage include:

  • Host a Job Fair: Spend some time building hype around a job fair where you’ll provide food and drinks for applicants. You can talk with applicants and hire staff on the spot if they are the right fit.
  • Offer a Bonus: Many might think bonuses are reserved for corporations. Yet, offering bonuses, healthcare, retirement plans, or childcare services can attract and retain loyal talent.
  • Revamp Company Culture: The hustle and bustle of a restaurant can make workers not feel appreciated. Stand up for your employees when handling unruly guests, prioritize their safety, don’t berate them over a simple mistake, and address their complaints.
  • Offer Scheduling Options: Ask your employees what schedule would adhere to their lifestyle. While you can’t grant everyone’s wishes, listening to their scheduling preferences can help you create a schedule that equally improves everyone’s work-life balance.

Turning to technology is also a great way of besting the restaurant labor shortage and limiting your employees’ exposure to guests. Think about incorporating QR codes on menus and have guests submit their orders and pay for their bills electronically. That way, the server only needs to interact with them when delivering food and drinks, and you don’t have to worry about menus and receipts as viral vectors.

Invest in the Right Business Insurance

Finding the right business insurance not only protects your company but also gives your employees peace of mind. A staff shortage not only means your current workers are working double-duty but also that they are working quickly to compensate, increasing the risk of an accident. Investing in restaurant liability and commercial property insurance can ensure that your employees still have a place to work in the event of a serious accident. Also, revisiting your workers compensation plan will help pay for your employee’s medical bills and lost wages if they slip on a grease puddle in the kitchen.

Following these tips to combating the restaurant labor shortage can help you continue your successful streak in the face of this crisis. Making sure your employees are covered by suitable insurance is just as important as making sure they are happy. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents can ensure your restaurant is outfitted with the best business insurance and worker compensation plan for your needs. If you need help covering your business and your employees, contact us today.