Since the restrictions have been lifted around the country, resuming American pastime is becoming the focal point of today. More and more Americans are feeling safer, and consequently eating out; visiting parks; going to the beach are no longer restricted for the most part.
For nationwide restaurant chains and independent eateries are saying that there is a growing demand for workers; and frankly aren’t enough workers to staff kitchens and dining rooms just as Covid-19 restrictions relax and more consumers want to eat out again.
For example, fast food operators like owners of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and restaurants are offering signing bonuses for recruits. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is offering perks such as free college tuition to employees who work at least 15 hours a week after four months on the job. Other fast-food chains like Taco Bell is offering paid family leave to company store managers while MacDonald’s Corp owners are assessing what pay and benefits its U.S. employers would like as a best place to work.
Atlanta-based restaurant operator Daniel Halpern, who runs fifty TGI Fridays and other restaurants recently increased hourly wages and is offering employees immediate pay.
During the pandemic, U.S. restaurants shifted their store operations to online launching online food brands or rely on takeout services. Sales at bars and restaurants increased up to 13.4% in March compared with the month of February, according to U.S. Labor Department.
Despite Chipotle fast-food chain offering its college tuition initiative, servers, hosts and line cooks are reluctant to come back because they are fearful to contract Covid-19; have moved on to other industries or remain on unemployment benefits.
Other sectors of the U.S. economy also are struggling to add staff especially with manufacturers, live-event coordinators [in entertainment] and other companies wrestling with labor shortages. Some restaurant owners have had to pass on some of the increases to customers in the form of higher prices as other prices rises at the same time— operation and overhead, for example. Consequently, consumer fast-food prices in March grew to 6.5% compared to last year, biggest year-on- year since 1998, the Labor Department data show. It was also reported McDonalds and Pizza Hut owners are closing earlier in the evening than if they were fully staffed, cutting off potential sales.
Food-service jobs on Indeed.com cited mid-April jobs stood at 16.2% higher than February fiscal year 2020 reflecting the highest number for severs, cooks, hosts and managers and other restaurant jobs posting since the pandemic began spreading in the U.S.
However, restaurants were struggling with employment before the pandemic when unemployment stood at 3. 5%; Covid-19 created new problems restaurateurs said. Many restaurant and bar workers were laid off when the pandemic hit last year. Economists expect it would take time for workers who dropped out of the market to return.
New York City, some restaurants are closing earlier due to labor shortage according to report on April 11 by McDonald’s. It is reported supplemental unemployment benefit of $300 a week could be reason for workers to return to work according to economists and restaurant owners as federal and average state unemployment payments can surpass the weekly pay of an employee working 40 hours at $15 an hour. The median hourly wage for a fast-food worker in 2020 stood at $11.47, Law Department data show. However, restaurants like full service and high-end restaurant Wolfgang Puck’s Spago-Beverly Hills, servers earns as much as $100,000 a year plus tips are also struggling to recruit workers. Mr. Puck said in an interview that expended unemployment benefits and new options like personal chef gigs are contributing to staffing shortages at Spago and other restaurants .