Restaurants brace for a future with fewer staff members
More industry executives believe restaurants may never get all their workers back and should focus on improving overall productivity.
As restaurant operators increase pay, benefits and training so they can recruit and retain workers, yet still close early because they don’t have enough help, more of them are coming to a stark realization: Things may never get back to normal.
Industry executives in recent weeks have seemed resigned to a future with fewer available workers and say they must take time to transform their restaurants and operations to prepare for that inevitability.
Restaurant employment is down about 8% since before the pandemic. The industry indeed lost about 1 million workers. Yet the industry is struggling more than any other to get people employed. Signs outside of many fast food and casual dining restaurants beg for employees.
Technology could help overcome this challenge gradually, by making life easier for employees and giving them more reasons to stay while improving the efficiency inside restaurants. More companies are now investing heavily into new types of technology to do just that—including ordering technology in drive-thrus and more advanced kitchen technology to make things more efficient.
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