The industry employs nearly 15 million people, according to the National Restaurant Association, making up about 10 percent of the U.S. workforce. Nearly one in 10 Americans is employed in a restaurant.
But with national unemployment low and the climate unfavorable for immigrant workers, restaurant operators across the country say they are struggling to fill back-of-the-house positions. The rising minimum wage has put more pressure on restaurant margins, making it harder for operators to compete for talent. Where job postings once invited a flood of applicants, restaurant operators say they now see very few.
But restaurant people, at their core, are problem solvers. The old ways aren’t working so well. So restaurant operators are finding new ways.
In these pages are examples of how operators across the country are experimenting with new labor models.
They’re eliminating tips and sharing revenue to boost back-of-the-house wages. They’re adding variations on a service or administrative charge to guest checks, and shifting to less-labor-intensive formats.
In addition, restaurants are looking at automation to create more efficiency in kitchens.
And the way restaurants search for and hire new workers is also changing, as digital talent management companies evolve. Not only are they attempting to find better ways for employer to meet worker, they’re providing solutions to help keep that match together.
Not one of these methods is the right way. You need to find what works for your business.
But in any industry, businesses need to evolve, adapt and break traditional rules. There’s a lot of new thinking going on out there. Are you ready to do the same?