Restaurants, which spent much of the last year trying to get customers to come back, are now trying to get employees to come back, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report says.
Everyone from nationwide chains down to independent eateries has reported troubles trying to hire enough workers to fully staff their kitchens and dining rooms.
U.S. restaurants have been seating customers again after the long pandemic year, in which the quarantines and seating restrictions wreaked havoc on restaurants’ bottom lines.
But despite the new rejuvenation of indoor dining, servers, hosts and line cooks haven’t been coming back in similar numbers after the mass spates of layoffs last year also because of the pandemic. The reasons could be many — they could still be afraid of COVID-19, they could be moving onto other places or industries, or they might still be on unemployment benefits.
Diners have begun to notice the shortage, WSJ writes, with some restaurant owners saying they have raised salaries and then had to pass on the wage increases to customers in the form of higher prices while other costs also continue to rise.
Some establishments have tried to get creative in their quests to try and get workers back. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches has been offering signing bonuses for recruits. Chipotle is offering free college tuition for employees working at least 15 hours a week after four months on the job. Taco Bell is giving paid family leave for corporate store managers. And McDonald’s is reportedly assessing what benefits would entice people to come back, WSJ reports.
PYMNTS reported recently that despite the continued presence of digital order dining, newly-vaccinated customers want badly to go back to the days of the pre-pandemic with more in-person dining.
By the count of the last PYMNTS study, 32 percent of the people most likely to get vaccinated plan to order and dine more on-site once completely vaccinated.
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