from Zero Hedge:
“The Most Dramatic Shift In The History Of Food Service” – Restaurants Suddenly Can’t Find Enough Workers
At a time when the US restaurant sector is suffering from a crisis of unprecedented proportions, with diners in US restaurants roughly half where they were compared to a year ago due to ongoing covid lockdown measures…
… a new crisis has emerged: a persistent labor shortage despite the greatest jump in unemployment in 80 years.
The reason why the this time is indeed different from previous economic slowdowns when restaurants offered an important lifeline for the newly unemployed and would always be packed with minimum wage workers is because the Covid-19 pandemic has left service-sector jobs with a higher chance of infection; as a result even higher wages aren’t luring workers into the kitchen.
According to Bloomberg, key restaurant labor demographics such as teenagers, at the urging of their parents, and the elderly, are staying away for health and safety reasons, and emergency-enhanced unemployment checks have kept others on the sidelines.
And while many restaurant chains are finally paying more – or so they claim – that has failed to fill current their staff openings.
“This is the most dramatic shift that’s happened in the modern history of food service” said Aaron Allen, chief strategist at restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates. “It’s the first time people have left the industry and decided not to come back.”
According to the latest BLS Jolts report, as of mid-July, only about half of the 6.1 million food-service jobs that the U.S. lost in March and April had returned. This is a U-turn from early in the pandemic, when restaurant chains pared menus, reduced store hours and cut staff.
Not everyone is suffering: while many traditional restaurants continue to struggle as consumers avoid dining rooms, fast-food chains and those with carryout have reported steady improvement this summer as socially distancing consumers opt for drive thrus, Bloomberg reports. At the same time, delivery-focused companies like Papa John’s and Domino’s Pizza have thrived.
In June, McDonald’s said that in order to capitalize on the rebound in fast food, it planned to hire 260,000 this summer. Subway, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., Papa John’s and Chipotle are also looking to expand payrolls on a smaller scale. But the lack of workers is complicating efforts.