Restaurant employment is still 3.5% lower than before COVID-19

DORAL, FL – Restaurant employment is still 3.6% lower than before the pandemic by January 2023, or the equivalent of 450,000 jobs, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Despite the fact that U.S. restaurants have added jobs for 24 consecutive months since the height of the pandemic, a November survey made by the association found that 62% of restaurant operators didn’t have enough employees to satisfy customer demand.

In addition, eighty-seven percent of operators stated they will hire additional employees in the next year if they find qualified applicants. In the meantime, 79% said they already have job openings that have been difficult to fill.

About this, a source consulted by the AP explained that a growing number of jobs such as delivery drivers outside of the restaurant industry are competing for the same workers.

According to that source, which is Hudson Riehle, the association’s senior vice president for research, although restaurants are increasing the pay and including more benefits, he still is reluctant to believe the workforce will be back to pre-pandemic levels this year.

The problem is such that some big chains have already announced their plans to fix the restaurant employment deficit.

This is the case of Chipotle that on Thursday said aspires to hire 15,000 people in North America with the purpose of staffing up ahead of spring season. On the other hand, Taco Bell has more than 25,000 listings for crew members posted on its website, while Starbucks has posted more than 10,000 listings for baristas.


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