The best restaurateurs know that it takes more than a good restaurant menu to bring guests in the door. Every year, new restaurant industry trends shape and reshape the industry, and staying ahead of those trends is the difference between a restaurant that succeeds, and one of the many that fail every year.
In the coming year, the National Restaurant Association predicts that the trends that will shape the restaurant industry are all around one thing: restaurant staff.
1. Labor Challenges Are Emerging (Again)
The U.S. economy is on the rise, which means unemployment rates are going down – and restaurants are having more trouble recruiting and retaining their employees. For the 15th year in 2014, restaurant employment growth outpaced overall employment growth in the private sector. A gap between open positions and available candidates is the consequence. In other words, you’ll need more staff and the candidates simply won’t exist. According to the NRA, “Recruitment and retention of employees continues to strengthen as a top challenge for restaurant operators in 2017. As the economy keeps improving and employment levels rise, there is more competition for qualified employees to fill vacant restaurant positions.”
2. Employee Turnover Is Rising
Recruitment is not the only challenge restaurant owners face as a result of the improving economy. When jobs were more scarce, people were less likely to leave their existing jobs. Now, an improved economy means employees are more likely to leave (and leaving existing jobs faster for new opportunities). Coupled with the fact that restaurant turnover is always higher than the overall private sector and you have a recipe for disaster.
“Currently, four in 10 restaurant employees are aged 16-24, however, the number of job seekers in that age group is shrinking.”
3. The Labor Pool Is Shrinking (And Aging)
As if turnover and labor challenges are not enough, a shrinking and aging labor pool is going to make hiring much different. Currently, four in 10 restaurant employees are aged 16-24, however, the number of people in that age group who are looking for jobs in the industry is shrinking. This prime age group is participating less, which means restaurateurs will have to look elsewhere… like to the aging population and workforce. This means a change in how you hire, and how you incentivize, your restaurant staff.
The long and short of it is this: employee turnover is on the rise, and it doesn’t look as if it will decrease anytime soon – which means there will be changes in hiring restaurant staff from all aspects. How you respond will make or break you