The restaurant industry is booming...
Locations are expanding, sales are soaring, and job growth is outpacing the US economy. For restaurant owners who struggled during the recessionary years, things are finally coming full circle, except for one thing: there’s no one there to pick up the apron.
Faced with a labor shortage, restauranteurs are struggling to keep up.
“There’s more job openings, more restaurants and foodservice concepts coming to the market,” says Jason Bechtold, director of field marketing at Sysco. “But there’s less of a pool of talent to pull from.”
The traditional model of long hours and low pay is becoming increasingly unrealistic for culinary school graduates who earn their degrees while incurring thousands of dollars in debt. Then there is the struggle to find affordable housing in cities where prominent restaurants reside.
Ultimately, says Bechtold, restaurant owners will have to “shift” their hiring mindset and consider offering incentives such as stipends for professional development, loan payback programs, college training programs and flexible schedules. But while long-term culture shifts may be the future of foodservice – with the restaurant industry slated to add jobs at a 3% rate in 2016 (over 300,000 jobs in total) – owners and operators need immediate solutions.
1. Streamline the Menu
“If you do a great job of manually prepping the food but get in the weeds and can’t execute well, the staff and the food suffers,” says Chef Neil Doherty. “Certain items – prewashed lettuce, fresh prechopped mushrooms – allow you to put out that beautiful plate efficiently and quickly.”
2. Stack your Staff
3. Praise your Partners
4. cook Up Solutions
“Operators are desperately trying to improve their business,” says Doherty. “A Sysco Business Review helps them understand their business challenges and then develop solutions specific to their situation.