As consumers are increasingly dining on premise, restaurants have had to increase staff — but workers have been hard to come by. While there is no solid reason as to why employees are running away from the restaurant industry, employers are doing all they can to bring new workers on.
While April employment numbers have yet to be released, March represented the third month in a row the economy — and the food and restaurant sector specifically — has added more jobs. However, the industry is still 1 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels.
“Unemployment rates are more challenging right now than it was in the pre-pandemic days,” said Ricky Richardson, CEO of 47-unit Spartanburg, S.C.-based Eggs Up Grill told Nation’s Restaurant News last month.
“It is very much a shotgun approach,” Richardson said of finding employees, with hiring techniques including Facebook posts and Instagram pitches.
Larger chains, however, have gone the route of touting benefits like tuition assistance programs and charity work.
KFC, one of the country’s largest quick-service restaurants, on Wednesday announced it would be hiring 20,000 employees after reporting 8% same-store sales growth for Q1. The Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands affiliate touts its tuition-assistance program as a significant reason to join the team.
And they’re not alone. McDonald’s units in Alabama are collectively working together to hire about 3,000 new employees, some of whom may benefit from the chain’s own tuition assistance program that it’s promoting at hiring events. Smaller chains such as Jason’s Deli and Mellow Mushroom are also on big hiring sprees.
Smaller companies have started offering signing bonuses like those at CHI’I in Miami, which is offering any employee that signs now a $1,000 signing bonus redeemable after three months of employment as it staffs its 125-person restaurant.
See the latest chains to join the industry hiring spree.