Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s topic: what customers should know about staff shortages in the restaurant industry and how they can support hospitality employees. 

Across the country, restaurant managers are struggling to hire. According to a census poll conducted in March of this year, 40% of restaurants are experiencing hiring challenges, and we expect that number has only gone up as people reacclimate themselves to dining out. These restaurant staff shortages can have a big impact on a guests experience. 

With more customers returning to restaurants, the issuestemming from the restaurant staff shortage are becoming more apparent. As a guest at a bar or restaurant, there are a few things to understand that can make both your and the employees experience more enjoyable. Here’s what customer should know about restaurants experiencing staff shortages:  

Wait Times May Increase 

If a restaurant is struggling with being fully staffed, it’s likely that times will increase when waiting for your table or food because employees may be playing multiple roles to account for unfilled positions. Plus, 34 states still have some sort of dining restrictions in place, which may mean they’re not allowed them to be at full capacity.  

How you can support employees: Trust us, increased wait times are inconvenient for employees too. Right now, more than ever, they need your understanding. Being understaffed is stressful for workers who are left responsible to pick up the slack. Workers will recognize if you’re being patient and will appreciate it as managers work on rectifying the staff shortages.  

Restaurants are Trying to Hire 

With so many people out of work during the pandemic, it’s easy to believe that hiring should be as simple as putting up a job posting. But right now, there are several factors that experts believe are preventing people from returning to work, ranging from stimulus payments to continued concerns about the coronavirus. An important aspect to realize regarding the staff shortage is that businesses are trying to hire but are facing difficulties with getting people to work 

How you can support employees: A great way to show your support in restaurants’ hiring efforts is to spread the word about open positions or refer great candidates you know. By referring people that you know are interested in hospitality work or are proven to be reliable employees, you can help minimize the number of open positions.  

Your Kindness Goes a Long Way 

Before you step foot into a bar or restaurant, you have to remind yourself of what restrictions the employees are currently asked to uphold. These may include capacity and distance restrictions or mask mandates. While you dine-in, they’ll likely be asking you to adhere to the requirements set in place either by the restaurant or by the local government. It isn’t personal –– it’s a part of their jobs. Don’t be surprised if during your time at the restaurant, employees spend less time at the table than you’re used to. It’s to help keep them – and you – safe.  

How you can support employees: Besides patience and understanding, employees need emotional and financial support right now. Always tip appropriately and don’t hold back on the smiles (if your mask is off while dining) or waves. It’s the little things that can make a big difference in someone’s day.  

With restrictions loosening, it’s starting to feel more like it did pre-pandemic. But not everything is back to normal yet. As restaurants work on staff shortages, employees will appreciate the support and understanding they receive from customers. Keep these points in mind next time you venture out to your favorite restaurant.  



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