(STL.News) The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life for Americans. Previously, they could visit local restaurants and enjoy a meal with their loved ones. During the pandemic, restaurants were closed, or indoor dining was eliminated. Since then, the pandemic has slowed, and restaurants have reopened. Nevertheless, they’re still facing many hurdles. Restaurants must adjust their operations to accommodate cautious customers and avoid breaking the rules. Within this guide, readers will learn more about restaurants adapting to life during the pandemic.
First and foremost, it is vital to understand that restaurants across the country are suffering due to a labor shortage. With the ongoing unemployment benefit bonus, it is often more lucrative to remain on benefits instead of returning to the workforce. Many businesses have slashed their hours and closed on certain days due to the labor shortage. In Dayton, Ohio, demand for pizza is higher than ever. Nevertheless, the Wheat Penny Oven and Bar has been forced to close on Mondays and Sundays. Co-owner Liz Valenti admits that some workers did not want to come back. Individuals with 10 to 15 years of experience decided not to return to the hospitality industry.
Although the restaurant’s sales have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, they’re struggling to keep up with the demand. The sales would be even higher if Valenti could find enough workers to keep the restaurant open 7 days a week. The trend has expanded across the country. In Kansas City, restaurants are still struggling to fill orders due to a labor shortage at a food supplier. Staffing and concern issues at Sysco have created problems for restaurants across Kansas City.
Kind Food owner, Phillip Jones, admits it has been hard to find vegan ingredients such as raw cashews. Usually, they get raw cashews locally or from Sysco, but they can’t this time. The company told Jones that they would no longer be able to send him deliveries, and he couldn’t pick them up himself. Although
Sysco expects the problems to be temporary; they do not have a timeline of when they should be fixed. Sysco confirmed it would prioritize deliveries to education and healthcare customers.
Spencer Blakley manages Just Slide in North Kansas City. He admitted it has been difficult to fulfill orders of coleslaw, drinks, and fries. The trend will likely continue until Americans are back at work.
Incentives Aren’t Working.
Missouri and other states have taken steps to force Americans to go back to work, but it hasn’t worked. For instance, state officials started by canceling the $300 unemployment bonus. Many expected that this move would force Americans to return to the office. It hasn’t helped. On the flip side, restaurant owners have taken matters into their own hands. Some restaurant owners have been offering generous incentives for people to return to work. For instance, they’ve started offering higher pay, more vacation time, and matching 401k plans. Despite the move, people are not eager to return to restaurant work.
Some argue that Americans aren’t returning to work because they’re still worried about the coronavirus. Employment in the hospitality industry is roughly 1.7 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic number. Since many businesses closed for good, there is a risk that some of these jobs will not come back. In addition to this, the economy has 5.7 million fewer jobs than it had before the pandemic.
Raising wages from $11 or $13 to $15 hasn’t worked so far. Some businesses have used the best reseller panel to reach more applicants on social media, but that hasn’t been effective either.
Where Does It Go From Here?
Unfortunately, it is hard to predict where things will go from here. Some believe that the pandemic is coming to an end, but others do not. Case numbers are climbing higher as more COVID variants enter the United States. In addition to this, many Americans are still hesitant to get vaccinated, and that isn’t going to help matters. In some American states and cities, lawmakers are imposing new mask mandates. New York City has confirmed that people will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated before they can enter restaurants, sports venues, and other indoor entertainment venues.
Suffice to say; there is likely a rough road ahead for American restaurants.