Restaurants Seek On-Demand Recruiting Apps Because Labor Costs Are Tight


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Chef Matt Bols

Source: Kelly Lamatia

Like many restaurateurs, Matt Bols, executive chef at Nashville’s 404 Kitchen, has to get creative when the city is shut down with orders for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infection last spring. did.

He kept some of the core staff busy preparing meals for local food banks and providing private dinners and other payment options.

“I didn’t know when the end would be, so you just grabbed the straw with all your might,” he said.

When the city reopened and orders disappeared, Bolas saw an influx of guests returning to the restaurant. But now he faces a big challenge. Kitchen staff to meet growing demand.

“Unfortunately, the labor pool is still like a labor puddle,” he said.

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The National Restaurant Association reports that the pandemic has destroyed the hospitality industry, which lost 2.5 million jobs in 2020.

The restaurant created jobs in 2021, but the unemployment rate for restaurant workers is still above the national average. However, despite the unemployment rate in the hospitality industry, many restaurants are still struggling to find workers.

According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly half of establishments are operating with 20% fewer staff than usual.

In addition, jobs in accommodation and food services reached nearly one million in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It was argued that the shortage of employees in restaurants would continue, but some pointed to the strengthening of unemployment benefits.

“If you talk to restaurant owners, you will say that many employees make more money by making them stay home,” said Deloitte, Chicago, the leader in restaurants and foodservice in the United States. said Jean Chic.

But others have blamed the systematic problems that have plagued the restaurant industry for years.

“Stores that want to continue the old model of unhappiness, low wages and poor working conditions have the most difficulty recruiting staff,” said Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a nonprofit advocating the restaurants. Said Theophilo Reyes, Head of Programs. Worker.

Leaving the industry

While the pandemic has exacerbated labor shortages, employee shortages in restaurants were a problem before the coronavirus, Bolas said.

In Nashville, restaurateurs faced fierce competition for talent and hailed the proliferation of new facilities. According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, 112 new restaurants, bars and cafes opened in 2019, with more than 100 restaurants opening for the third year in a row.

“Over the past 26 years, this has been perhaps the most difficult employment period of the past two years,” Bolas said.

Nashville isn’t the only city facing a tough hotel job market before the pandemic.

Ben Ellsworth, Founder and CEO of GigPro, an on-demand recruiting app based in Charleston, South Carolina, said, “We have been living in what the press has been calling the ‘hospitality talent crisis’ for over. a decade. I go.

The University of Charleston estimates that after years of battling labor shortages, Charleston restaurants cut 65% of the city’s 28,000 restaurant workers by mid-April 2020, the year last 3 turned into dismissal on the moon.

When workers rushed their bills, many sought work elsewhere. According to Ellsworth, some employees have found high-paying jobs at landscaping and construction companies.

Before the pandemic, experienced cooks in Charleston were making $ 15 or $ 16 an hour. He said it’s easy to see why some workers are out of the industry, as one-bedroom apartments are rented in the area for over $ 1,000 a month.

Health risks also affect labor shortages as many workers are unable to return to work safely, said William Dissen, executive chef and owner of Haymaker in Charlotte, North Carolina. . ..

Restaurant workers, especially those working in small kitchens, are vulnerable during a pandemic. Line managers may have had the highest worker death rates between March and October 2020, according to a study from the University of California at San Francisco.

I’ve had a lot of trouble since I got back to 75% and 100% and restarted. We advertise almost every day.

Guillaume Disen

Executive chef and restaurateur

According to Ellsworth, exhausted restaurant workers may have taken the opportunity to pursue other career options after being laid off en masse across the country, Ellsworth said.

According to a survey of 2,000 cooks from the shipping company Mis En Place, more than a quarter of kitchen workers have left the industry altogether. Some workers cited relatively low wages and long working hours as reasons for retiring.

However, a third of those polled are looking for the right opportunity (20%), concerns about the novel coronavirus (7%), unemployment benefits or stimulus checks (6%), and much more. He said he was planning to return home for some reason, but has yet to return.

Recruitment application on demand

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently lifted the regulation, but many owners were unable to operate The Market Place restaurant in Asheville, NC and Billy Deeds in Asheville, NC. ・Mr. Disen, who owns fried chicken, mentioned.

Restaurant owners often rely on Craigslist to find workers, but they haven’t responded enough to meet growing demand these days, he says.

“Since we got back to 75% and 100% and restarted, we’ve really struggled,” said Disen. “I advertise almost every day.

As the industry continues to grapple with the growing labor shortage, Disssen is relying on its on-demand recruiting app, GigPro, to serve temporary needs such as cooks and dishwashers.

“It was really great for our business [in Charlotte] So that we can fill the void when we need it, ”he said.

Managers may offer higher wages to last-minute employees. For example, if the typical hourly wage for a dishwasher is in the range of $ 15 an hour, GigPro may offer to pay $ 20 an hour, Disen said.

“Within five minutes of the post, our restaurant concerts were literally full,” he said.

According to Bolas, who hired a few employees from the app, the app allows managers and workers to try shifts together before hiring.

“They have a chance to shine and a chance to leave,” he said.

Disadvantages of on-demand adoption apps

However, workers’ supporters say hiring-on-demand apps can have some drawbacks.

“The biggest downside is that you are treated like an independent contractor,” Reyes said. “This means that it is not subject to some labor protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act. “

Another potential downside could be an increased risk of racism or sexism based on employee profile photos in the app, he said.

“I think it’s definitely something to watch,” Reyes said.

This type of application is still in its infancy and I believe it has the potential to revolutionize the way we work.

Matt bowls

The chef 404

“Recognize” in the restaurant industry

Still, some restaurateurs say hiring and changing hiring processes can be a good thing.

“This type of app is still in its infancy and I think it has the potential to revolutionize the way we work,” says Bolus.

Another trend in the hiring process is providing applicants with money to go for the interview, Chick said.

“It’s the conservator’s responsibility to get the job and sell it, as they say, ‘I’m actually going to give you $ 50 in cash to get them to come to maintenance,'” she said. declared.

Some hiring managers notice changes in the dynamics between owners and employees as they test new recruiting strategies.

“I think the restaurant industry has had sort of a reputation,” Disen said.

When a restaurant is considering launching, he said, there may be several steps to attempting “fair competition” between owners and employees.

But he admits that depending on the long-term debt, the products sold, and the amount of wages paid to employees, it will be different from restaurant to restaurant.

“There are a lot of deep questions and I think it’s probably a sleepless night trying to figure out what the answer is,” Disen said. “But it’s a way to survive for the future. I think.”

Restaurants Seek On-Demand Recruiting Apps Because Labor Costs Are Tight

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