Fast-casual kitchen work and training rebounding

Coming out of 2020, few restaurant types were better prepared for the new normal than quick-service and fast-casual, with their streamlined menus, prominent digital presence, and natural inclination towards off-premises consumption.

Sales in these restaurants are trending up, and it appears they are also rebounding fairly well from the labour constraints of the last year.

A recent report from 7shifts found that the average amount of sales per day in 2022 for quick-serve and fast-casual restaurants is around $4,680.20, 22 per cent higher than the same period last year. Over the course of a year, that’s a difference of doing nearly $1.4 million in sales to more than $1.7 million.

Those increased sales are being reflected in the labour figures, too, although staffing still remains considerably below pre-pandemic levels.

7shifts notes there are an estimated half a million fewer roles than there were in 2019, and the roles that still exist are becoming harder to fill, as the workforce has shrunk.

Overall, while the labour productivity and the average amount spent on labour remain virtually unchanged, significant changes have been seen in both in the total number of labour hours per day and labour costs in relation to sales.

Labour hours per day are up from an average of 62.96 hours in 2021 to 76.13 hours in 2022, a 20.91 per cent increase. However, despite this and the average cost of labour remaining static, labour as a percentage of sales has seen a five-point decrease — which is explained by larger sales numbers.

However, looking more closely at specific roles reveals a rosier picture.

In the kitchen, with roles titled line or kitchen have surged in growth by a whopping 183 per cent and 95 per cent, respectively.

Other back-of-house roles that are seeing growth include grill (22 per cent), dishwasher (48 per cent), and prep (19.8 per cent). This is perhaps reflective of the fact that as digital ordering and delivery, have grown hugely over the course of the pandemic, for many fast-casual restaurants, there is less reliance on more front-of-house roles, with the brunt of the work being shifted to the kitchen.

The report also illustrates the widespread effects of turnover, as roles titled trainee or training have grown substantially compared to last year, up 130 per cent and 79 per cent, respectively.

In stark contrast, some roles seen significant decreases, the most significant being delivery, down 42 per cent, and driver, down 21 per cent. This could be indicative of the fact that the need for in-house delivery staff is less than it used to be due to the prevalence of third-party delivery services like DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats.

The report was based on internal 7shifts platform data from over 18,000 restaurant locations and 500,000 restaurant employees and users across the world, more than 90 per cent of which were from North America.

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