According to data from the U.S. National Restaurant Association cited by a press release, the industry has a shortage of over one million workers compared to pre-pandemic times. In dangerous contrast, according to the release, OpenTable data shows dining is up 30 per cent from pre-pandemic levels as of September, and statistics from Indeed show job postings in the food industries have increased by nearly 40 per cent since February 2020.
In order to help close that perilous gap, the two companies are launching the Interview Days: Restaurant Jobs initiative in October. Beginning Friday, October 1, the program will run for the entire month and offer free online tools to help restaurateurs find workers and interview them.
An additional portal will also empower job seekers to discover open positions and access resources to help them succeed in their job search in the restaurant industry, according to a press release.
“It has been an extraordinarily hard time for local restaurant and foodservice businesses,” Raj Mukherjee, SVP and GM of SMB at Indeed, said in the release. “When the pandemic hit last year, many had to shut down or significantly reduce operations. Now as they reopen and more people want to return to in-person dining, local restaurants and foodservice employers are struggling to hire enough qualified workers to meet the consumer demand that will help them rebuild.
“With this hiring initiative, we want to help employers navigate the current labour market, using our resources to highlight their open roles and to help them hire job seekers interested in careers in the industry.”
Debby Soo, CEO, OpenTable, added: “Throughout the pandemic, we focused our energy on tech solutions to help our partners survive and navigate changing protocols, but now, we need to bring awareness to the labour shortage. Staffing is one of the most pressing challenges facing restaurants today – we’re excited to partner with Indeed to help restaurants overcome this latest obstacle on their road to recovery.”
The labour shortage has been attributed to myriad factors including lengthy industry closures, historically low wage competitiveness in the kitchen, insecurity, and health fears, among others, restaurants are finding trouble hiring workers as foot traffic and diner demand rebounds strongly.