Restaurant Recovery Loses Valuable Momentum
Dining-in was less common in September compared to last year. Food and drink establishments gained only 29,000 jobs in September, meaning restaurants are still 1 million jobs shy of where they were prior to the pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In September, 11.38 million were on payroll, up only slightly from 11.35 million in August. From January to July, employment in food services and drinking places saw an average monthly gain of 197,000, but the industry lost roughly 25,000 in August (revised from a loss of 41,500 in the previous report). A National Restaurant Association Survey of 4,000 restaurant operators found that 81 percent of full-service operators and 75 percent of quick-service leaders believe their restaurants don’t have enough employees to meet demand. As a result, 68 percent reduced hours of operation in the past three months, 46 percent cut back on menu items, 45 percent closed on days they’d normally be open, and 44 percent reduced seating capacity.
Brace Yourself for a Mass Exodus of Employees
More than half the wage earners currently working in the hospitality business are planning to quit. Restaurants struggling to hold onto their employees are about to hit by a major setback, according to new research. A survey of 13,659 wage earners by the online job marketplace Joblist revealed that 58% of restaurant and hotel employees intend to quit their jobs by the end of the year, stoking what the researchers have dubbed The Great Resignation. If the pattern set by earlier quitters persists, a fourth of the workers will leave the hospitality industry for good. The employees who intend to bail are in addition to the 16% of industry respondents who indicated they’re already no longer working. The overall driver is the individuals’ dwindling satisfaction with their positions, the study found. The proportion of workers turned off by their hospitality jobs has doubled during the pandemic to a third of the labor force, compared with the 15% who said they were dissatisfied before the coronavirus crisis. The percentage who said they’re satisfied with their positions dropped to 42%, from a pre-pandemic benchmark of 64%.
Restaurants Place Expensive Bets
Ahead of winter outdoor dining. Restaurant owners and operators are gearing up for another winter of outdoor dining. While many had to scramble in 2020 to find tents and propane heaters, restaurateurs are adding higher-quality permanent setups for the coming winter, reported The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 7). Going even further, some are preparing for outdoor dining to become a permanent option. With more time to make arrangements than last year, restaurant owners are investing large amounts of money on what they anticipate diners will want when temperatures drop. In addition to outdoor equipment and décor, some owners are tweaking menus to offer warm, well-executed dishes and hot-themed drinks. Such plans are all a risk given what is going on in the foodservice industry, from supply shortages to a lack of workers. However, owners are betting on the creative setups being enough to lure more diners out of their homes.
Experts Worry Summer’s Robust Restaurant Industry Rebound
Was ‘an artificial sugar rush’. Over the summer it looked like the worst was over for restaurants, as diners flooded back, with reservations and sales hitting new highs. Then covid surged, again, and the rebound slowed down. New jobs numbers out Friday reinforce that idea. In September, food services and drinking establishments added just 29,000 jobs, after shedding 24,700 jobs in August, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s far lower compared with the average monthly gain of 197,000 jobs from January through July. Employment overall in the food service sector is down nearly a million jobs from pre-pandemic levels, and restaurants continue to close. Restaurant sales were flat in August compared with July, but they were still a lot higher than the same period in 2020, according to Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, overall numbers of restaurants are down by 13 percent in September, compared with the spring of 2020, according to market research firm NPD Group’s restaurant census.
Digital Dining Is Changing the Restaurant Experience
As we know it. The digital revolution has left no stone — or breadbasket — unturned. Your restaurant dining experience no longer begins when a server hands you a menu. Physical menus have been replaced with QR codes, ordering has been swallowed by digital channels, and payments have gone contactless. Last year, more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments in the U.S. closed for business — and those that managed to stay afloat during the pandemic often did so by digital means. Now that restaurants are back open, digitizing the in-person experience will be key to driving revenue, improving customer satisfaction, and building loyalty like never before. Here’s how restaurants can adapt operations, menus, teams, and marketing to win Share of Stomach.
The Next Big Restaurant Marketing Trend
You haven’t heard of. A&W Restaurants, like many in the quick-service restaurant space, found itself scrambling to make up for lost face-to-face interaction when dining rooms shuttered due to COVID-19. With limited opportunities to greet guests in person, A&W partnered with Jebbit, a digital experience and first-party data company, to launch a series of interactive quizzes in an effort to regain that personalized touch. And it helped catapult A&W to its highest growth year in nearly a decade, as systemwide sales hiked 8.5 percent. “We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our customers,” says, Spencer Barrett, digital manager at A&W. “This was an innovative strategy. We hear from lots of vendors, but the people at Jebbit were so passionate about their platform, not only was it a great fit for our business, but it was also exciting for us to work with people who are passionate about what they do.” Quizzes, or online experiences as they are sometimes called, might seem like an odd medium for a quick-service restaurant to leverage when trying to connect with diners, especially a quiz that at first glance doesn’t have anything to do with food. But, as Barrett explains, the quizzes are far more than a form of entertainment.…
2 Westfield Restaurants Face Mandatory Closures
For health code violations. Two Westfield restaurants face mandatory closures as result of sanitary code violations, officials said. Principal Health Inspector Helen Mendez told the Westfield Board of Health Monday that she inspected 1958 Cuban Cuisine Oct. 1, and the establishment did not pass. Officials also discussed violations at Sichuan Dynasty, which had previously been cited for repeat sanitary code violations. The board had last month issued a two-day closure for 1958 Cuban Cuisine due to health code violations but suspended that closure as long as the restaurant passed its future inspections. The restaurant, Mendez said, was scheduled to be closed Thursday and Friday. A message left with 1958 Cuban Cuisine seeking comment for this story Saturday was not returned. Owner Luis Perez had previously told the board that he would remedy the violations. “We’re very happy and blessed to be here,” Perez told the board last month. “And we’re not trying to cut corners. We really are not.”
NYC Outdoor Dining a ‘Huge Game-Changer’ for COVID-Hit Restaurants
As opposition grows. Summer is over, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means outdoor dining is not going away anytime soon, even as the weather gradually cools. Restaurant owners want to preserve external spaces — adopted in response to the pandemic — as more of a permanent thing, especially with the Delta variant making many patrons nervous about indoor dining. In New York City in particular, the trend exploded when public health officials shuttered dining rooms as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In response, countless sidewalk cafes and street eateries blossomed — as has the pushback from advocates who cite noise, lack of parking space and homelessness as reasons why they should be dismantled. In fact, nearly 12,000 eateries are taking place in NYC’s Open Restaurant Program initiative and about 1,200 have roadway set ups, 4,300 on the sidewalks and just over 6,000 a combo, according to data from the city’s Department of Transportation.
Did You Know?
What it really costs to eat at the world’s 50 best restaurants. This week, the highly anticipated annual list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, conducted by a panel of more than 1,000 culinary experts and sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, officially dropped. While the industry is abuzz with the news of which establishments made the list, we’ve been left wondering how much it would actually cost you to eat at one of the world’s newly crowned “top 10” restaurants. To find out, we went to each of these restaurants’ websites to see what people are paying these days for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. Keep in mind, the average American family spends between $314 to $500+ a month on groceries, depending on what region they live in, according to Business Insider. How does one night at a legendary restaurant stack up? Read on, then consult our handy list of The Best Restaurant for Cheap Eats in Every State.
A more financially stable workforce can fuel industry recovery. There’s a surge in demand for hourly workers, and restaurants nationwide are grappling with unprecedented staffing shortages. It’s even led some restaurants to temporarily shutter their doors. Recent research found this shows no sign of slowing down, as more than a third of workers don’t intend to return to the industry. Many restaurants are responding by offering higher (and higher) wages, signing bonuses, paid vacation and more. But mounting research shows some workers are looking for more than just money. In fact, Netspend surveyed more than 900 tipped workers across the restaurant, food delivery, hospitality, salon and spa industries to get a pulse on the financial impacts of COVID-19. The research showed that financial stress is at all-time highs among many segments of the workforce, and that it directly impacts retention. As restaurants look to rebuild, they should prioritize empowering a financially stable, healthy workforce with digital, on-demand access to earned wages for the following reasons…
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