THE LABOR CRISIS – HELP IS ON THE WAY!
The labor crisis is more than obvious. The contributing factors are open to debate. Is it the fear of Covid (from working indoors and/or being in close contact with customers and other employees), the need to stay home with the kids who are not back in school full time, or the lack of urgency (thanks to government assistance) to earn the dollars that will balance the family budget.
Here’s a data point for you. Call it “anecdotal”, not statistically relevant, but FWIW: On the conference call of an Indiana based restaurant chain, the CEO reported:
“…the labor shortage is real, but the causes grossly misrepresented….”
“…the hourly workforce in restaurants is and always has been in large part transitory and part time. A significant percentage of these part time folks work for extra household income, extra spending money, for income while they’re attending college or for any other reasons. However, when you flood the economy with stimulus checks, monthly unemployment bonuses, extra food assistance debit cards, IRS refunds and the elimination of rent eviction, a lot of incentive to work part time for extra cash is eliminated.”
Here’s the data point:
“Indiana had opted out of the additional government unemployment bonus payments, which resulted in an immediate resurgence of applications at our restaurants, but this was quickly squashed when the court challenges reversed that decision.”
The following conclusion is the hope for the industry.
“With the federal program set to expire in September, we’re hoping that the labor market revives some after Labor Day”.
Call it anecdotal, just one CEO’s opinion. You can recoup the higher wage rates, as you must, with higher menu prices, but you can’t get that far without a kitchen and service crew. Sounds like relief from that standpoint is not far away.