Labor Savings

Foodservice Labor Trends: 2021 Update from the National Restaurant Association

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The National Restaurant Association just released its 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report. As expected, a vast majority of the report focused on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Key findings include the restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020, and as of December 1, 2020, more than 100,000 food and beverage establishments have closed for business either temporarily, or in some cases for good.

The third key finding deals with labor. According to the NRA, the eating and drinking place sector finished the year down nearly 2.5 million jobs when compared to pre-COVID employment levels.

"Amid an ever-changing landscape of dining restrictions and widespread closures, restaurants found ways to adapt, keep people employed, and safely serve our guests," said Tom Bené, President and CEO of the NRA. "While we still have a long way to go, we are confident in the resilience of the industry's workforce, operators, suppliers, and diners."

Before the current pandemic, the foodservice industry was expected to provide 15.6 million jobs representing 10 percent of all payroll jobs in the United States. These numbers have reduced over the course of 2020 for obvious reasons.

Full-service restaurants were some of the hardest hit. Many operators describe staffing levels at more than 20 percent below normal, with 62 percent of fine-dining operators and 54 percent of family and casual dining reporting this type of reduction.

As a result, the 16- to 34-year-old demographic has been the hardest hit; the most prominent age group in the restaurant industry workforce. There are nearly two million fewer employees in this range.

The struggles aren't just for the workforce, though. Operators are also looking at challenges as they relate to labor. In pre-pandemic times, it was often difficult to find and retain great staff members. Today, operators are simply looking for ways to support staff and keep them employed.

For staff that is still working, it's critical for operators to make them as efficient as possible in order to help eat away at lost revenues caused by closures, restrictions, and reduced dining loads. Streamlining processes is a big part of that equation.

Here's a possible solution for making the most out of your restaurant staff.

Streamlining or implementing new processes can depend on the equipment being used. We've gone into details about the power of blast chilling and how it can help with labor, but we'd like to offer you some additional guidance that might help you determine if blast chilling or shock freezing is right for you.

Blast Chiller/Shock Freezer Assessment Sheet

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