- Hiring at independent restaurants hit a six-month high in March, with 61% of operators actively hiring permanent and temporary employees compared to 50% in February, according to Alignable data.
- In addition to seeking full-time employees, 33% of independent operators told Alignable they hired part-time employees in March, up 9% compared to February.
- This hiring push reflects broader trends, as 62% of restaurant operators don’t have enough staff to support current demand, per the National Restaurant Association's State of the Restaurant Industry 2023 report.
Restaurants and the foodservice industry are expected to add about 500,000 jobs this year, according to NRA’s report. In March, foodservice businesses and drinking places increased employment by 50,000, according the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared to December, when the industry had roughly 12.1 billion employees, employment is up to roughly 12.3 billion as of March, with the sector adding about 192,000 jobs since the end of the year.
The restaurant market ended 2020 with 3.2 million fewer employees than at the start of that year, so the segment has been struggling to maintain operations while being largely understaffed. About 67% of operators said their restaurants are more than 10% below necessary staffing levels, while roughly a quarter said they are 20% below desired staffing levels, according to NRA’s data.
Back-of-house positions remain the most difficult to fill, with 83% of family dining operators, 85% of casual operations and 84% of fine dining operators saying adding kitchen staff has been among the most difficult roles to hire for.
This could be one of the reasons why part-time, temporary employment is up in Alignable’s data. Restaurant’s 61% hiring rate consisted of 28% full-time employees, while 33% were part-time, temporary workers.