The hospitality industry took a significant hit following COVID-19, with many establishments still struggling with the restaurant worker shortage in 2022. The global pandemic forced most restaurants, eateries, and fast-food joints to either lay off workers or shut down altogether. 

As the world recovers from the effects of the virus, restaurant worker shortage still exists in the industry. Dealing with a short-staffed restaurant can be hectic for restaurateurs and a terrible experience for diners. 

Fortunately, we have a few fail-proof mitigations to help those still struggling with the restaurant labor shortage in 2022. Here are the solutions:

Why Is There a Restaurant Labor Shortage?

Before finding answers to the current restaurant labor shortage, you need to understand what is causing the deficit in the first place.

Here’s why you are still struggling with the restaurant worker shortage in 2022:

Health concerns

The pandemic is one of the primary reasons for the current restaurant worker shortage, with many establishments furloughing staff or shutting down in compliance with government directives. Some restaurant workers decide to resign from work for personal and family health reasons and avoid the risks associated with the virus.

Poor recruitment

The global pandemic is not the only factor causing restaurant labor shortages. Poor recruitment is another underlying issue leading to short-staffed restaurants. Most dining establishments hire inexperienced workers because they do not advertise vacancies on the appropriate platforms. Recruitment does not have to be complex and expensive as you can use banners and custom labels to inform potential employees.

Low wages and benefits

Apart from tips, restaurant workers need incentives such as sign-on bonuses, paid time off, and shift meals to become more competitive and stay on the job longer. Poor remuneration and lack of benefits can lead to a shortage of fast-food workers and restaurant staff. Consider better pay and benefits for your employees to keep them happy and engaged.

Disrespectful customers

Bad customers are another reason you are probably still struggling with the restaurant labor shortage in 2022. Some diners can be disrespectful to servers and other restaurant staff, forcing your employees to quit because of the toxic work environment. Consider printing and sticking a few polite notices in your eatery to remind customers to be courteous when interacting with your restaurant staff.

5 Top Solutions to Mitigate Restaurant Labor Shortage

Now that you know some of the leading causes of restaurant worker shortage in 2022, it’s time to discuss the solutions.

Spread the Word

Most customers won’t know about your restaurant worker shortage unless you inform them. Consider spreading the word using flyers and printouts to help lower your customers’ expectations whenever they visit your short-staffed restaurant. Notify your clients that they might have to wait longer than anticipated because of the labor shortage.

Even though customers hate waiting for long hours for their orders to be ready, informing them in advance that you have a can help build an understanding. Many guests understand the current situation despite your challenges and would be willing to revisit your short-staffed restaurant.

Consider Automation

Automating your business operations can help deal with the current restaurant worker shortage. Embracing technology can boost efficiency and enhance productivity, especially when dealing with labor shortages. After all, technology is now available to handle simple tasks such as customer reservations, food ordering, and bill payments without requiring human intervention. You won’t need more staff if most of your business operations are automated, making life easier for your current employees.

Design a Smaller Menu

If you are operating a short-staffed restaurant, designing a smaller menu can help reduce the workload on your current staff. Analyze your menu items to identify the most popular dishes and purge out the slow-moving ones, particularly those that entail multiple cooking steps. You can always revert once you deal with the restaurant labor shortage. Ensure you enlist a professional printer to design and print out your new reduced menu to maintain the theme of the current menu.

Set Up a Ghost Kitchen

If you are overwhelmed by the restaurant labor shortage to the extent that you cannot serve guests at your establishment, consider setting up a ghost kitchen. This kitchen is for delivery-only and takeout meals, so you don’t have to fret about your restaurant’s dining capacity and your staff’s ability to handle guests. With this arrangement, you only need to hire temporary staff to deliver ordered meals to customers. Ensure the food packaging has tamper-proof labels for enhanced safety and quality assurance.

Offer Better Employee Benefits and Pay

You might be experiencing a restaurant labor shortage because of poor remuneration. Your employees deserve better pay to make them more competitive and productive. Adding benefits and bonuses will go a long way to keep your staff happy and engaged and prevent possible restaurant worker shortages in the future.

Keri Smith is the president of Dot It, a single-source brand partner specializing in labels, print, and fulfillment solutions. Visit us online at to read more articles written by Dot It or follow us on Twitter at @DotItNation

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