For restaurant staffing, a lot of talk has been centered around the labor shortage—and who isn't working. But what about the people that have been clocking in throughout the pandemic? How have the types and frequency of shifts changed from 2019 until today?
To find out, we analyzed the types of shifts scheduled and time clocking data from over 13,000 restaurant locations in North America and Canada. To account for a large increase in permanent, pandemic-related closures, we only analyzed restaurants that have remained open from 2019 through 2021.
Here's what we found:
What Shifts Increased from 2019 to 2021?
The way in which shifts changed paints a picture of an industry in flux. In adapting to sweeping changes in service and pandemic restrictions, roles are changing dramatically.
Notable increases in shifts schedules for Back of House Manager (125%), Dish/Prep (117%),Cook (111%) and notably, Driver (85%) are indicative of the shift towards off-premise dining brought upon by the pandemic. Even as dining rooms have reopened, the habit of pick-up and delivery has stuck, and restaurants have to adapt by staffing up on back of house roles.
Another change in service style has been the ubiquity of outdoor dining and patio season, which has extended beyond the warmer months into a year-round affair in many cities. We've seen a 77% increase in patio roles, likely due to the extension of patio season and prevalence of outdoor dining.
The Impact of the Labor Shortage
The labor shortage creates the challenge of filling enough shifts, and according to our data gathered from time clocking software, Owners and Shift Managers are picking up the slack, with their number of scheduled shifts increasing by 127% and 121%, respectively.
On the flip side, the number of shifts scheduled for “Training” has increased by 120%, indicating that while leadership is picking up the slack, new hires are coming on at a higher rate than 2019. This is due to a number of factors, but excess turnover from the pandemic is certainly a big one.
Lastly, the increase in the shifts for Crew Members of 111% indicates two things: cross-training employees across roles is increasing popular, and restaurant owners are turning to generic, do-it-all roles to fill the gaps in scheduling.
What Shifts Decreased/ Minimal Increases From 2019 to 2021?
In looking at the shifts with marginal increases, or even decreases, we can learn about where the industry is going, too.
Just up 4%, the role of busser hasn't seen a huge impact, indicating that the number of diners eating in hasn't increased.
The role of Captain has seen zero change, and front counter roles are down 6%—indicating that the effects of dining restrictions and increased volume off-premise are showing signs of permanence.
Another role of note — Banquet Server — is down a whopping 35%, indicating that large banquets are happening much, much less than they were in 2019.
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D. J. Costantino
Hi! I'm D.J., 7shifts' resident Content Writer. I come from a family of chefs and have a background in food journalism. I'm always looking for ways to help make the restaurant industry better!