- Executives and analysts say that a “war for talent” is sweeping the restaurant industry and creating massive problems.
- Chains like Dunkin’ Donuts are struggling to fill positions, with some brands falling short of sales goals due to labor shortages.
- With unemployment low and a plethora of alternative jobs available, chains are scrambling to find a way to hire workers and convince them not to quit.
The restaurant industry is battling to keep kitchens full and tables served as chains struggle to find people willing to work.
“I do believe moving forward the biggest challenge in the industry is going to be the war for talent,” Gene Lee, the CEO of Olive Garden parent company Darden, said in a recent call with investors.
Lee isn’t alone in his concerns. Dunkin’ Donuts executives have been discussing the problem for years, with former CEO Nigel Travis saying that a franchisee told him he could only fill 60% of the positions he needed.
Analysts are also calling a lack of employees one of the biggest problems in the restaurant industry today.
“You’ve got an environment where, really, the economy is strong,” BTIG analyst Peter Saleh told Business Insider. “People are trading up into better jobs. There aren’t as many employees or capable employees to do the jobs these companies need.”
Unemployment is low, at 3.9% in August. Despite the tight labor market, restaurants still rely on workers to wait on customers, make food, clean locations, and much more. If positions cannot be filled with qualified employees, it is difficult for executives’ big-picture strategies to actually succeed.
“For some brands, it’s actually capping…