Swimming in a Shrinking Labor Pool - Restaurant Edition

The challenges of a shrinking labor pool for restaurant owners

According to the U.S. Department of Labor the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 18 years.  While this may be a welcomed statistic in many households, the adverse effect of a low unemployment rate and shrinking work force presents some unique challenges for restaurant owners and operators across the country.

Finding, recruiting and retaining skilled restaurant employees can be a difficult and time consuming process, that can also be costly to your operation. As consumers continue to demand the perfect dining experience,  the quality of staff can have a far-reaching impact on daily operations, business growth and the bottom line at all levels of the food service industry.

A shrinking labor pool and growing job market means restaurant owners, operators and managers will have to take a close look at how they will stand out to new job seekers while retaining their current work force.

Retaining valuable trained restaurant staff & attracting high quality employees:
  1. Engage- Treat all staff as if they are principal shareholders in the business
    Openly sharing the goals, challenges and successes of your operation with staff will build trust and provide a deeper purpose for their efforts. Create and communicate a clear mission to all staff.
  2. Empower: Train Staff to address and overcome daily challenges with each other and customers
     Consider active listing training for all staff members. Also, conflict resolution and negotiation training commonly used in FBI hostage situations can have a profound impact on both customer satisfaction and work place harmony.
  3. Enlighten: Educate all staff on all subjects in their restaurant
    Train front of the house staff on back of the house responsibilities and vice versa. From customer service and wine pairings to the food preparation and food safety. A deeper understanding of how each department functions and how they overlap will build appreciation across department lines.      
  4. Lighten-Up: Food service can be a highly stressful undertaking
    Try to lighten the stress involved in food service, schedule an off-campus event or an internal contest or giveaway. Use time saving measures and products to help staff feel motivated, effective and efficient.

Employees should be the most valued asset in any organization. Investing in their training and happiness will pay dividends in retention and customer experience. Staying afloat in a shrinking labor pool will not be easy but providing a better workplace will keep you head and shoulders above the competition.


Plascon provides many labor-saving packaging options that can help your restaurant gain efficiency in production. From cook chill and sous vide packaging to Saftea® Liner iced tea urn liners, we have the knowledge and experience to recommend products to help your restaurant succeed and optimize the time spent in preparing and serving food and beverages for both your employees and patrons alike. 

 Contact us to learn more about our packaging options:

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