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Always Hiring - Restaurants In Crisis (2022).pdf

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Always Hiring - Restaurants In Crisis (2022)
Twenty-five-year-old Rebekah is from the western suburbs of Chicago. She’s been in
the restaurant industry for over ten years now and still currently works part time shifts at night.
Oftentimes, the restaurant industry is connoted as a stepping stone in life. For teenagers and
college students, hosting and serving part-time is an easy summer gig to make quick cash. What
they fail to mention, is that for many, the restaurant industry is a livelihood.
Without higher education and certification, it has become increasingly harder to leave the
industry. “I’ve had so many job interviews and looked for so many jobs that don’t pay a livable
wage. It has forced me to keep two part-time jobs that still don’t make ends meet,” says
Rebekah. In her experience in search of a new job and in attempts to negotiate with potential
employers for higher wages, with a heavy heart she expresses, “I’ve been laughed at and ghosted
because of how ‘much’ I’ve asked for”. The increase in wage is a negotiated two to three dollar
increase.
These job searches were in an attempt to leave the restaurant industry, in search of a
more stable occupation – searches that proved for the most part, fruitless. The restaurant
industry has always proved itself as a gamble. Weather, holidays, and seasonal times of the year
all impact how much hospitality workers can make. Money that many of these individuals use
to pay their bills, feed their families, and keep a roof over their heads. With the impact of the
COVID-19 pandemic, the feared anxieties became deafeningly real. In-door dining was shut
down and many restaurants faced the threat of foreclosure. For those who made their income on
tips over hourly wages, they were forced into an entirely new reality. What was already an
unpredictable and unstable form of income met its demise. That’s why for people like Rebekah,
the thought of returning full-time to the hospitality industry churns their stomachs.
Not only were the workers and staff rattled by the pandemic, but business owners and
staff regularly involved in and committed to the hospitality industry faced entirely new set
backs. Kimberly Weiss, owner and full-time manager of Old Towne Pub Wasco, has shared that
it has become increasingly common to take “desperate measures in order to staff.” In terms of
the pandemic, “[w]hen you made restaurants lay off their employees not once, but twice, they
found other lines of work. [The] only applications we get are college and highschool aged
kids,” says Weiss. The hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, is facing a national
crisis in terms of staffing. “The restaurant industry is lacking due to the shutdown and people
demanding to be able to work from home. I also think we are struggling due to hours that don’t
accommodate everyday life,” Kim further explained.
The National Restaurant Association lists that the restaurant industry sales in 2021 were
“down $65 billion from 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.” Sal Galioto, Regional & Area Director of
Finance for the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel was one of the few employees who witnessed
the industry entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic, from forced layoffs in staff, to present day.
“[A]s an industry we lost quality folks who found other careers or simply were afraid to return to
hospitality. Here we sit a full year later and panic has subsided, but the loss of quality team
members has not returned,” says Mr. Galioto. The hospitality industry was one of the first
industries to be heavily hit by the pandemic, and one of the last to fully recover. In an interview
with Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, voiced that the
experience of staffing shortages is not location based, but is a nationwide occurrence, affecting
all industries and businesses. He is confident that the hospitality industry, along with restaurants
will make a full recovery with given time. From a business perspective, Toia concluded that
beyond the effects of the pandemic, staffing shortages specifically in the restaurant industry are
due to a lack of immigrants coming in and out of the U.S. “Immigrants are the backbone to the
restaurant industry,” said Toia. Before the start of the Trump administration in 2017, the U.S saw
over 1 million immigrants coming into the country per year. During Trump’s presidency, these
numbers were cut significantly lower. Toia voiced a goal at large is to gain working visas for new
immigrants to find work in the industry, similar to ones already issued for those in agricultural
work positions.
Waiting for all necessary votes from Congress to change immigration laws is a waiting
game however, and can take time. Much of the future of the hospitality industry is in the hands
of future generations. Restaurants, hotels, and the like will continue to open and close. They
will always foreseeably exist. Under what terms and conditions, and how survivable these
work forces are will be up to future generations taking over the workforce. Even now, in
attempts to regain regular staffing levels within hotels and the industry, Mr. Galioto has shared
that they, “have tried everything including boosting referral bonuses to [their] current team.
Hospitality is not a trained profession but a passion one must have and it appears that today’s
general applicants do not share the passion for what it takes in this industry.” The industry is
entirely in the hands of the future. Even presently, short staffing causes longer hours, higher
stress, and quicker burnout to currently existing staff. In Sal’s final mention in his interview,
he said, “we all need to realize that staff are being burned out and without virtually hugging
them everyday and providing assistance and quality of life we will have destroyed our industry
forever.” Business hours will continue to open. But the question remains, will it ever be the
same?

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Always Hiring - Restaurants In Crisis (2022).pdf

  • 1. Always Hiring - Restaurants In Crisis (2022) Twenty-five-year-old Rebekah is from the western suburbs of Chicago. She’s been in the restaurant industry for over ten years now and still currently works part time shifts at night. Oftentimes, the restaurant industry is connoted as a stepping stone in life. For teenagers and college students, hosting and serving part-time is an easy summer gig to make quick cash. What they fail to mention, is that for many, the restaurant industry is a livelihood. Without higher education and certification, it has become increasingly harder to leave the industry. “I’ve had so many job interviews and looked for so many jobs that don’t pay a livable wage. It has forced me to keep two part-time jobs that still don’t make ends meet,” says Rebekah. In her experience in search of a new job and in attempts to negotiate with potential employers for higher wages, with a heavy heart she expresses, “I’ve been laughed at and ghosted because of how ‘much’ I’ve asked for”. The increase in wage is a negotiated two to three dollar increase. These job searches were in an attempt to leave the restaurant industry, in search of a more stable occupation – searches that proved for the most part, fruitless. The restaurant industry has always proved itself as a gamble. Weather, holidays, and seasonal times of the year all impact how much hospitality workers can make. Money that many of these individuals use to pay their bills, feed their families, and keep a roof over their heads. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the feared anxieties became deafeningly real. In-door dining was shut down and many restaurants faced the threat of foreclosure. For those who made their income on tips over hourly wages, they were forced into an entirely new reality. What was already an unpredictable and unstable form of income met its demise. That’s why for people like Rebekah, the thought of returning full-time to the hospitality industry churns their stomachs.
  • 2. Not only were the workers and staff rattled by the pandemic, but business owners and staff regularly involved in and committed to the hospitality industry faced entirely new set backs. Kimberly Weiss, owner and full-time manager of Old Towne Pub Wasco, has shared that it has become increasingly common to take “desperate measures in order to staff.” In terms of the pandemic, “[w]hen you made restaurants lay off their employees not once, but twice, they found other lines of work. [The] only applications we get are college and highschool aged kids,” says Weiss. The hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, is facing a national crisis in terms of staffing. “The restaurant industry is lacking due to the shutdown and people demanding to be able to work from home. I also think we are struggling due to hours that don’t accommodate everyday life,” Kim further explained. The National Restaurant Association lists that the restaurant industry sales in 2021 were “down $65 billion from 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.” Sal Galioto, Regional & Area Director of Finance for the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel was one of the few employees who witnessed the industry entirely during the COVID-19 pandemic, from forced layoffs in staff, to present day. “[A]s an industry we lost quality folks who found other careers or simply were afraid to return to hospitality. Here we sit a full year later and panic has subsided, but the loss of quality team members has not returned,” says Mr. Galioto. The hospitality industry was one of the first industries to be heavily hit by the pandemic, and one of the last to fully recover. In an interview with Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association, voiced that the experience of staffing shortages is not location based, but is a nationwide occurrence, affecting all industries and businesses. He is confident that the hospitality industry, along with restaurants will make a full recovery with given time. From a business perspective, Toia concluded that beyond the effects of the pandemic, staffing shortages specifically in the restaurant industry are
  • 3. due to a lack of immigrants coming in and out of the U.S. “Immigrants are the backbone to the restaurant industry,” said Toia. Before the start of the Trump administration in 2017, the U.S saw over 1 million immigrants coming into the country per year. During Trump’s presidency, these numbers were cut significantly lower. Toia voiced a goal at large is to gain working visas for new immigrants to find work in the industry, similar to ones already issued for those in agricultural work positions. Waiting for all necessary votes from Congress to change immigration laws is a waiting game however, and can take time. Much of the future of the hospitality industry is in the hands of future generations. Restaurants, hotels, and the like will continue to open and close. They will always foreseeably exist. Under what terms and conditions, and how survivable these work forces are will be up to future generations taking over the workforce. Even now, in attempts to regain regular staffing levels within hotels and the industry, Mr. Galioto has shared that they, “have tried everything including boosting referral bonuses to [their] current team. Hospitality is not a trained profession but a passion one must have and it appears that today’s general applicants do not share the passion for what it takes in this industry.” The industry is entirely in the hands of the future. Even presently, short staffing causes longer hours, higher stress, and quicker burnout to currently existing staff. In Sal’s final mention in his interview, he said, “we all need to realize that staff are being burned out and without virtually hugging them everyday and providing assistance and quality of life we will have destroyed our industry forever.” Business hours will continue to open. But the question remains, will it ever be the same?