The Surprising Restaurant Problem Caused By The Labor Shortage

Now that many dining restrictions are being lifted, with some restaurants even opening at full capacity, everyone is flocking to their favorite neighborhood joint to have the dine-in experience that was absent for much of last year.

However, this desire to eat out again has not been timed nicely — with restaurants across the nation experiencing a worker shortage. This might be due to employees reconsidering working customer-facing roles in the midst of the pandemic and turning to jobs with potentially better pay and benefits.

Working in the restaurant industry doesn't come without its trials and tribulations, even before a global pandemic. Now, as NBC News reported in March, the United States is seeing a record number of open job listings — up by as much as 23.4% compared to before the pandemic. To keep up with demand, chains have gone to extreme lengths with hiring events and incentives to try to attract back workers.

Now, as a result of the labor shortage, you can find yourself waiting for up to 90 minutes for a table at a restaurant.

You might see longer wait times while dining out

The consequences of this labor shortage hurt both restaurant owners and their customers, respectively. As restaurants begin to open back up again after a year of restrictions and closures, long wait times can deter potential customers from returning for a second visit.

Furthermore, as we all know, securing a table with a large group of people is always difficult — this was the case even prior to the pandemic (via Inside Scoop SF). Now, with more people wanting to catch up with their friends and family over a meal and drink, this challenge is escalated by the labor shortage.

Families with young children are also impacted when eating out, often having to deal with long wait times in order to sit together or choosing between splitting, which sometimes yields the same long wait time, according to the MSN article. That was the case with Jon O'Brien, who faced extended wait times for a family dinner in Pennsylvania before just deciding to just dine at home.

Hopefully, the predictions of celebrity chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri hold true, in that restaurants will "adapt and overcome," and wait times become shorter overtime.