The Upsetting Reason So Many Restaurant Workers Are Leaving The Industry

If you thought the summer had a labor crisis, get ready. Restaurant Business has relayed the findings of a survey conducted by Joblist which found that 58% of restaurant and hotel employees plan on quitting in the remaining months of 2021. This does not include the 16% who said they have already done so. Researchers have a name for this mass departure: "The Great Resignation."

Of course, the researchers looked into why workers might want to quit. Some insight might be gained from the 25% of ex-employees who have no intention of returning to the industry. The reasons they gave – in descending order dissatisfaction – were low pay, the lack of benefits, and difficult customers. However, NPR reported in July that another survey found that among people who quit, more than half would refuse to return to the hospitality industry regardless of what they were paid. For them, the work environment was too hectic, and customers treated employees too poorly. On Reddit, food service workers have shared horror stories of being harassed and attacked, experiences that prompted some to quit.

According to Business Insider, 62% of restaurant workers surveyed told Black Box Intelligence that they endured abuse from customers and 49% said the same about their managers. It's almost as if the waves of viral videos about customers insulting and assaulting employees came from an ocean of terrible working conditions.

How some employees might be convinced not to quit

Some owners who are faced with such a lack of interest in their employment opportunities tend to say that it's because people have no desire to work. For example, this TikTok video shows a sign at a McDonald's begging patience for any disruptions because "no one wants to work anymore."

However, both Restaurant Business and Business Insider include the caveats in the surveys. Namely, there are workers willing to be won over. In the Joblist survey, about one in three said they would consider staying if the employer addressed the overall issues pushing them to leave. Of those talking to Black Box Intelligence, 66% said they might return if there were higher pay, consistent schedules, and overall improvement to the work environment.

Of course, reconsidering does not mean that they would return, But, presumably, if businesses addressed these concerns in a way that was deemed adequate, fewer workers would leave in the future anyway. However, based on the complaints, these changes sound unlikely to happen. So we might have to resign ourselves to the Great Resignation looming on the horizon.