[FREE DOWNLOAD] State of the Restaurant Workforce 2021

The State of the Restaurant Workforce in 2021 continues to be shaped by the ever-present staffing crisis. Much of this staffing crisis is fueled by turnover as employees seek different opportunities. Download the latest report by Black Box Intelligence that combines data from the powerful Black Box Workforce Intelligence dataset, insights from a collaborative report with Snagajob and results from the annual Total Rewards Survey for a comprehensive look at the restaurant workforce.

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Fill out the form below for your instant download. Get an overview of industry sales and traffic, then dive into myriad insights about the restaurant workforce including:


  • Staffing levels
  • Percentage of companies using pay incentives
  • Rolling 12-month turnover by segment and region
  • Cost of turnover per employee
  • Reasons for employee termination
  • Top reasons for the staffing crisis
  • Top reasons workers have left the industry
  • What restaurant workers look for in a new job
  • Wage increases
  • GM pay
  • Variable pay offerings
  • Benefits
  • and more!

Restaurants are stretched thin as they deal with unprecedented staffing shortages. Many are unable to open fully simply because they don’t have enough staff. Employees are leaving for other industries which has an impact on employee and guest satisfaction, ultimately, impacting your sales.

To attract staff, restaurant brands are getting creative with ways to get employees to show up for work or even to an interview. Still, we continue to see the staffing shortage as a critical issue for the industry with no improvement. The State of the Restaurant Workforce report unpacks the reasons behind the staffing shortage and shares what some companies are doing about it.

Is the Staffing Shortage a Result of Expanded Unemployment Benefits?

A Black Box Intelligence poll in May of 2021 revealed the vast majority of operators polled (57%) selected ‘higher pay through unemployment’ as the main driver behind the industry’s labor shortage. This report takes a look at data from the states that ended their federal unemployment benefits early to see if that is really the case.

Download the report for a breakdown of staffing levels at both limited- and full-service restaurants in Missouri and Mississippi, both states that ended their federal benefits in June.

Turnover Fuels Staffing Crisis

Turnover has long plagued the restaurant industry, and it didn’t get any easier after the pandemic. According to data by Black Box Workforce Intelligence, the reasons for employee turnover remain the same as they were a few years ago. The State of the Restaurant Workforce report gives a breakdown of rolling 12-month turnover for hourly and management full- and limited-service staff, as well as a breakdown by region.

From a survey conducted with Snagajob, numerous factors contribute to the staffing shortage including a need for child and family care.  Download the State of the Restaurant Workforce for a breakdown of the reasons employees are leaving for other industries and look at the turnover numbers for full- and limited-service restaurants.

Employee Benefits on the Rise in Restaurants

There were considerable increases in the percent of restaurant companies offering benefits to both managers and hourly team members compared to 2019. Some of these benefits include family/elder care leave, flexible scheduling and help with financial planning. The State of the Restaurant Workforce report breaks down those numbers as well as shares some additional benefits being offered by restaurants, from the annual Total Rewards Survey results.

Additional Resources

Restaurant Recruiting, Staffing, & Turnover Trends: What You Need to Know About Managing Restaurant Staff in 2021
The industry has been volatile the past year and a half — to say the least. And while things seem to be on the upswing, the industry is now facing another big hurdle: labor challenges and shortages. BLS reported that job openings reached a record high of 9.3 million in April, and the accommodations and food services sector accounted for the largest increases. Read Article

The Best Ways to Measure and Reduce Restaurant Turnover Rates
The industry’s labor challenges will persist through the economic recovery and beyond. Our most current research shows that industry turnover is approaching pre-COVID levels across segments and positions. Turnover rates and their causes, vary by role, the type of restaurant and geographical region. Read on to learn how to calculate your turnover rate, understand what’s driving it and explore solutions. Read Article

Why the Restaurant Staffing Shortage is Becoming a Bigger Issue

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The Best Ways to Measure and Reduce Restaurant Turnover Rates

The restaurant industry has long been plagued by high employee turnover. In August of 2019, it was reported that fast-food restaurants were losing 100% of their workforce every year. They’re also leaving more quickly. According to Black Box Workforce Intelligence™...

Staffing through the Crisis: COVID-19 & Restaurant Employees

The workforce faces increased challenges related to staffing during the COVID pandemic, especially as the restaurant industry was already understaffed.

Café Momentum: How this Restaurant is Changing Lives

Cafe Momentum employs young people that have previously been detained. A few of them share their story at the 2020 Global Best Practices Conference.

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