Email Us:
September 9, 2022

Jena Ellenwood, 36, worked as a bartender in New York City since the early 2000s, when the pandemic struck. At that point, she split her time between a Manhattan bar and two restaurants in Queens and Brooklyn, hoping to earn the thousand dollars a week she needed to cover living expenses, student loans, and credit card debt.

“I was working seven days a week,” she says, because “I just never felt like I was made up for it” financially. “You are at the mercy of the client,” he says. “What if you’re not busy?”

When the pandemic broke out and her bar and restaurants closed, Ellenwood had to figure out how to turn around. She conducted cocktail lessons through one of her employers, Dear Irving, and offered to help them with online classes. Requests for private tutoring began pouring in, and she eventually started her own business. While she hoped to earn $ 250 on the 6-10 hour shift before the pandemic, today her cocktail lessons cost at least $ 250 an hour.

He still teaches in person several times a month, but between the various virtual activities he attends and collaborating on cocktail design for a particular brand or company, he doesn’t feel like stepping back behind the bar. “I’m not ready to be at the customer’s mercy,” he says. “I’m not ready to tell them how they think about me. I don’t want to work until two or four in the morning.

Ellenwood’s turn at the start of the pandemic has put her at the forefront of a larger trend that is shaking up the restaurant industry.

‘It’s truly a defining moment for all strata within the restaurant industry’

Ellenwood is one of the millions of restaurant workers who have exited the industry since March 2020, most recently as part of the Great Retirement. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only in October 2021, 803,000 catering workers resigned from their jobs.

Many give basic working parameters as the reason for leaving. More than half, 55% of ex-hospitality workers say they are not interested in returning to the industry because of low wages, and 39% say they will not come back due to lack of benefits, according to Q3 Joblist and former hospitality workers. The group was part of a larger survey database of 26,278 jobseekers in all fields.

With such high demand for labor in the industry, major employers began responding to employee requests. In May, McDonald’s announced that employees at the company’s restaurants (which account for 5% of McDonald’s restaurants in the US) will have an average of 10% increase in the following months. That same month, Chipotle announced it was raising hourly wages for novice crew members to $ 11-18 per hour. In October, Starbucks announced it would raise base wages for US baristas to $ 15 an hour by summer 2022.

“This is a really decisive moment for all layers in the restaurant industry,” says Carolyn Richmond, a long-standing restaurant lawyer. But she and other experts say that catering work is still a long way from offering sustainable wages and benefits as an industry.

That is why it is still difficult to determine if working in a restaurant is likely to become “good” job in the near future.

A general manager at Burger King makes $46k/year in Chicago

The food service industry is diverse, with tens of thousands of small mom-and-pop venues, national food chains, gourmet restaurants, and so on. What employees do and what benefits are available to them depend on a variety of factors.

For example, each establishment has its own available resources and payroll structure. Packages also depend on the role that the employee plays in the company. Dishwashers and cooks, for example, can earn the minimum wage without any benefits, while cooks can earn well above the minimum wage with benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and PTOs. The salary of the bartender and waiter may depend on tips.

Finally, location plays a significant role in what kind of compensation and benefits work in restaurants offers. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have sick leave for employers, according to the Human Resource Management Society. Nine states and the District of Columbia also have their own paid leave policies, including parental leave. Workers in these states would have access to these benefits regardless of position.

For example, the CEO of Burger King in Chicago makes about $ 46,000 a year, according to Indeed, with the only benefit listed being “career advancement.” The CEO of Haitian / Pacific Northwest Restaurant Kann Restaurant in the same city earns $ 85,000 with health insurance, according to Poached’s listing.

‘There’s only so much you will pay for a hamburger’

While changes have been made to large resource-owned networks, at this point it is unlikely that all catering workers will have access to sustainable hourly wages and benefits such as health insurance and PTO in the near future. “The profit margins are so low,” says Richmond. “You have a lot of small family businesses and single operators who may want to make a better pay,” he says, “but may still have to provide the bare minimum,” because that’s all they can afford.

If many small restaurants or bars, for example, wanted to increase the hourly wages for their low-paid employees or start paying for health insurance, the cost would have to be passed on to the customer in the form of more expensive meals. “We all know you’ll only pay this for a burger,” he says.

For radical changes to occur across the industry, regulation would likely need to push the needle forward. For example, the Build Back Better Act, currently pending in the Senate, provides for one month of paid leave to cover care, parental leave and long-term sickness. The government would pay for these weeks for employers by making it easier for small businesses to give their employees this time off.

“I think we’ll probably see more clarity on this kind of benefit in the next 6-12 months,” says Richmond, adding that with federal mandates, “implementing these plans will be a little easier in the future.”

Tough job conditions: It was not uncommon ‘to be there for 12 hours’

Ultimately, the practical aspects of working in gastronomy are only part of the problem and the cause of the employee exodus. Strenuous working conditions are also important.

After 11 years of working as a confectioner in the most renowned companies in the world of restaurants, 33-year-old Tracy Wilk left the industry in June. He currently works at the technology company BentoBox.

Wolf went from earning $ 10 an hour as an intern to $ 70,000 a year in extras as head of a pastry shop in New York. Even with the PTO, however, she rarely felt she could take time off. She remembers one busy Restoration Week when “extreme toothache” sent her to the dentist. She ended up having a tooth extracted, but “I was working that night and helped speed up the dinner service because someone had to,” she says.

“It wasn’t unusual for any of us to be there for 12 hours,” he says, adding that “it’s a job that won’t get any easier.” So she left.

In addition to exhausting hours, frontline staff such as waiters, hostesses and bartenders have to contend with unwanted public attention. The overwhelming majority of restaurant workers, 90%, report sexual harassment at work, according to the Restaurant Opportunities Center.

And with the pandemic, daily contact with dozens of customers exposes these employees to even greater danger. A study from the University of California in San Francisco in 2021 found that on-line cooks had the highest risk of dying at the start of the pandemic. The study looked at excessive mortality among Californians aged 18-65 from March to October 2020.

Scientists estimated that cooks on the line saw a 60% increase in pandemic-related mortality during this time, compared to a 34% increase for licensed practical nurses and licensed professional nurses and a 22% increase among all Californians of working age.

‘Flexibility is really important’

Right now, if you work in the catering industry or want to do so, you can ask questions about which employers may be more open-minded or adaptable.

Especially in the face of the pandemic, “flexibility is really important,” says Rachael Nemeth, CEO and co-founder of Opus, which provides mobile training for deskless workers, including restaurant customers. A flexible schedule is “a far lower cost than being able to offer your team a health benefit,” he says.

“The benefits for the commuters matter,” says Nemeth. Transport is getting more expensive, and this “there are really tangible benefits” to employers who might say, “we’ll take you a break on your MetroCard,” he says.

At least for now, if workers’ requests are not followed up, “this is where they are a little less vulnerable because they are so much in demand,” says Ileen DeVault, Cornell’s professor of labor history and university director of the Institute of Labor. “So that they can vote with their feet.”

Investing comes with risks, including possible loss of capital. This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. The strategies and investments discussed may not be suitable for all investors. Before making any investment decisions, you should carefully consider your financial situation, including your investment objective, time horizon, risk tolerance and fees.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide and should not be relied upon to provide accounting, legal or tax advice. Consult your accountant, tax or legal advisor on such matters.

No level of diversification or asset allocation can provide profits or guarantee against losses.

This material is provided for informational and educational purposes only. The views expressed in the above articles are generalized and may not be appropriate for all investors. Information contained in this article should not be construed as and may not be used in connection with an offer to sell or an invitation to make an offer to buy or hold an interest in any security or investment product. There is no guarantee that past results will repeat or be positive. Before making any investment decisions, you should carefully consider your financial situation, including your investment objective, time horizon, risk tolerance and fees. No level of diversification or asset allocation can provide profits or guarantee against losses. The contributors to the articles are not affiliated with Acorns Advisers, LLC. and do not provide investment advice to Acorns clients. Acorns does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. A qualified professional should be consulted for this type of service.

Whether serving guests or working in the kitchen, expect to be on your feet, moving and carrying things for long periods of time. You may also need to do some weightlifting in certain restaurant roles, eg barbacks may need to carry barrels, crates of beer or boxes of alcohol to stock the bar.

What do I need to know before working in a restaurant?

10 things you need to know before your first day at work in a restaurant

  • Arrive early. …
  • Introduce yourself to each employee with whom you make eye contact. …
  • Remember their names. …
  • Remember the layout of the table as early as possible. …
  • Pay attention to what foods come out of the kitchen. …
  • Be proactive. …
  • Make friends with the chefs.

Is it hard to work in a restaurant? Well it’s difficult, it’s demanding, there are so many moving parts, and there are so many more challenges in this industry than in any other I’ve come across. While the restaurant industry is ideal for food and hospitality enthusiasts, it can have an impact on your well-being.

What should I look for in a restaurant job?

“So many life skills are essential to a restaurant – customer service, communication, interpersonal skills,” said Jenna Swigert, senior vice president of sales for OpenTable, which also co-owns two restaurants in Bend, Oregon. “Time management and the ability to multitask are required for both the front and the back of the house.”

What are three of the six qualities that restaurant personnel should have?

If you go online looking for what makes a good employee, each site will basically tell you the same. You should hire people who are committed, confident, reliable, positive, hardworking, team-oriented and proactive.

What makes you a good fit for this job restaurant?

Sample answer I specialize in multitasking, interpersonal skills and fast-paced work. While this would be my first restaurant post, my previous retail experience has helped me understand that I am well suited to a similar position where I can help people have great experiences in each establishment.

What is working in a restaurant like?

Working in a fast-paced restaurant can be stressful, especially when it gets crowded. Waiters have to juggle several tables at once, and kitchen staff constantly presses to have orders delivered on time. While some people thrive in this environment, others may find it too inconvenient.

Is working in a restaurant stressful?

Working in the restaurant industry can be a hard and stressful job. Hours can be long and the work is tiring. During busy meal times, you may feel a lot of pressure to prepare your meals quickly without sacrificing quality. Occasionally, breaks may be postponed due to the influx of customers.

How stressful is working in a restaurant?

Working in the restaurant industry can be a hard and stressful job. Hours can be long and the work is tiring. During busy meal times, you may feel a lot of pressure to prepare your meals quickly without sacrificing quality. Occasionally, breaks may be postponed due to the influx of customers.

What’s the most stressful job at a restaurant? A new study that looks at the world’s most stressful jobs says that being a waiter in a restaurant can be more stressful than working as a doctor or architect.

Is waitressing a stressful job?

The researchers say the waiting room can be the most stressful job of all. Probably few of us think waiting at tables is a picnic, but a new study found it can be even more stressful than most of us realize.

Is it difficult to be a waitress?

It is by no means an easy job, it can be difficult to carry out anything or commands from people in busy times. You stand for really long periods, which can be a burden.

Is waitressing the most stressful job?

When the results of a study by researchers at Southern Medical University of Guangzhou in China on the link between stroke and stress at work showed that waitering was the most stressful occupation, some were surprised that other, more demanding professions, such as doctors and lawyers, did not become classified as more …

How do I get a serving job with no experience?

The qualifications needed to become a server with no experience include high school diploma and customer service skills. Employers often prefer applicants who have experience in a related industry such as hospitality or retail, but can still find a serving job without any experience.

How to become a waiter without experience? There are some simple tips that can help you find a job as a waiter, even without experience. Go to the restaurants you want to apply to. You should consider at least five restaurants as the restaurant industry is very competitive. Taste the food and talk to your waiter about his experiences in the restaurant.

Should I go into the food industry?

Working in the food industry will allow you to gain a wide range of skills, including logical thinking, good communication, creativity, teamwork and leadership. If you already have some of these skills, you might be a perfect fit for the food and drink sector!

Is it difficult to get into the food industry? The food industry is hard to break into. The pressure to own a small restaurant includes long working hours, hesitation, and constant uncertainty. For women, starting a restaurant is also associated with a higher level of skepticism due to the perennial misogyny culture that persists in the industry.

Why should I work in the food industry?

Job Security An average of 35,400 new US graduates with experience in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources or the environment are expected to fill 61% of the expected 57,900 average vacancies … The food industry is one of the largest in the world, and we will always have to eat.

What attracts you to the fresh food and produce industry ?*?

Possibilities. Courage, attitude, effort and longevity are qualities that are appreciated and rewarded in our industry. If there’s ever an industry that still recognizes these things, it’s fresh produce. Your job mobility is in your hands.

Is food a good career?

Yes, food chains are a good career path. Careers in this industry are plentiful and offer a wide range of salaries and opportunities. Plus, you can often land a career with little or no experience. Of course, opportunities and low educational requirements may mean lower salaries, but this is not always the case.