Serving, hosting and cashiering have been popular job choices for college students looking to make money. In recent years, the number of employees in food service has dwindled.
Some officials blame this labor shortage on unemployment benefits due to COVID-19. However, the low pay and poor management that is prevalent in this industry are more likely to blame.
If the restaurant industry is serious about finding and keeping employees, it’s time for management to make some changes. They need to pay their employees sufficiently and provide better working conditions.
As of January 2022, there were still over 1.5 million job openings in food service nationwide, more than any other industry, according to a 2022 news release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
This is a drastic increase from previous years. In December 2017, the BLS news release showed this number to be 653,000.
A major problem is that these employees aren’t paid well enough. Some restaurants around the USF campus such as Denny’s and Buddy Brew offer starting pay at $10 per hour, according to Indeed.com. These minimum wage jobs don’t pay enough to cover the costs of college.
Someone making $10 per hour would have to work a 40 hour week to make only $400. With inflation, this is an unreasonable wage.
While many food service workers do make tips, they’re almost never guaranteed and employees deserve stability.
A Florida resident attending USF pays over $211 per credit hour as stated in the USF Undergraduate Tuition Rates for the fall 2021 to summer 2022 semesters. This number jumps to about $575 for non-resident students.
This doesn’t even include the cost of housing, transportation, food or other necessary expenses, which is estimated to be about $8,000 per semester, according to the USF Office of Financial Aid.
Poor management is another major contributor to this shortage. This is frequently seen with scheduling. Employees, especially those in the restaurant industry, are often made to work long hours and are frequently scheduled outside of their availability.
USF junior Olivia Braun said she had several issues with scheduling during her two years in the restaurant industry.
“I would get my schedule the night before my shift. It was always very late and sometimes I would even have to contact my boss to ask what time I needed to come in,” Braun said in an April 23 interview with The Oracle.
USF junior Jonathon Chavez worked in a local restaurant for 18 months before tiring of it and deciding the industry wasn’t for him.
Chavez left due to issues with management and better opportunities elsewhere, as he stated in an April 23 interview with The Oracle.
Workers are avoiding food services because they are tired of putting up with so much stress for so little pay. If employers want to find and keep employees, this needs to change.