Now that Dr. Fauci and the CDC say that vaccinated Americans can ditch masks and social distancing, restaurants can expect a surge in business. To handle that surge, restaurants will need more workers. Restaurants won’t get those workers through political posturing; they’ll get those workers by offering higher pay:
“Customers are coming back faster than restaurants can staff up,” said Josh Bivens, research director at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “By raising pay, they are able to get more workers in the door.”
In April, even as overall hiring slowed, a category that includes restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues hired more new workers than it did the previous month, a sign the extra pay is working.
McDonald’s on Thursday said it will raise pay for workers in its 650 company-owned stores to an average of $15 an hour by 2024. Entry-level employees will make $11 an hour. The company is urging its 14,000 franchised restaurants to make the same changes [Christopher Rugaber, “Desperate for Workers, US Restaurants and Stores Raise Pay,” AP, 2021.05.13].
If, like me, you think the Big Mac is one of America’s greatest inventions, then you’d better be willing to pay a fair wage to the patty-hustler building that brilliant invention for you. Eaters and restaurateurs alike have gotten by for too long thinking food-service staffers don’t deserve a living wage for helping us all be too lazy to cook. Now’s the time to change that thinking:
A cultural shift in the industry could help with recruiting, but it needs to start with more respect for the profession from the top down, and that includes better wages and benefits, said Matt Millar, chef and co-owner of The Southerner in Saugatuck.
“There are jobs that need to be done and not all of them are glamorous, but they are all worthy of a living wage,” he said. “I think we have to resign ourselves to the idea that we’ve failed low-wage workers for a long time. We need to start making some changes.”
…“To me there’s just this astonishing lack of empathy on behalf of so many people who have this way of thinking,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, if you think cleaning a bathroom isn’t worth $15 an hourthen go a week without it happening and tell me you still have that opinion” [Lindsay Moore, “‘We’ve Failed Low-Wage Workers’: Restaurant Owners Raise Pay in Wake of Labor Shortage,” MLive.com, 2021.05.16].
Need workers? Offer the living wage that every person deserves.