Survey: Ohio restaurants struggle with staffing

Written on Jun 16, 2021

Monthly sales are rising for many Ohio restaurants, but staffing issues remain widespread.

Three-quarters of respondents in the Ohio Restaurant Association’s latest industry survey said they’ve seen month-to-month sales increases through 2021. That’s up from half in the April survey.

At the extremes, 38% said sales have increased at least 10% since the start of the year while 11% said sales have declined in that period.

About 60% of respondents expect to at least break even with their current sales trends, a statistic that has been steady for several months.

The big challenge remains finding workers. Ninety-one percent of respondents said hiring is an ongoing concern, including 65% that identified it as the critical issue.

Restaurants are deploying an assortment of tactics to attract workers back to or into the industry. By far the biggest tool is raising wages. Nearly every restaurant or restaurant company surveyed in the last few months said it has increased pay for some if not all staff members.

Almost half the respondents in the survey said they believe increased pay will attract employees.

The vast majority of respondents, however, see the additional $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits as the biggest hindrance to hiring. That issue will be going away soon as Ohio will cease accepting that federal unemployment support starting June 26.

Almost half of the respondents – about 46% — support return-to-work incentives to help encourage applicants.

The survey was conducted May 5-30.

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