💰 Wages up in restaurants

5 min read
💰 Wages up in restaurants
Source: Quartz

Restaurant workers are seeing a steep rise in wages, but can menu prices keep up? Join the conversation as you pull up a chair for today’s edition of The Prep.

On the menu:
🍔 Wages rise in restaurants, outpace menu prices
⏰ Tech revolutionizes wait-time management in eateries
🧪 CDC unveils tool for safer dining experiences
🌟 A look inside the life of a three-star Michelin chef

Here’s why restaurant workers’ wages are rising

Menu prices may be going up, but restaurant workers’ wages are rising at an even faster rate.

Over the past decade, the wages of restaurant workers have surged by approximately 66%, outpacing the 48% increase in prices for food consumed outside the home, as revealed by a Quartz analysis of data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Did the pandemic prompt the rise in worker wages? The answer is, sort of. Until 2017, restaurant wages and prices moved in tandem but then things started to shift in favor of wage growth.

The pandemic further intensified an already tight labor market, with workers in the 10th percentile of earners experiencing a wage growth of 9% from 2019 to 2022, while top earners (those in the 90th percentile) saw their wages increase by 4.9%, according to analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

Why are wages rising so quickly? A diminishing bias against individuals without college degrees for higher-wage roles has opened up new opportunities for many workers. The slowdown in immigration during the pandemic has also played a role in exacerbating the tight labor market in the US.

Will restaurant workers’ wages continue their upward trajectory? Or is a slowdown on the horizon?

Read more of the stats at Quartz.

🎧 The Dining Table, Episode 63

Life as a new 3-star Michelin chef with John Shields

Get an insider's look at what it means to run a three-star Michelin restaurant.

Here's what Josh said about getting his third star:

"Of course a lot of joy, but it was more of the pressure that comes with it that hit me almost instantly."

Listen in full here (20 mins) 

Set wait time expectations to improve customer service

Restaurants can now use tech to predict wait times. Accurate expectations minimize customer frustration and enhance satisfaction. Keeping guests informed not only eases anxiety but also boosts loyalty – even if the wait time is long.

Learn more at Modern Restaurant Management.

CDC offers a new retail food safety culture assessment tool

The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) new tool is designed to help restaurant managers assess and improve food safety culture and address common challenges like staff reluctance to talk to managers, short-staffing, and lack of space and resources.

The tool is available for download on the new CDC website - learn more here.

Restaurant industry events to attend in 2024

The restaurant industry's 2024 conference lineup is brimming with events nationwide, focusing on financial strategies, expansion, AI, and automation.

You can read more about the top 9 events at Restaurant Dive.

Midnight munchies and athlete deals: QSRs defy dining downturn: Here’s why

Despite a slight dip in overall dining visits, Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) and fast casual spots are buzzing, thanks to three trends: a surge in late-night visits by younger crowds, NCAA rule changes boosting athlete brand partnerships, and the rising popularity of sub sandwich chains, drawing diverse and affluent customers.

Source: Media Post

A pinch of this and that

🥖 Bread Rising: Panera Bread announces IPO filing

🚪 Closing Doors: DC restaurants shut due to crime and the economy

🍔 Cosmic Cuisine: McDonald's launches new chain 'Cosmc'

🧀 Cheese Alternative: Kraft introduces plant-based 'NotMac and Cheese’

🍴 Filipino Flavors: 'Chopped' champion opens restaurant in Charleston

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you. I’m grateful you took some time to read this edition of The Prep newsletter. Each week, we’ll highlight news, insights, and even social media content about restaurants, bars, and food culture.

Is there something you think we should cover in the next edition, or feedback you’d like to share? Reply to this newsletter and let me know about it. You can also forward this email to a friend or colleague.

We’re looking forward to connecting with you each week – thanks for coming to the table for The Prep.