- Only 54% of quick service restaurant employees reached 90 days of working before quitting in 2022, according to an HourWork report emailed to HR Dive’s sister publication, Restaurant Dive, that is based on surveys of employees at over 8,000 QSR restaurants. Prior to the pandemic, the segment’s 90-day retention rate hovered at 58%.
- QSR workers are five times more likely to quit over miscommunications with management during their first 90 days than after, the report found.
- Wages, management and scheduling are top concerns for QSR employees, the report states, based on HourWork exit interviews and a review of text messages exchanged between employers and employees.
Hourwork predicts that QSR wages will continue to increase in 2023 due to elevated consumer demand, a continued worker shortage and increasing inflation.
In December, 80% of QSR positions offered higher pay compared to December 2021, according to the study. Across all of the category’s positions, worker pay rose 1.3% monthly in the latter half of 2022.
These pay bumps may be key to adequately staffing fast food chains as growing numbers of diners are trading down to the category as discretionary spending shrinks.
The cost burden of wage hikes is pushing restaurants in all segments to rethink the structure of roles within their business. Twenty-five unit casual chain Bartaco, for example, eliminated its traditional wait staff roles in favor of order-and-pay via QR codes, combined with new management positions called “service leaders.” This change allowed the company to offer competitive wages without damaging profits.
Other restaurants are paring down their hiring plans. Only 39% of restaurant operators said they planned to staff up significantly at the start of Q4 2022, according to an Alignable report, compared to 56% of operators who planned to do so at the start of Q4 2021. Though that hiring slowdown may be due to an increase in overall restaurant workers as the sector gradually approaches pre-pandemic levels of employment, preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed restaurants employed about 622,000 more workers in December compared to December 2021.