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We asked you how it’s going, here’s what you said.

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A few weeks ago, we sent out a survey to learn more about where workers are at with returning to work. Here’s an overview of the results.

As the vaccine has become more accessible and new COVID-19 cases are declining, restaurants have quickly started re-opening across the nation. With this uptick in restaurant openings, there has been a lot of coverage with restaurateurs’ perspectives on the frustrations of a labor shortage — we wanted to hear from you and learn the worker’s perspectives on returning to work. So, a few weeks ago, we sent out a survey in our newsletter and received over 1,700 responses from workers across the country. Here is what you told us about returning to work.

Many of you are already back to work.

We asked for an update on your employment status and learned that 63% of respondents are working a full schedule of 30-40 hours a week, 19% are working 20-30 hours, and only 17% work less than 20 hours per week. Overall, 64% of workers are currently working, and of those who are not employed, 40% are unable to collect unemployment.



Many of you are actively seeking employment in the restaurant industry.

Out of the 1,700 responses we received, 45% said they actively check Poached to see who is hiring and applying for jobs, 31% are actively searching but haven’t applied to anything yet, and 24% say they are not currently looking for jobs.

Many of you are still concerned about the economic and health risks of the pandemic.

Of those who are not looking for new employment, 24% claimed that the uncertainty about future restrictions on indoor dining stops them from looking for a new job.

“I just don’t want to get started somewhere new if we could just shut back down the next week,” An anonymous worker wrote in. “The inconsistency of reopening and closing makes me hesitant to look for a new job” Was a concern of another anonymous worker.

26% of respondents said that concern over COVID-19 and getting themselves or their loved ones sick keeps them from looking for a new job.

“I like that my current job has been adhering to safety protocols and is waiting for everyone to get vaccinated before opening for table service,” One respondent wrote. “I’m afraid if I try to work elsewhere, they won’t be as concerned and will require me to take risks.”


Half of you said hours were not affected by restrictions on indoor dining.

We asked if indoor dining restrictions affected worker’s hours. Interestingly, 50% of respondents said no, while 49.5% said yes. The data suggests that a little more than half of those who’ve returned to work can sustain a decent schedule.

“Even with restricted indoor seating, the business has been enough to sustain a regular schedule,” An anonymous worker said. “Especially considering that our restaurant (and most restaurants I understand) are short-staffed.”

The pandemic shook the restaurant industry, and things aren’t back to pre-covid times. But, based on the insight you all provided, things are improving and getting back on track. Many of you are already back to work or are interested in coming back soon once there is more confidence in the industry’s stability. Thank you to everyone who shared their story with us — learning about your experiences allows us to help make your job search experience better.

Ashley McNally

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

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