Marketing Your Restaurant During Labor Shortage

When the COVID pandemic struck the world, this forever changed the way industries move about society. The restaurant industry was amongst the top 5 most impacted industries affected by COVID-19 virus. The word “pivot” became a common word society used especially for businesses during this pandemic.

By May 2020, the restaurant industry was down 5.9 million jobs, the number of restaurant jobs scheduled plummeted and was down 75%, and 17% of restaurants closed due to the pandemic, laying off several employees. 

Restaurants who have survived the devastating pandemic have been dealt with a second blow – labor shortages. Because of this restaurants are closing doors in attempts to stay afloat. The labor shortage is a result of federal unemployment benefits, COVID driven working family dynamics, and work safety concerns. Although unemployment benefits have already ended, staff shortages in restaurants have become a serious problem in the industry. In order to survive this restaurants must themselves in a smart and strategic way. You need marketing experts to do this. Markteing your restaurant smartly and effectively can help you overcome this labor shortage problem.

How to market your restaurant during staff shortage?

Staff hiring focused Marketing

When hiring staff, we recommend that restaurants create an environment that would make people want to work there. Possibly offering good pay rates, work flexibility and of course a safe work environment especially during pandemic. 

Transform to lean operations

Converting and optimizing digital tools can help restaurants work more efficiently and safely. Adjustments such as offering online ordering, cashless payment, carry out delivery are a few ways that restaurants can function in a way that is lean and nimble without having to rely on too many workers. 

Signage throughout the restaurant to ask customers to seat themselves and order on their phone/ tablet at the table. cut down on the need for a hostess and someone to take orders

Marketing your menu

Another way restaurants can make the work easier with a smaller staff is a little menu engineering. Simplifying the menu and figure out what foods don’t ‘carry out’ well. This saves you and your workers time and energy on the menu items that are most important and efficient when serving customers. 

In addition to this, another option is to offer catering ordering online. We suggest to cut down on the need for catering orders to be taken on the phone. 

Drive-thru and takeout windows

Drive-thru and takeout windows have never been more needed than during this time. Though curbside is also a new option for restaurants and stores throughout the US, drive thru windows allow customers make purchases safely, and efficiently and at the convenience of their own car. 

Multi-channel campaigns for takeout and delivery offers

Another practice we suggest for restaurants to do is to create special offers that promote takeout and delivery. An emphasis on these types of offers would draw customers to your website to order online and allow the staff to focus on cooking and preparing the food.  

Contactless menu as paper menu safe alternative

A contactless menu is a digital menu that is an alternative to traditional paper menus. Guests are able to access a digitized version of a restaurant’s menu through a smartphone or tablet without having to touch a physical paper menu.

As health and safety is the main focus for keeping customers and employees safe during this pandemic, it is important to reduce the chances of virus transmission – paper menus are amongst one of the highest points of contact in a restaurant. 

Cashless payment option for online orders

Online ordering and pre-payment is an entirely different experience compared to trying to talk to a staffer in a crowded, noisy restaurant. By going online on a mobile device, customers can conveniently place an order so that customers can think over what they want and make the selections that they will enjoy.


Labor shortages and other labor-related issues will be a topic that restaurants need to handle not just in short term but on an ongoing basis. How restaurants handle this effectively will determine the viability of the business. How you market your restaurant effectively using the above recommendations will remove any excess work, and allow you and your staff to focus on best serving your customers.