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9 out of 10 Michigan restaurants operating with inadequate staffing, MRLA says

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Posted at 9:43 AM, Aug 11, 2021

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) released the results of a statewide survey to illustrate the challenges the hospitality industry is still grappling with despite lifted restrictions.

According to the MRLA, 9 out of 10 restaurants and nearly every hotel is dealing with “inadequate staffing.” The survey also found that more than 85% of full-service restaurants reported closing early or for specific times due to the low staffing levels.

About 81% of hotels, according to the survey findings, are also limiting room inventory due to limited staffing.

The survey was conducted August 3 through August 6 across the state of Michigan with more than 300 responses from hotel and restaurant operators representing about 1,000 locations.

"Restaurant and hotel operators are trying to meet consumer demand that exceeds 2019 with 100,000 fewer workers and skyrocketing labor and commodity prices. Workers are exhausted and profit margins are thin for many despite the resurgent demand,” said Justin Winslow, MRLA president & CEO, in a statement.

The full survey highlights, according to the MRLA, include:

  • 88 percent of hospitality industry respondents are operating with inadequate staffing to meet consumer demand, which includes:
    • 100 percent of banquet facilities
    • 97 percent of hotels
    • 89 percent of full-service restaurants
    • 81 percent of quick service restaurants
    • 67 percent of bars/nightclubs
  • More than four out of five respondents are operating at least 10 percent below adequate staffing levels and a staggering 29 percent in the industry are operating more than 30 percent below what is needed to meet consumer demand.
  • Nearly 80 percent of restaurant and hotel operators reported closing early or for specific segments during the day as a direct result of inadequate staffing levels. For full-service restaurants that figure exceeds 85 percent.
  • 81 percent of hotels are limiting room inventory because they do not have adequate staffing to turn them over for new guests.
  • 95 percent of restaurant and hotel respondents have increased wages in 2021 with half increasing wages by more than 10 percent this year. More than 70 percent have increased schedule flexibility to appeal to prospective employees, while half have offered financial incentives.
  • 97 percent reported inflation of commodities this year, with half reporting price increases greater than 10 percent.
  • 28 percent support recent CDC guidelines recommending masks indoors because it will “create a safer and more stable environment in which to operate” while 72 percent opposed because it will “reignite an environment of fear that will negatively impact my business.”
  • 73 percent of respondents would oppose a New York City style mandate requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter most indoor establishments including restaurants and hotels.
  • 64 percent of respondents believe Congress should enact additional targeted relief for the hospitality industry.