Companies like Chipotle are boosting prices, but CEOs multimillion dollar pay packages aren’t getting any smaller

Chipotle workers

Chipotle raised prices across the menu by about 4% in June, a move the company says was prompted by increased wages for workers.

The average Chipotle meal will cost 30 to 40 cents more than it did before, and a spokesperson told Insider that the price hike will compensate for the recent wage increases for workers. In April, the fast casual chain said it would raise average hourly wages to $15 per hour by the end of June, an increase of $2 over the $13 an hour average pay.

While Chipotle attributes raising menu prices to the growing price of labor, some analysts point to high CEO compensation as another factor. In 2020 CEO Brian Niccol took home $38 million, $1.24 million of which was his base salary. The rest was made up of other incentives and an annual bonus.

“Brian Niccol ‘s annual compensation package is based on a competitive analysis of CEO pay levels within our peer group and is designed to pay for performance,” a Chipotle spokesperson told Newsweek when the pay report was released.

Niccol ‘s compensation was 2,898 times more than the median Chipotle worker’s $13,127 salary in 2020, based on an employee working 25 hours a week in Illinois. Companies are required to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to the pay of a median employee. At Chipotle, that ratio is 1,129 to one. Across the board, the pay ratio of CEOs to workers averaged 830 to 1 in 2020, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.

Higher labor costs do eventually lead to higher prices for customers, but experts say the difference isn’t as stark as some might expect. A study from California State University San Bernardino found that for a minimum wage increase of 10%, food prices increase by just 0.36%.

According to Chipotle’s proxy statement, executive compensation is aimed at maintaining “a level where we can successfully recruit and retain industry leading talent critical to shaping and executing our business strategy and creating long-term value for our shareholders.”

“For 2020, Brian’s compensation includes the value of a one-time modification that is not reflective of his ongoing pay package,” a Chipotle spokesperson told Newsweek. Niccol made $33.5 million in 2019, an increase of about 13%.

Read more: Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol answers 9 questions about the chain’s future including the fight for delivery profits, menu innovation, and franchising

In 2020, Chipotle’s revenue grew 7.1% to $6 billion, with much of the growth attributed to an explosion in digital sales. In a year that was disastrous for many restaurants, Chipotle opened 161 new locations, expanded its Chipotlane drive-thru footprint, and stock prices increased 65.7%.

The distance between worker and CEO pay grew wider than ever during the pandemic of the past year, The New York Times reported. The largest CEO compensation packages are for tech company executives. Chipotle does stand out among fast food and fast casual restaurant compensation, though. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson took home $14.7 million. McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski received $10.8 million.

Critics of sky-high CEO pay, like the Economic Policy Institute, say the enormous compensation packages are “a major contributor to rising inequality that we could safely do away with.”

“This escalation of CEO compensation, and of executive compensation more generally, has fueled the growth of top 1.0% and top 0.1% incomes, leaving less of the fruits of economic growth for ordinary workers, ” EPI said in a report released last year.

Labor costs might have increased for restaurants over the last year, but so did the price of ingredients. Staple Chipotle items, like corn and avocados, grew more expensive this year as demand rose and shipping delays drove prices further up.

“Ingredient costs, there’s talk about it. We’ll see where that leads,” Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung said at the Baird Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference. The company says there are no plans to further increase prices right now.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Restaurant workers are quitting at record-high rates, and it could force their employers to raise wages, experts say

san francisco waiter
  • A record 5.6% of restaurant workers quit their jobs in April.
  • Analysts say this indicates that workers are confident they can find other jobs easily.
  • The restaurant industry has a record 1.34 million job openings.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Restaurant workers quit at record levels in April, and it’s another sign that employers are going to have to work harder to attract and retain workers.

The quit rate, which refers to the percentage of people who voluntarily leave their jobs over the period, reached 5.6% in April for the food service and accommodations sector. That number is an all-time high for the industry, according to Gordon Haskett Research Advisors, and it was more than twice the rate of the economy as a whole, not counting farming jobs.

The high quit rate is an “indication that restaurant sector employees are leaving their jobs to pursue higher wage rate opportunities – in both other sectors and other restaurant concepts,” the analysts said in a report.

The quit rate is “generally viewed as a measure of an employee’s confidence in finding a new job and perception of job availability,” Gordon Haskett analysts say, and workers have good reason to feel this confidence. The sector also saw a record high of 1.34 million job openings in April, an increase of 350,000 over March numbers. Total nonfarm openings abound, with a record 9.3 million openings in April, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Restaurants and stores are looking to staff up and return to normal as COVID-19 restrictions lift and the country slowly reopens. Hiring has been difficult for many companies, which have reported a lack of candidates for open positions. Many businesses are offering perks, bonuses, and benefits to new employees just to get them in for interviews, while some like Chipotle are raising wages in the hopes of finding workers.

But retailers and restaurants are also struggling to retain workers who want to leave for new opportunities. That’s making the sector’s labor crunch even worse.

Read more: Newly revealed CloudKitchen documents show how Travis Kalanick’s company is pivoting as new rivals enter the crowded ghost kitchen space

Some workers are taking these conditions as an opportunity to leave retail and restaurant jobs to get away from low pay and difficult customers, and a growing number of openings in the labor market is making it easier to transition to new careers.

One Starbucks worker in Atlanta told Insider that she left for a job with better pay and benefits. The final straw for leaving her job of two years, she said, was realizing how her pay compared to the increasingly pricey drinks Starbucks sells.

“It took me a literal day to find a better job,” she said.

Some workers who were furloughed or laid off early in the pandemic may never return to fast food and customer service work. The past year has exposed the massive demands put on retail workers, often for relatively low pay and few benefits, even as they were called heroes and essential workers. Tasked with enforcing mask mandates and interacting with customers during the height of a pandemic, abuse, harassment, and assault were not uncommon. A Service Employees International Union survey of 4,187 McDonald’s workers in the summer of 2020 found that nearly half of respondents said that they had been physically or verbally assaulted.

In place of customer-facing retail jobs, some workers are turning to warehouse employment with companies like Amazon, even as those jobs make headlines for poor conditions. The e-commerce giant has hired about 2,800 people a day since July, mostly in warehouse roles. Others are “rage quitting” without another job lined up at all, fed up with low pay and poor treatment from customers.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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I visited one of the most iconic neighborhood bars in NYC after it reopened – here’s what it was like

Michelle Gross Photo 4   Patrons are no longer allowed to sit at the bar at Bemelmans as a reuslt of Covid
The bar at Bemelmans in New York City.

  • Michelle Gross is a freelance writer based in New York.
  • Recently, she spent a Friday night out at Bemelmans, the iconic bar at The Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side.
  • Although reopened at only 50% capacity, Gross says the bar was bustling with music and a new drinks menu.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In a city like New York, there’s no shortage of neighborhood bars. And while everyone has their favorite, for me, Bemelman’s Bar will always be emblematic of the quintessential New York City experience.

I recently spent a Friday night in late May at the iconic bar at The Carlyle, the Upper East Side hotel of choice for visiting celebrities and fashionable New Yorkers. Unlike most Friday nights over the past 14 months spent at home in my pajamas with my partner and two pugs, it’s now a post-COVID New York City, where donning my signature white tuxedo and going out for drinks and a little live music on the town felt novel and – dare I say? – normal.

As much a New York City icon as it is a cultural touchstone, Bemelmans and the adjoining Café Carlyle have hosted everyone from John F. Kennedy and Judy Collins to Frank Sinatra over the years. There’s no place quite like it anywhere on earth, and there’s certainly no place that feels as quintessentially New York.

Currently operating at a 50% capacity, this is the first-time Bemelmans has enforced a strict reservation-only policy.

“We’ve never had to enforce reservations like this in the past, and for now this is the simplest way to control the crowd,” Bemelmans’ new bar manager Dimitrios Michalopoulos told me that evening. “It’s been quite an adjustment, but this is the story for now.”

As a friend and I arrived at the Carlyle for our reservation, I noticed a lot has changed since my last visit in pre-pandemic times.

Before you can even enter Bemelmans, or the adjoining Topkapi Palace inspired tea room called The Gallery, you are greeted in The Carlyle’s foyer by a team of what looks like secret service agents in tuxedos, all of whom are equipped with earpieces to communicate with one another.

Michelle Gross Bemelmans
The foyer and waiting area before entering Bemelmans.

At check-in here, one member for each reservation is required to fill out a digital contact tracing form on an iPad. Once you make it past the check-in process, you’re led to your table.

Each reservation at Bemelmans has a 90-minute time limit, and there’s also a $15 per-person cover charge that’s applied to your bar tab. At present, masks are mandated when you go to and from your table; however, once inside, we quickly notice that the policy is loosely enforced.

“Our aim is to lead by example here,” Michalopoulos said, pointing out that all Bemelmans associates were wearing masks despite being vaccinated. “Our priority is to our guests and that means we’ll keep our masks on for now.”

All of the staff was masked up the entire time I was there, from the check in agents at the front to the servers and people behind the bar. Another big change I noticed is that people are no longer allowed to sit at the bar.

When we arrived at our table, we found a barcode menu waiting for us.

Michelle Gross 5   Barcodes are now used to order all food and drinks at Bemelmans making it a far more efficient process
Barcodes are now used to order all food and drinks at Bemelmans.

These barcodes seem ubiquitous now, however it felt jarring to see one in an environment as classical as Bemelmans.

With the help of Michalopoulos, the bar now features an entirely new menu that includes a signature cocktail list that pays homage to the guests, artists, and musicians who helped put this charming neighborhood bar on the map.

According to Michalopoulos, Bemelmans is largely known for its gin drinks and martinis. But one standout cocktail I tried was the JFK Daiquiri, a rum based drink inspired by one of the president’s favorite cocktails.

Bemelmans has a large selection of signature martinis, cocktails, mocktails, beers, and wine.

“Our clientele has been coming here for our martini’s for almost 75 years,” Michalopoulos said.

Michalopoulos said he spent the better part of a month researching the history and stories for each and every person the cocktails on Bemelmans Specialty Cocktail list are named after.

Photo 6   The author Michelle Gross and her friend sip martinis at Bemelmans
Gross and a friend enjoying martinis at Bemelmans.

Another standout drink was The Gillespie, which is made with Hudson Manhattan Rye, lime juice, rosemary ginger syrup, ginger beer, and egg white. It was named for a long time musician and entertainer at Bemelmans Bar, Chris Gillespie, who loved ginger, Michalopoulos told me.

“It was a lot of fun to honor the legacy of the people who used to come here and made this place so special,” Michalopoulos told me. “Their legacy lives on, and I know Bemelmans’ legacy will continue to live on long after, too.”

The iconic piano serves as a major focal point of the bar’s decor.

Michelle Gross 7: Music has always been at the center of a night out at Bemelmans and the piano serves as a major focal point of this iconic locale.
The piano at Bemelmans.

As I glanced around the room, and the sounds of people talking and live music on the piano played throughout our visit, I almost forgot what it was like in the before times at 100% occupancy.

Things have changed since my last visit to Bemelmans, but the magic that can be found in a night out here will always stay the same.

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A Nantucket restaurant is considering hiring 8th graders because of the lack of available workers amid the US labor shortage

Restaurant server US
The restaurant sector has been hit hard by the labor shortage.

  • Straight Wharf Restaurant is considering hiring eighth graders, as the labor shortage continues.
  • The restaurant’s chef told Fox Business that its location on Nantucket made commuting impossible.
  • He said the lack of workers could threaten its plans to reopen on a seven-day schedule.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A restaurant in Nantucket says it’s struggling so much to find workers that it’s interviewing eighth graders.

Gabriel Frasca, a chef at the Massachusetts island’s Straight Wharf Restaurant, told Fox Business that the restaurant was particularly hard hit by the labor shortage, because commuting was unviable.

The island has a population of less than 12,000.

Read more: An economic theory called ‘reallocation friction’ may explain why employers are having a hard time finding workers – and why a full recovery could be years away

“We’re at the point in the hiring process where not only are we considering eighth graders, but we’re interviewing them,” Frasca said. “That’s new … for me but hey, he’s got housing.”

Industries from education and healthcare to hospitality and ride-hailing apps are scrambling to attract new hires as the US faces what the US Chamber of Commerce called a “national economic emergency.” Full-service restaurants have around 14% fewer workers than they did before the pandemic.

Younger people could stand to gain from this, with the number of teens in work at the highest rate since 2008.

Frasca told Fox that Straight Wharf Restaurant had been hit by other worker shortages in recent years but that the current problem was “particularly acute.”

“There are no applicants out there,” Frasca said. “Where we might, in the past, get 20 applicants a day, we’re seeing one or two and usually without applicable experience.”

Frasca said that the upscale restaurant needs experienced staff, and that it’s better to focus on the quality of new hires rather than the quantity.

“It’s always better to be down a man than we are putting someone in the position where they’re going to fail,” he said. “That being said, we are at the point where it is going to affect our business and it is impacting our operations.”

He said the restaurant planned to return to a seven-day schedule in a few weeks – but that this might not happen if it can’t find enough workers.

“Right now when we need to fill 11, 12, 13 positions, we’re pretty far away from that.”

Other companies have also said the labor shortage forced them to limit production, slash operating hours, and raise prices.

Restaurant owners fear they won’t be able to pay rent and around two-thirds of small restaurants say they can’t find enough staff.

The chair of the NYC Economic Development Corporation said that a lot of restaurant staff who were laid off during the pandemic got jobs in other industries “that were actually doing quite well during COVID,” and may not return to hospitality. Meanwhile, Insider’s Áine Cain reported that workers were “rage-quitting” their jobs over long hours, low pay, and bad company cultures.

Restaurants have been offering lucrative perks to lure in new hires. A McDonald’s in Illinois said it would give iPhones to new hires, while another in Florida said it would offer $50 to anyone who came in for an interview.

The Federal Reserve said the staffing squeeze could last months but Bank of America expects the job market to recover by early 2022.

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Applebee’s offered free appetizers in hopes of luring in 10,000 job candidates and more than 40,000 applied

applebees
  • Applebee’s “Apps for Apps” promotion was a huge success and brought in 40,000 applicants.
  • Restaurants are increasingly turning to application perks to attract potential employees.
  • Retail is facing a labor shortage industry-wide.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Applebee’s says it drew in 40,000 job applicants for 10,000 openings with its free appetizer incentives.

Restaurants are offering up all kinds of perks to attract workers, and Applebee’s seems to be one of the most successful. On May 17, the chain hosted a national hiring day in the hopes of filling 10,000 open positions. Interviewing candidates received coupons for a free appetizer through the “Apps for Apps” program. It got four times as many applicants, Applebee’s president John Cywinski told The New York Times.

“Our No. 1-selling category is appetizers, so we decided to offer an app for an app. I’ve got guests coming back in droves, but I don’t have all the team members I’d like,” Cywinski said.

Hiring has been difficult for many companies that have reported a lack of candidates for open positions. But retail and restaurants are are also struggling to retain workers who want to leave for new opportunities. That’s making the sector’s labor crunch even worse.

Read more: Ghost kitchens operators like CloudKitchens, Kitchen United, and All Day Kitchens are expanding their business models beyond the rent-a-space model as competition heats up

Subway, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell, along with others, are advertising thousands of open positions online in hopes of staffing up and returning to pre-pandemic hours with open dining rooms. Some hiring managers are advertising perks like $50 for an interview, signing bonuses, and referral programs. Chipotle got thousands of applications after announcing it was boosting the minimum wage.

It seems perks aren’t always enough to restaff restaurants as thousands of people leave the industry for good. Some workers who were furloughed or laid off early in the pandemic may never return to fast food and customer service work.

In place of customer-facing retail jobs, some workers are turning to warehouse employment with companies like Amazon, even as those jobs make headlines for poor working conditions. The e-commerce giant has hired about 2,800 people a day since July, mostly in warehouse roles.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.

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Chipotle has hiked prices across its menu by about 4% as wages and ingredients get more expensive

Image from iOS (1)
West 169th Street Chipotle.

  • Chipotle hiked the prices on its menu by about 4% last week.
  • The company said the price increase will help offset its new $15 average hourly wages.
  • Last month, the company’s CFO warned that Chipotle would have to pass the extra cost onto customers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Chipotle raised the prices on its menu by about 4% last week.

A spokesperson told Insider the price hike is designed to help offset a wage increase that Chipotle has begun offering its workers. The higher prices mean the average chipotle meal will cost about 30 to 40 cents more.

Last month, the chain said it would raise its hourly wages to an average of $15 per hour by the end of June. At the time, Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung warned the company would have to increase prices to offset the higher pay.

“We think everybody in the restaurant industry is going to have to pass those costs along to the customer,” Hartung said during the company’s quarterly earnings meeting in April. “We think we’re in a much, much better position to do that, than other companies out there.”

The price hike comes at the same time that the cost of many ingredients has risen. The price of several staple imported goods including corn and avocados has steadily risen over the past few months as shipping delays meet rising demand.

For now, Hartung said the company does not plan to further increase prices in the near future.

“Ingredient costs, there’s talk about it. We’ll see where that leads,” Hartung said at the Baird Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference on Tuesday.

Chipotle is one of many restaurant chains that has increased worker pay. Starbucks and McDonald’s have also been working to combat the labor shortage and draw in new employees with higher wages.

Demand for restaurants is returning to pre-pandemic levels, but employees have been hesitant to return to the industry. Forty percent of restaurants say they’re understaffed, and 80% say that they’re keeping at least one hiring role posted at all times, QSR Magazine reported in April. Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce called the labor shortage a “national emergency,” pointing to data that there are more job vacancies than available workers in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Vermont.

Many companies have launched new incentives to bring workers back. This week, a California Jersey Mike’s offered hiring bonuses up to $10,000. Other chains have implemented similar measures. In April, Insider’s Kate Taylor reported that a McDonald’s in Florida was paying people $50 just to show up for a job interview.

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A Jersey Mike’s shop opening in California is offering a hiring bonus of up to $10,000, as fast food chains struggle to bring back workers

Jersey mikes subs
  • The Santa Cruz Jersey Mike’s is offering a hiring bonus of $10,000 for its assistant manager role.
  • The owner said the sandwich shop is working to adapt and find new ways to draw in workers.
  • It is one of many companies that has implemented new incentives to combat the labor shortage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As fast food chains struggle to find workers, one sandwich shop is offering new hires up to $10,000.

A Jersey Mike’s in Santa Cruz, California told Fox Business it will pay a $10,000 incentive for a new assistant manager. The payment will be made in three installments during the manager’s first year at the shop.

The chain told the network that it has already received several qualified applications for the position that will pay $18 to $20 per hour.

The Jersey Mike’s location is set to open soon just 75 miles outside of San Francisco and is working to fill its employee roster by offering several other incentives for multiple roles. The Santa Cruz restaurant is offering $5,000 bonuses for new shift leaders and $500 for incoming full- and part-time employees, Fox Business reported.

Read more: McDonald’s franchisees blame hiring challenges on unemployment benefits and say an ‘inflationary time bomb’ will force them to hike Big Mac prices

“We’re going to have to run a very efficient business to make this work but I think we all need to adapt to this climate for our businesses [to be] successful,” Brett Johanson, the co-owner of the shop, told the network.

The company did not respond to a request for comment from Insider. It is one of many companies that has begun offering new incentives to lure in prospective candidates. In April, Insider’s Kate Taylor reported that a McDonald’s in Florida was paying people $50 just to show up for a job interview.

Major companies, including Amazon, Walmart, and Chipotle, have also recently boosted pay in order to make their jobs more competitive in a labor shortage that has left restaurants and retailers scrambling.

Forty percent of restaurants say they’re understaffed, and 80% say that they’re keeping at least one hiring role posted at all times, QSR Magazine reported in April. Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce called the labor shortage a “national emergency,” pointing to data that there are more job vacancies than available workers in South Dakota, Nebraska, and Vermont.

On Sunday, Insider’s Áine Cain reported that long hours, unruly customers, and low pay have caused minimum wage workers to quit their jobs in droves.

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Teen employment could hit record highs in 2021 as US business owners flock to hire young workers in a tight labor market

Teen waitress
  • 2021 could be a record year for teen employment in the US.
  • Small business owners say they are leaning on younger workers as the labor shortage intensifies.
  • As a result, teen employment rates are soaring.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Teen employment rates in the US are soaring.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, US business owners are flocking to hire young workers as the labor market becomes more challenging. As a result, teen unemployment rates in the US are at their lowest level since 1953 and the number of teens in work has reached the highest rate since 2008, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday and cited by The Journal.

“We’ve seen a pent-up demand for tourism and recreation jobs where teens are most likely to be employed,” Luke Pardue, an economist at Gusto, told The Journal. “Hesitancy among older workers, a higher demand for these types of jobs, could combine to make 2021 a record year for teen employment,” he said.

Businesses across the US are grappling with a national labor shortage and are trying to attract workers that have been put off by demanding customers, low pay, and pandemic health concerns among other reasons.

Read more: McDonald’s franchisees blame hiring challenges on unemployment benefits and say an ‘inflationary time bomb’ will force them to hike Big Mac prices

Earlier this month, the president of the US Chamber of Commerce described the worker shortage as “a national economic emergency” that posed a threat to America’s economic recovery, Insider’s Grace Dean reported.

For teens, this means more opportunities to cherry-pick the best-paying jobs.

“It’s a perfect storm for them,” Ric Serrano, CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants, which has five locations around Phoenix, told The Journal.

“We’re nowhere near as rigid,” he said. “When people show up for an interview on time, you’re thrilled. That’s where we’re at.”

Another restaurant owner, Ben Eli – who owns Doris Metropolitan steakhouses in Houston and New Orleans – told The Journal that he had to delay the opening of his new bakery in Houston because he couldn’t find workers. Eli said that out of 45 interviews arranged for jobs at his new bakery, only two candidates had turned up.

Since then he’s only been able to hire teen workers. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” he told The Journal. “They are 100% of my staffing right now.”

One young worker told The Journal that after being furloughed from her $11-an-hour job at Ulta Beauty in 2020, she is being asked to come back and work there for $15-an-hour.

“They are trying to get people in there fast,” she said. “If you just show a sign that you are interested, they are going to talk to you further.”

If you have a story to share please contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-4716 using a non-work phone, by email to mhanbury@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @MarySHanbury.

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Caterers and bars are losing to coffee shops in the scramble for employees

GettyImages 1304266966
Some types of restaurant are having a harder time finding workers than others.

  • There are 1.5 million fewer workers at bars, restaurants, and cafes than before the pandemic.
  • But some types of restaurant have been hit much worse than others, according to new official data.
  • Staffing levels at cafeterias and buffets are down 58%, while coffee shops have nearly recovered.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The hospitality industry is struggling to fill roles amid the labor shortage hitting industries from education and healthcare and ride-hailing apps – but some types of restaurant are having a harder time finding workers than others.

Fast-casual restaurants, coffee shops, and snack bars have nearly as many employees as they did before the pandemic, but staffing levels at cafeterias and buffets are down by more than half, according to a report by the National Restaurant Association.

Across the board, eating and drinking places are still 1.5 million jobs – or 12% – below pre-pandemic employment levels, according to Friday’s job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The industry added a net 186,000 jobs in May on a seasonally-adjusted basis, making it the fifth consecutive month of job gains for the industry, per the BLS report.

But segment-specific data shows that some types of establishment are recovering better than others.

Read more: Smashburger president lays out why the brand is looking for prime real estate, not ghost kitchen space

The most recently available segment-specific BLS data, from April 2021, shows that the quick-service and fast-casual segments are nearly at pre-pandemic staffing levels, with just 3% fewer workers than in February 2020.

And limited-service snack and non-alcoholic beverage bars, including coffee, doughnut, and ice-cream shops – which sell more grab-and-go offerings – are only 4% down.

But venues reliant on dine-in have far from recovered. Cafeterias and buffets are worst hit, with 58% fewer employees than pre-pandemic. The foodservice contractor segment is still 37% down; catering and mobile foodservice 32%; bars and taverns 25%; and full-service restaurants 14%, or 750,000 fewer jobs.

This is backed by an April survey by the National Restaurant Association, which showed that coffee and snack operators were most likely to be at or above normal staffing levels, at 32%.

In comparison, just 10% of fine and family dining restaurants said that their number of employees was at or above normal levels, and at least half said staffing was more than 20% down.

Across all operators, 84% told the Association their staffing levels were lower than normal – and 10% said that they thought staffing levels would never return to normal at their restaurant.

Fed: the labor shortage could last months

The US Chamber of Commerce released a report on Tuesday that said the labor shortage was holding back the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Some states and industries had fewer available workers than vacancies, it said.

The Federal Reserve said that the labor shortage could last months, and said that some restaurants had been hiking up prices in response.

Restaurant owners fear they won’t be able to pay rent and the chair of the NYC Economic Development Corporation said that restaurants in the city could take months to find enough staff to function properly.

Restaurants have been offering lucrative perks to lure in new hires. A McDonald’s in Illinois said it would give iPhones to new hires, while another in Florida said it would offer $50 to anyone who came in for an interview.

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Tesla is one step closer to opening a 1950s-style diner at its Los Angeles supercharger station

Tesla
A Tesla supercharger station at Burbank Town Center, in Burbank on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020 in Burbank, CA.

  • Tesla filed with the US trademark office last week to use its brand assets in “restaurant services.”
  • Elon Musk tweeted the idea in 2018, and Tesla applied for permits, but little has happened since.
  • The company says its superchargers can add 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It turns out that Elon Musk might not have been kidding around after all when he tweeted a few years ago about combining a diner with a Tesla supercharger station.

“Gonna put an old school drive-in, roller skates & rock restaurant at one of the new Tesla Supercharger locations in LA,” the Tesla CEO posted back in 2018.

A few months later, the company applied for permits for a “Tesla restaurant and supercharger station” in the adjacent city of Santa Monica, then things went mostly quiet.

But last week, Tesla’s filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office seeking to use its name and logo in offering “restaurant services.” Electrek first reported the filings, which are generally reviewed by an attorney after three months.

Food service and gas stations have long shared real estate, and national brands like Sonic and Checkers have shown that drive-up dining remains broadly popular in the US, not to mention local classics like The Varsity in Atlanta or Keller’s in Dallas.

Musk elaborated on his idea in his 2018 tweets, saying the restaurant menu could appear on a Tesla’s center display screen upon arrival, and that there would be a 1950s theme with classic film clips playing.

But the pairing of a supercharger station with a restaurant is a retro-style solution to a growing challenge for electric vehicles: They’re a hassle to charge.

A recent study found that one in five electric vehicle owners switched back to gas-powered cars due to charging issues. One analyst tested charging the Ford Mach-E on a standard household plug for one hour and only got three miles of range.

While so-called Level Two charging is substantially faster, it’s outpaced by Tesla’s new Level Three charging technology, which the company claims can add 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.

How long does it take to eat a burger?

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