Four Factors Contributing to Hospitality Labour Shortage

Black Box Intelligence and Snagajob surveyed former and current hospitality employees and discovered it’s not the unemployment benefit deterring them from the industry.

The report gained its data from a Snagajob survey of over 4,700 current and former restaurant workers. The goal was to investigate the factors contributing to the labour shortages that have restaurant operators struggling to find new workers and retain their staff.

According to Black Box Intelligence, more than two-thirds of current and former restaurant workers said disrespectful customers are a contributing factor to the industry's labour shortage.

Almost half of those workers said emotional abuse from their managers swayed their decision to either stay or leave the industry. 15 percent said managers or co-workers sexually harassed them, and 15 percent said customers sexually harassed them.

The main factors Black Box Intelligence discovered were wages, childcare, opportunities in other industries, and mental and physical health concerns.


For the first time, the American hourly worker has the higher ground in wage conversations. Millions are asking themselves whether they're satisfied with their current job. In response, restaurants are offering better compensation and incentives.

According to the survey, 29 percent of respondents were drawn to the restaurant industry for its earning potential. 51 percent said flexible hours were another key factor. However, 87 percent of respondents said they would rather have a set living wage than tips.


The staffing crisis has also affected childcare, and restaurant workers with children struggle to re-join the workforce because of the lack of care available. According to Snagajob, 35 percent of current workers and job seekers are parents, and 18 percent of former workers had to leave jobs to care for their families or children.


When restaurants closed during the pandemic, many workers switched to other sectors like warehousing and logistics. They didn’t leave the workforce – they left the restaurant industry.

28 percent left for higher pay, 23 percent said they needed more consistent income. 17 percent reported a lack of promotional opportunities. Others blamed the work hours or work culture.

Mental and Physical Health

Covid has taken a mental toll on everyone, and many workers say they don’t feel safe working in restaurants due to fear of Covid exposure.

65 percent of workers want customers to wear masks, and 83 percent said they intend to wear a mask to keep themselves safe whilst working.

Mask requirements, though, have resulted in the emotional abuse and disrespect from customers workers are reporting.