Staffing challenges still plague Michigan’s hospitality industry

Data: Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association; Graphic: Thomas Oide/Axios

Inflation and staffing issues are hampering Michigan’s hospitality industry recovery from the pandemic.

Driving the news: More than 80% of restaurants and hotels statewide don’t have enough employees, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association found in a survey released Monday.

  • Nearly 60% of companies say they have shorter hours due to this lack of staff, while the majority say they have had to cancel other lucrative amenities or services, such as lunch at a restaurant or room service at a hotel.
  • Inflation also increases costs, leading 88% of survey respondents to say they have raised prices in the past year.

Zoom out: Small hospitality businesses and their employees have been particularly hard hit nationwide during the pandemic. And restaurants have low profit margins even when they’re operating at their best — and right now they’re not.

By the numbers: In an effort to attract workers, almost everyone who was interviewed by the MRLA said they had increased their salaries in the past year. The most common average salary increase was between 5 and 10%.

  • Some companies also offered hiring or retention bonuses (57%), expanded benefits (27%) and flexible working hours (73%).
  • But few chose to offer childcare services (2%).

Yes, but: Raising the salary does not necessarily reduce it at this time. Even if an employee takes home more money, rising costs for gas and other goods may mean that they still see a net decrease in their salary.

And after: The MRLA wants to create a “targeted campaign” with Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state Legislature to “educate, train and recruit a world-class hotel workforce,” association president Justin Winslow said. in a press release.

Between the lines: Quiana “Que” Broden is the founder and owner of Kitchen by Cooking with Que, an 18-employee cafe and cooking class company in New Center. She needs eight more employees and is now back in the kitchen due to understaffing, she tells Axios.

  • “You can’t work on the vision, because you’re in it,” Broden says.
  • She also sees an increase in food costs: cauliflower has gone from $1.99 per head to $6.99 per head, depending on the day. “And my price (on the menu) is not supposed to change? ” she says.
  • Broden used to offer $2 tacos on Tuesdays, but says she had to raise prices to three tacos for $10.

What they say : Some former food and beverage workers have also turned to other work, Jon Coutts, general manager of the Element Detroit hotel and Monarch Club, told Axios.

  • They’re more about work-life balance and many don’t want to deal with a general audience that has become less patient and more difficult to deal with, he says.

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