NOW HIRING! How Birmingham Restaurant Week is Helping the Restaurant Labor Shortage
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic took a serious toll on restaurants across America. Unfortunately, Birmingham’s award-winning restaurant scene was no stranger to this trend. Restaurant owners fought with blood, sweat and tears to keep their businesses open and staffed, but in many circumstances that was not always possible. Though health reports show the pandemic has slowed its spread, allowing a sense of normality to return, restaurants still face repercussions from the changes of the past 15 months – the biggest of these obstacles being the labor shortage.
There are 37,000 people employed at restaurants and bars in the Birmingham-Hoover area as of March 2021 according to preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That number is down 9.3 percent from 40,800 a year prior. As excited patrons seek to be seated and served after months of take-out and curbside, they are now being denied service due to lack of restaurant staff such as servers, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers and more.
Because of the shortage, many local eateries are seeking new hires. BRW continuously strives to give back to our community, which is why we are seeking to help our participating restaurants fill vacant positions this year. The urgency to get restaurants, bars, food trucks and others staffed is crucial so that we can continue to feed Birmingham and bring the community together through food.
BRW’s mission is to connect individuals seeking employment in the culinary industry with BRW participating restaurants who are looking to hire. To combat this issue, BRW has created our Culinary Job Recruitment Application, where individuals seeking employment can fill out this simple form with their contact info, availability, experience, desired position and can easily upload a resume and more. Then, we’ll pass this information along to BRW participating businesses who are seeking employees.
In addition to the application, job seekers may also view a database of BRW participants who are hiring. The database will showcase each hiring restaurant, available positions and how individuals may apply if they wish to make personal connections and provide unique first impressions. Both the application and the database give interested job seekers an added edge and a higher chance of being hired because their information will be shared to hiring restaurants, bars and food trucks.
“During the pandemic, many restaurants were able to avoid closing their doors by offering curbside pick-up, to-go and delivery services, but now restaurants are facing labor shortages that make operating normally challenging,” said Bill Stoeffhaas, Co-Founder of BRW. “With BRW, our goal is not only to promote locally-owned restaurants, but also to provide assistance to them where there are pain points, so this will definitely be a strong focus in the months leading up to BRW and beyond.”
With promotion of the initiative in all BRW marketing channels, BRW hopes this will provide a one-stop shop for interested candidates to find jobs in the restaurant industry and to fill a need for restaurants who aren’t able to actively market openings and communicate them to the public.