It’s a Wage Shortage, Not a Worker Shortage

Why Restaurant Workers, Particularly Mothers, Are Leaving the Industry, and What Would Make Them Stay

The COVID-19 outbreak has had devastating impacts on the restaurant industry, with 6 million workers losing work temporarily or permanently. Tipped restaurant workers, who are over two-thirds women, reported facing dramatically decreased tips and increased health risks and harassment in restaurants during the pandemic. This report documents the massive exodus of workers from restaurants, their reasons for leaving, and what would make them stay.

Over half – 53 percent – of workers reported that they are considering leaving their restaurant job and 76 percent say they are leaving due to low wages and tips. The vast majority of all respondents – 78 percent – report having a full, stable, livable wage would make them consider staying at their job.


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