The Michigan hospitality industry continues to grapple with significant challenges related to staffing issues, rising costs, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the result of a survey by the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, which calls on state and US lawmakers to give more relief.
“As Michiganers seek to return to a life that includes plenty of travel and dining, it has become clear that the nature and speed of that return has put tremendous pressure on the industry and its supply chain,” said MRLA President and CEO Justin Winslow said in a press release. “Restaurant and hotel operators are trying to meet consumer demand, which will surpass 2019 with 100,000 fewer workers and skyrocketing labor and raw material prices. Workers are exhausted and profit margins are thin for many despite resurgent demand.”
The State most pandemic restrictions lifted for restaurants and other businesses on June 1, and Michigan residents and visitors limited their freedoms after a year and a half of catching up in a good news-bad news scenario. Demand has increased, but in many cases the service has not been able to keep up.
The survey found nine out of ten restaurants and almost every hotel in Michigan has insufficient staff.
Further highlights from the survey:
- 88 percent of hospitality respondents work with insufficient staff to meet consumer demand, including:
– 100 percent of the banquet facilities
– 97 percent of the hotels
– 89 percent of the full-service restaurants
– 81 percent of the fast food restaurants
– 67 percent of the bars and nightclubs
- More than four in five respondents said they work at least 10 percent under the adequate headcount, and 29 percent work more than 30 percent under what it takes to meet consumer demand.
- Almost 80 percent of restaurant and hotel operators said they would close early or for certain segments during the day as a direct result of inadequate staffing. For full-service restaurants, this value is over 85 percent.
- 81 percent of the hotels restrict the availability of rooms because they do not have enough staff to provide them for new guests.
- 95 percent of respondents in restaurants and hotels increased wages in 2021, with half having increased wages by more than 10 percent this year.
- More than 70 percent have increased the flexibility in terms of time to approach potential employees, while half offer financial incentives.
- 97 percent said commodity inflation this year, with half reporting price increases of more than 10 percent.
- 28 percent support the latest CDC guidelines recommending indoor masks because they “create a safer and more stable environment to operate,” while 72 percent oppose it because they “rekindle an environment of fear that negatively affects mine Business impacts ”.
- 73 percent of respondents would reject a mandate to New York City that requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry to most indoor facilities, including restaurants and hotels.
- 64 percent of those surveyed are of the opinion that Congress should adopt additional, targeted facilitations for the hospitality industry.
An association for small businesses report of the $ 28.6 billion restaurant revitalization fund applications approved as of June 30, indicated that 3,305 Michigan restaurants were approved for $ 783,906,901. With that number, Michigan ranks 10th in the country in terms of total approved funds.
But the aid will only benefit a fraction of the companies that have applied. In total, the SBA received more than 372,000 requests for a total of more than $ 76 billion, according to the SBA administrator in Congress. A total of 101,004 applications were approved, according to the report. In Michigan, around 8,614 companies applied for relief funds totaling $ 1,912,402,487, according to the report.
The existential challenges for the hospitality industry are not yet behind them, which is why it is so important for Michigan lawmakers and Governor Whitmer to reach an agreement in September that will prioritize hospitality in areas not yet appropriated and federal aid. And why Congress should see fit to pass the Save Hotel Jobs Act and secure a second round of funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, “Winslow said in the press release.
The survey was conducted by the MRLA August 3-6 and included 320 responses from Michigan restaurant and hotel operators representing approximately 1,000 locations nationwide. MRLA members and non-members were given the opportunity to take part in the survey.