Restaurant Industry’s Outlook Improving!

As Restaurant Management Recruiters, we will often see hiring trends before it makes news.  In the last 6 months we have been contacted by many new resstaurant and contract food companies wanting us to find managers for their locations.  This is great news on many fronts. First it’s great because it means that companies are opening new locations and need to hire their management team.  It’s great news because the demographics shows that people are eating out or the restaurant chain would not be opening new locations. And it’s great news that companies have the budget and see the need for using a recruiting agency.  Last week we received job openings for almost 350 management positions – in a single week!

Below is an article published in Nations Restaurant News which validates the same trends we at Patrice  & Associates are seeing in the hospitality industry.

October brought more signs of stability, and possibly recovery, in the restaurant industry as commodity prices eased slightly, same-store sales improved and consumer confidence climbed, an analyst said Monday.
 
Brad Ludington, an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., wrote in his Monthly Restaurant Roundup that various data points from last month indicate that the industry outlook is improving. Ludington pointed in particular to companies with “differentiated brands” that continue to “execute at a higher level than their peers, despite other macro pressures,” such as The Cheesecake Factory Inc., Ruby Tuesday Inc., Darden Restaurants Inc., CEC Entertainment Inc., and Papa John’s International Inc.

Ludington highlighted three key areas with positive signs for the industry:

Commodity prices remain high, but fell slightly in October.

KeyBanc’s Restaurant Commodity Index fell to an average level of 144 in October, down 2.6 percent from September’s high for the year of 147, Ludington said. The October result, however, is 24 percent above the index level of 116 the firm reported for the same month last year.

While corn prices were up in October this year, prices declined for chicken breast, potatoes, eggs and some seafood and produce. Wheat prices also eased somewhat despite ongoing volatility, Ludington said. Dairy prices were relatively flat, but butter prices declined 2 percent in the month, the first monthly decrease since February.

Industry indicators point to improvement.

The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index reached 100.3 in September after four months of languishing below the 100-point benchmark. The Current Situation Index improved in August, with respondents reporting sequentially improving same-store sales, customer traffic and hiring, though capital expenditure activity dropped slightly. The NRA’s Expectations Index stayed above 100 for the 11th consecutive month, and operators said they expect overall same-store sales levels to be higher in the next six months.

In addition, the Knapp-Track survey of same-store sales also rose, with a 1.2-percent uptick in September, the best results the index has seen since mid-2007. Traffic rose 1.4 percent — the best traffic results since December 2006, Ludington noted.

September’s Knapp-Track results also marked the third consecutive month of positive same-store sales after 25 months of declines.

“We continue to believe that performance remains stratified between the best and worst performing chains, but we believe the continued positive index results indicate strength in the sector for high-performing chains,” Ludington wrote.

Slow growth in consumer confidence and private payrolls.

Unemployment stayed at 9.6 percent nationally in September with private sector jobs increasing for the ninth straight month, the report said. Consumer confidence, new home sales and housing starts moved in a positive direction, although still low for the year.

“While economic numbers released in the month of October do not exactly inspire confidence in a rapid recovery, we continue to believe data is moving in the right direction, although slowly,” wrote Ludington.

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    I will forever be grateful for him! He sent my resume out and had interviews set up for me the very next morning. I am so excited for this career move and I owe it to him!     -Hailey Morton Michael Kunkle helped me out so much!
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    After being COVID laid off in 2020; I spent the next year floundering, and looking for work. I had my resume up on all the different sites, and applied to anything that was even close to a good fit. No luck, and very few calls or email responses. Until one day out of nowhere Helen contacted me. Helen was extremely personable, positive, and prepared. After speaking for some time, completing the initial introductions, and basic information. Helen already had a position in mind for me. I sent her all of my relevant documents, and she worked her magic. Just a couple days later she emailed back my beautifully reworked resume, and double checked that I was ready for her to submit to potential employers. Then things went very fast! The next day on a Tuesday I had 2 phone interviews. Then Thursday another interview with the Director. Helen kept in touch every step of the way; calling even when I had forgotten to keep her posted. Then the General Manager contacted me on a Saturday followed by the VP!! Less than a week after Helen had submitted me I had completed the interview process, and was waiting on an offer pending reference & background checks. Helen, again was in amazing communication with me. Discussing my needs from the offer to ensure that when the offer was made; it included everything I wanted. It worked out exactly like that too! In the midst of the whirlwind offer that was exactly what I wanted (something I've never experienced before), and all the different company leaders reaching out to me. Helen was right there with me too. Checking in, sharing in my excitement, and giving me all her congratulations. Again, I had never experienced a hiring process with this much of a personal touch before ever! Definitely never one that was this smooth, and fast. If the Company went a day not talking to me, Helen was on it and reaching out to push the process forward.
    13 months of the unconscionable COVID under employment; with all the stress, worry, and insecurity, doing anything and everything to scrape together as many dollars as possible, to finally land a dream position that is a perfect fit, in my ideal location, industry, and salary. It is all still so unbelievable, and I know Helen was more than a major player. She was the key! The difference maker! I cannot express my level of gratitude for her help, and perseverance. Helen is the most gifted recruiter I have ever interacted with, and should I ever be looking for work, Helen will absolutely be my first call.
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