NEW YORK ? According to data released by the National Restaurant Association, foodservice hiring accounted for nearly 30% of the 96,000 jobs created in August, the 19th consecutive month of growth for the industry, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports.
The foodservice industry expanded payrolls this year by 2.9% through August, more than double the 1.4% increase in total U.S. employment, according to Labor Department data.
Chains such as Wendy?s and Starbucks are thriving even as total restaurant traffic remains at pre-recession levels. According to NPD Group, Americans ate at restaurants 61 billion times in the 12 months ending July 31, down from 62 billion visits four years ago.
NPD said QSRs are receiving an uptick in business, a result of weak job gains and stagnant wages, which send consumers searching for value.
?Overall, the market?s relatively flat,? NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs said. ?There are segments that are doing well. A lot of that growth is coming within the fast-casual segment and QSR.?
Some analysts see the hiring increase as a move by operators to restore customer service, which was sacrificed during recent cutbacks.
?They?ve all been through the period where they cut too much labor,? said Malcolm Knapp, a New York-based foodservice industry consultant. ?The quality suffered, the experience suffered.? Now, he said, in addition to opening new locations, ?they?re also trying to make sure they serve their guests.?
Wendy?s plans to build 20 restaurants this year and is also revamping its workforce, part of a concerted effort to improve customer service, the company announced earlier this year.
?We understand the importance of our customers receiving a reliable and a predictable experience every time they visit,? said CEO Emil Brolick in August.