COVID-19 has impacted all of us, but the restaurant industry has had to face particularly challenging obstacles. Sit-down restaurants have had to either pivot their entire operating strategy to takeout and delivery or shut down altogether. And while many quick serve restaurants (QSRs) remain in business, they've also had to make changes that impact their workers. Our latest survey of how COVID-19 has affected the hourly workforce shows just how intensely the food service industry has been impacted so far.
- 78% of workers have a smaller or no paycheck, and 45% of those are restaurant workers.
- Less than 10% of restaurant workers are receiving sick pay or paid shutdown leave, and only 8% are receiving bonus or emergency pay.
- Overall employment confidence is much lower for food service workers.
For QSRs that remain open during this time, how can you help your employees navigate the new economic and health concerns that are now a part of daily life?
How QSRs Can HelpTheir Employees Right Now
It can be easy for anyone to feel helpless or anxious right now, but there are still ways you can support your employees and help your company succeed during this difficult time. Here are three things you can do to address some of your employees' current financial obstacles and help bolster your business, too.
1. Offer Instant Pay
When your employees have an unforeseen expense pop up—say, a car repair or a medical bill—it can completely derail their finances. If you offer instant pay (also known as earned wage access) your employees can access their earned wages ahead of payday if such a situation occurs. This accomplishes several things:
- Prevents them from taking payday loans, which can be high-interest and risky.
- Relieves financial pressure, which not only improves your employees’ wellbeing, but boosts their productivity at work, too.
- Helps them avoid overdraft fees in the short-term so their longer-term goals of building up a savings fund or becoming more financially stable aren’t deterred.
Branch allows employees to access their funds at no cost—to both your employees and your business. Offering this feature will also help you retain and attract more employees because you're offering the financial wellness benefits that are most meaningful to hourly workers.
2. Switch to Contactless Payments
In today’s current climate, switching to contactless payments is another way you can help your employees from both a financial and safety perspective. Contactless payments can address the fear of exposure that many employees have—as well as help them get paid faster. For example, if you currently offer paper checks, switch to mobile deposits. If you currently tip out your employees with cash, switch to digital payments for tips, too. Tipping out your employees digitally also lets them collect their tips immediately after their shift ends, as opposed to waiting until there’s the right change in the till.
Related: Learn how Domino’s franchises are using Branch to help their employees get their tips faster.
3. Provide Paid Sick Time and Easy Shift Swapping
It should go without saying, but making sure sick employees can stay home is crucial during this time. You want to keep everyone healthy and have business run smoothly at the same time. Offering paid sick time and making sure that employees can easily swap or pickup shifts on their own will encourage employees to stay home if they’re sick—and make it easier for other team members to cover their shifts if need be.
We know that everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. But by making sure your employees have quicker, safer access to their earnings, you can help them address their financial challenges and keep your business up and running during this unprecedented time.