Employee Benefits
July 22, 2021

Webinar Recap: Attracting and Retaining Restaurant Workers

It’s no secret the hourly worker shortage of 2021 is changing the landscape of how employers are having to attract workers. Companies large and small are increasing wages, expanding benefits, offering bonuses, and more just to staff their locations adequately. However, instead of employers just changing how much they are paying employees, they’re also changing how fast they pay employees in order to attract applicants.

Of all the hourly industries, the restaurant industry is feeling this pressure particularly sharply. Restaurants had already been reeling from prolonged COVID restrictions and now the struggle to bring back employees has mounted on top of that. 

As a result, our team at Branch hosted a webinar on June 29th to speak to restaurant hiring challenges and ways to overcome them.  

In case you missed the webinar, you can watch it here, or read this brief summary.

U.S. Employment Trends

In June, there were 8 million job openings while 9.3 million were unemployed. Clearly there are enough employees to fill open positions, but it comes down to incentivizing this population to come back to work. Especially when, according to our Branch Covid 19 Survey, 33% of hourly workers are reevaluating the type of job they want due to the pandemic. 

With wages increasing, employers are competing on how much they’re paying to woo workers their way. Fortunately, changing how quickly they’re paying workers can woo new applicants too.

Outdated Payment Processes

Paying people via paper check or paycard, tipping out via cash, and sticking to a two-week paycycle are all methods that businesses have been using for decades. But these methods haven’t caught up to the other workplace changes of the past several years. As seen below, these practices can be economically detrimental to your organization and miss the mark with attracting workers.

  • Paper checks are inconvenient. They cost your company money, and they require more hassle than they’re worth. Employees miss bills and expenses due to waiting two weeks to get paid.
  • Paycards are often riddled with fees for employees and take management time from your day. Employees suffer exorbitant fees just to earn and spend their wages.
  • Cash tips are inconsistent in a time when most people pay with a card. Not to mention carrying cash on you is risky for theft reasons. Accentuated by the pandemic, card payments are overtaking cash nearly everywhere.
  • And waiting two weeks for any wages is unbearably long for most people—especially when the pandemic has heightened the need to pay people faster and give them access to the wages they’ve already earned, including tips and other one-off disbursements.

Improving Attraction & Retention with Modern Payments

Much of what it means to look after your employees’ financial wellness these days is to give them tools to break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. To provide them free and fair financial services, faster access to their wages and tips, and empower them financially at every turn. Here are some payment methods that can help you accomplish these goals and attract more applicants.

Provide early access to pay 

Earned wage access (EWA) is becoming table stakes to offer hourly employees, in a world where so many people continue to live paycheck to paycheck. Unlike high interest payday loans, EWA is simply the ability for your employees to access the wages they’ve already earned, for shifts already worked, ahead of payday. This service can be incredibly useful in emergencies, when an unexpected car repair or medical bill would otherwise threaten an overdraft fee and a cycle of debt. Instead, employees are able to get access to wages in advance and get back on track. When we surveyed 3,000 hourly workers for our Branch report earlier this year, 94% said accessing pay early would help their financial situation.

Allow for quicker reimbursements

Allowing for easier, faster, reimbursements—for example, paying employees mileage reimbursements after each shift rather than deferring to a paycheck, or pushing tips digitally to employees after each shift—can drastically improve your employees’ financial wellbeing. Getting paid what they’ve earned right after they’ve earned it can help them break the cycle of overdrafting or taking on debt. 

Branch’s Modern Payments—At No Cost

With our mission to help solve the financial challenges of America’s 78 million hourly workers, we have built an industry leading mobile app and desktop solution downloaded by over 1 million hourly workers. Available on both the Apple Store and Google Play Store, hourly workers are able to instantly access Branch in whatever language their smartphone is configured. Here are the powerful tools that can empower your workforce—at no cost to you or your staff.  

Instant Pay

For many employees, dealing with an unexpected medical bill or car repair before payday can result in overdraft fees or increased debt. But with Instant Pay, they can access up to 50% of their earned wages when necessary. Earned wages can be deposited onto the Branch Debit Card instantly and used for their financial needs. Additionally, these earnings can be accessed in cash form with Branch’s over 45,000 free ATMs nationwide. 

Access to wages was the number 1 benefit desired by workers applying for new jobs in 2020. List same-day pay as a benefit on all your job postings and see applicant numbers grow! 


Not only can you provide faster payments to your hourly staff, you can provide them with financial transparency into their spending and earnings. With CashFlow, workers can easily navigate their activity on their Branch Debit Card to see their spending trends and earnings history. With a library of financial wellness articles, your employees can be better equipped to meet their financial goals. 

This level of financial literacy adds trust and confidence in your company as an employer for current and future employees to stay longer. 

Results You Care About

The results of deploying Branch are clear. When offering earned wage access (EWA) to your staff, here are the results:

  • 20% reduction in turnover
  • 2X more likely to apply for job when EWA is listed
  • 20% increase in shift coverage
  • 96% felt they were better able to pay bills on time

Moving Forward

Whether you are a franchise owner, a small business owner, or someone in between, Branch is a fantastic resource to help improve your hiring numbers this year — at no cost. With our numerous technology partnerships, we are able to work with top payroll systems and integrate with new ones as well. 

If you're ready to explore how you can utilize Branch at no cost, click below:

See how Branch works

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