It's a great time to be a foodie, but not so much for an operator.
In recent years, the restaurant industry has expanded with so many new innovative concepts.
Several established chains were also hiring to accommodate for growth. Since mid-2009, the industry added 2.3 million jobs. In 2015, consumers spent more at restaurants than at grocery stores.
It's looks as though for several of these big guys, things are slowing down. In 2016, hiring at restaurants and bars started to move at a much more sluggish pace.
“The best times for restaurant employment have passed,” said Ryan Sweet, a Moody’s Analytics Inc. economist. He also said it will take some time for the industry to bounce back and that “it’s unlikely restaurants will be able to duplicate the kind of job gains we’ve seen since the expansion began.”
The QSR brands McDonald's and Subway are not opening as many stores this year and have even closed locations.
As fast food customers are gravitating to other options like prepare foods at grocery markets and meal kit programs and as labor wages increase, chains like Wendy's and McDonald's are turning to automation technology.
Both chains are planning to install hundreds of digital kiosks. Wendy's will be implementing the kiosks ate 300 stores and McDonald's will have these digital systems at 2,500 stores by the end of this year.
These fast food chains aren't the only ones to jump on the technology bandwagon. Danny Meyer's Shake Shack will be opening a store in New York that wont have traditional cashiers.
But this year presented other challenges for restaurants.
Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods has influenced super markets to adapt with new offerings like more ready-to-eat and meal-kit options.
Restaurant guests not only have more restaurant options, but the eat at home market is on the rise.
This along with the higher labor costs and the tough hurricane season, have evidently slowed down hiring.