Michigan bars and restaurants worried about 2022 outlook

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) says it is concerned about the outlook for 2022 as the Omicron variant is causing a host of issues.

The MLBA says labor shifts and supply chain issues continue to cause problems for many industries, especially the hospitality sector.

The group said it recently carried out a study which found that 70% of bars and restaurants are experiencing staff shortages, with the average shortage equivalent to 36% of the company’s workforce.

According to a recent survey conducted by the MLBA, about 70% of bars and restaurants are facing a staff shortage, with the average shortage equivalent to 36% of the company’s workforce.

“As our industry was shut down during the pandemic, workers in our industry left for other industries that were thriving,” MLBA Executive Director Scott Ellis said. “Another contributing factor to the staff shortage in our industry is the number of workers who want to work from home – especially women, who are the main demographic group in our industry.”

But bars and restaurants aren’t just facing staff shortages. Supply chain disruptions have affected 92% of companies in the industry over the past two years, according to the MLBA survey.

“We are affected by so many different shortages – staff, food, alcohol, delivery drivers, packaging, products and so much more,” Ellis said. “These shortages, coupled with rising commodity costs, have created a distressing scenario for our industry.”

The MLBA says shortages have forced hotel companies to raise prices an average of 14% over the past year. Over the same period, the MLBA says industry revenue has declined an average of 34%.

“Raising prices and reducing opening hours by an average of 20% when incomes are down is the only way many places can survive right now,” Ellis said. “As grant programs and other forms of assistance continue to decline, business owners and staff face an uncertain 2022.”

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