Restaurants Focus on Employees as More Closures Loom

The coronavirus pandemic has caused 8,400 retailers and 110,000 restaurants to close across the U.S. this year, according to industry statistics, reported The Economic Times (Dec. 14). And even more closures could be on the way as several U.S. states reimposing indoor dining restrictions.

Despite the bleak outlook, some food companies are doing what they can to support employees during the pandemic. For example, Domino’s will invest more than $9.6 million in frontline workers. The chain said more than 11,500 company-owned store and supply chain hourly employees and drivers will receive a special bonus in December that could be as much as $1,200, reported QSR Magazine (Dec. 14).

Previously, the company paid a bonus to frontline workers at corporate locations and supply chain centers and provided paid time off to part-time employees impacted by the virus.

“We strive every day to uphold our values of doing the right thing and putting people first,” said Domino’s CEO Ritch Allison. “We have the honor and privilege of being open and operating throughout the U.S. during this crisis, and we recognize that we could not be doing it without the hard work and dedication of our team members. This is our way of saying thank you to these remarkable people.”

Starbucks also recently announced that it is planning to raise minimum pay for all workers across the U.S. to $15, according to CEO Kevin Johnson Business Insider (Dec. 10).

In an open letter, Johnson wrote that more than 30% of US workers currently make $15 or more per hour, and that Starbucks is on the path to have every worker make that much in “the coming two to three years.” The company is raising all U.S. workers pay by at least 10% in 2020.

Retail has also been doing its part to help out employees. After ending its $2-an-hour pay raise for workers earlier this year, Amazon will now spend about $500 million on holiday bonuses for employees in 2020, reported CNN (Nov. 27). Frontline U.S. employees will receive a $300 bonus, while part-time employees will get $150. In the UK, employees will receive bonuses of $400 and $200, respectively.

Additionally, about 50,000 Shoprite workers will receive retroactive hazard pay under an agreement brokered by UFCW, reported (Nov. 27). The deal calls for an additional $1 per hour to be paid in a lump sum to workers in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York who worked between July 26 and Aug. 22 and remain employed as of Dec. 5. It also leaves open the possibility of future hazard payment in the case of another COVID-19 outbreak.