ANN ARBOR, Michigan (AP) – Domino’s, a company seemingly tailor-made for a pandemic, has not been spared a phenomenon that is hitting almost every employer this summer: a severe shortage of workers.
The world’s largest pizza chain has been a star on Wall Street this year with revenues rising as millions have taken refuge in their homes and ordered plenty of pizza.
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Investors sent the company’s shares to record highs over the summer.
On Thursday, however, for the first time in more than a decade, Domino’s Pizza Inc. said sales in established stores were heading in the wrong direction, falling 1.9% in the third quarter. In the same three-month period last year, same-store sales rose an unprecedented 17.5%.
The company also cited pandemic aid money from the United States which ran out in the last quarter, but the company’s goal in Ann Arbor, Mich. Is to find enough employees to keep the pies flowing.
Domino’s has taken steps to attract cooks, drivers and cashiers, but delivery times have lengthened, a potentially dangerous trend in an environment of fierce competition with delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats.
“We believe staffing may remain a significant challenge in the near term as the job market continues to evolve,” Allison said Thursday.
However, the staff shortage is widespread, affecting retail stores, fast food outlets and factories.
Many economists still believe that most of the estimated 3 million people who have lost their jobs and have stopped looking for work since the pandemic hit will resume their research as COVID-19 loosens its grip. It took years after the 2008-2009 recession, they note, for the proportion of people working or looking for work to return.
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The job search site Indeed.com currently lists 14,558 job openings at Domino’s stores in the United States.
In a recent report, the National Restaurant Association said restaurant employment in the United States reached 11.3 million in July, still one million less than the number of employees before the pandemic.
Domino’s-owned stores improved wages and benefits to attract workers. But the vast majority of the company’s US stores are operated by franchisees who set their own rates of pay.
Allison also said the company is trying to make their jobs easier and more engaging. For example, he tries to keep drivers on the road longer so they can collect more tips.
But there are factors beyond the company’s control, Allison said. The pandemic has stifled immigration, for example, and he hopes that will eventually subside.
“We need to see more immigration to continue to have a strong workforce,” Allison said.
Domino’s revenue rose 3% in the third quarter to $ 997.9 million, just short of Wall Street projections.
Domino shares rose 2% on Thursday.
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