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More than half of all restaurant owners say business is as good or better than it was pre-pandemic, but staffing shortages are keeping some from operating at full capacity in their dining rooms, according to a national survey.

Many restaurants report an influx of in-person diners this summer, but they have had to turn some business away because they do not have enough workers to keep pace with customer volume for on-site dining, according to a recent Popmenu survey. As a result, more restaurants are relying on tech to help bridge labor gaps.

Key findings in Popmenu’s survey include:

  • 51% of restaurants report they do not have the staff needed for on-premises dining this summer
  • 52% of restaurant operators say customers are not likely to get a reservation with them on the same day they request one
  • 33% of restaurants say they are unable to operate at full capacity
  • 59% of consumers order their meals online more often because of long wait times or no available seating at restaurants
  • 76% say their restaurants have adopted new tech or increased their tech usage to manage the labor shortage, ranging from online ordering and contactless dining to digital waitlisting and AI phone answering.

While more than half of restaurant owners and operators say their business has reached or surpassed pre-pandemic sales, they can’t take full advantage of the demand for on-premises dining because they’re short-staffed,” Brendan Sweeney, CEO and co-founder of Popmenu said in a statement announcing the survey results.

“This can be incredibly frustrating for restaurateurs — and their customers — which is why more are relying on guest-facing technology to make operations more efficient and capture revenue opportunities that would have otherwise been missed,” Sweeney said. “For consumers, a little patience, planning ahead and staying connected with the restaurant will help ensure you’re next on the guest list.”