Monday, April 19, 2021
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, March 28, 2020
The Agony of Restaurant Workers
By UHERO @ 6:23 PM :: 1114 Views :: Small Business

The Agony of Restaurant Workers

by Peter Fuleky, UHERO, March 24, 2020

Social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, to reduce the chance of overwhelming the healthcare system, and to save lives. But social distancing has significant economic impacts, hitting dine-in eateries disproportionately hard. Restaurant reservations in Honolulu had already started dwindling before the ban on dining at restaurants and bars went into effect Friday. As the figure illustrates, dine-in activity at restaurants in Honolulu on the OpenTable network has declined from typical levels to essentially zero in three weeks.  Thousands of jobs will be lost as a result.

Figure 1: Year-over-year percentage change of seated diners at restaurants on the OpenTable network in Honolulu across all channels: online reservations, phone reservations, and walk-ins.

Food services are more labor intensive than most other industries. According to the most recent data on occupational employment, in 2018 more than 85,000 people in Hawaii (or 13% of all employees in the state) held food service related jobs. Restaurants cater to both visitors and residents, but due to the state’s large tourism presence, food services occupations in Hawaii are nearly one-and-a-half times more prevalent than for the nation as a whole.

The dine-in ban will not affect all employees equally. Of the total food services occupations, fewer than half were cooks or otherwise directly responsible for food preparation. A number of these jobs may be spared as some restaurants continue to cater to take-out orders. But shifting to take-out will eliminate the need for wait staff serving seated guests. And many restaurants will likely cease operations altogether.  

With the median annual income in the industry at about $30,000, food service employees likely have limited savings and are not prepared to handle a system-wide shock to the visitor and local dining markets. To mitigate financial distress due to temporary job losses, the federal government is considering a rescue package that would include sending checks to individuals. While this will be an important support in the near term, many job losses in Hawaii’s food service industry could last months to a couple of years. Short-term income supplements will not go very far in addressing this longer-term problem.

Categories of food preparation and serving related occupations analyzed on UHERO’s jobs explorer dashboard.

Figure 2: Categories of food preparation and serving related occupations analyzed on UHERO’s jobs explorer dashboard.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii


Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Life Alliance

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii