Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s Hospitality in the News topic: what skills are needed in hospitality to help close the labor shortage.  

What Skills are Needed in Hospitality to Help Close the Labor Shortage?

In a recent RestaurantDive article, the CEO of a major hospitality company discussed how the biggest staffing challenge they’re facing is finding skilled labor; “there is a surge in demand for skilled workers, yet the industry is struggling to attract and retain.”  

Regardless of the reasons, the hospitality industry is in fact continuing to face a labor shortage – and has been since businesses reopened post COVID-19. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Leisure and Hospitality added 17,000 jobs in July. And while that’s “consistent with a slowing trend after averaging gains of 67,000 a month in the first three months of 2023,” it’s still adding to a talent pool that’s stretched pretty thin. Plus, there’s still hundreds of thousands of job openings that haven’t been filled to add to the list.  

In order to continue closing the labor shortage gap, we need to define what skills are needed in hospitality, because “skilled workers” is a broad description. Do they need great soft skills, like communicating well with guests and time management? Or is this CEO referring to finding hospitality workers who have suitable hands-on restaurant experience? If so, in what positions? (And are we to assume that these experienced restaurant candidates are unemployed and/or interested in new opportunities?) 

Having hands-on hospitality experience is important, don’t get us wrong. But with a thorough training program, workers can be taught what they need to know. What can’t be taught (or is much harder to teach) are soft skills; the interpersonal skills you need to work in a position that prioritizes guest experience.  

When thinking about what skills are needed in hospitality, consider what qualities you want a worker to have. Willingness to learn and be trained? That’s a soft skill. Working well with coworkers? Soft skill too. Patience, desire to go above and beyond, time management, positive attitude – the qualities a worker needs to have to create a great guest experience – are all soft skills.  

Hiring people with great soft skills will open your talent pool. Think about it. How many people do you know with leadership skills? At least a few. How many people do you know with at least 1 year of restaurant experience? We can almost guarantee you know more people with leadership skills. Plus, wouldn’t you rather have a reliable, communicative employee with an amazing attitude that you have to train as opposed to an employee you don’t have to train but has a bad attitude and doesn’t want to be there? We know which employee we’d rather work with.  

So when considering what skills are needed in hospitality, of course culinary skills and serving/bartending skills and dishwashing skills are needed. Labor shortage or not, that will always be true. But why not create more opportunities for yourself and your local workforce by focusing your efforts on hiring for great soft skills rather than just technical experience? You’ll be happy with the results.  


If your hiring needs include professional, experienced hospitality staff, LGC has got you covered. Our proven recruiting methods have allowed us to build an incredible workforce over the past two decades. Contact us to learn more about our staffing solutions. 

About LGC
Since 2003 LGC has been building connections between businesses with staffing needs and job seekers looking for new opportunities. Our range of solutions include temporary and permanent placements (and everything in between) in a variety of industries. With offices located nationwide, we can tap into a dynamic pool of talented professionals. We have a passion for creating partnerships that last and work hard every day to ensure both clients and candidates reach their employment goals.