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Distributor driver salaries in the summer of 2021 averaged $79,000 compared to $70,000 in 2020 while warehouse workers earned an average of $50,000 in the summer of 2021 compared to $42,500 in 2020, according to a recent compensation survey conducted by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA).

5 things: Distributor driver, warehouse salaries rocketing up, IFDA survey finds

This and a severe labor shortfall impacting University of California campus dining programs are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Labor shortages force closures, menu reductions at UC campuses

Multiple University of California campuses are facing severe labor shortages in their dining halls, impacting employees’ and students’ on-campus dining experiences. Dining halls at UCLA that typically have 1,092 staff members currently have only 595 positions filled, while UC Irvine student positions are filled to 46% and full-time staff positions are filled to 84% of what they normally are and UC Riverside, which typically employs 800 to 900 student workers, currently has about 240. As a result, not all dining hall locations are open on the UCLA, UC Merced, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC San Diego campuses, and menus are limited compared to the food options available pre-pandemic.

Read more: Dining hall labor shortages lead to longer lines, low-quality food across UC

  1. IFDA survey finds large salary increases for drivers, warehouse workers

Distributor driver salaries in the summer of 2021 averaged $79,000 compared to $70,000 in 2020 while warehouse workers earned an average of $50,000 in the summer of 2021 compared to $42,500 in 2020, according to a recent compensation survey conducted by the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA). The results based on confidential surveys from 117 distribution companies providing data for 555 locations nationwide between June 1 and August 31, 2021 found that some 66% of foodservice distributors say they now offer above market wages in addition to incentive pay and bonuses for drivers and warehouse team members while 50% say the labor shortage has worsened over the past three months and 83% said they have experienced significant or extreme difficulty recruiting drivers.

Read more: Truck driver salary increases as pandemic, supply chain shortage persists

  1. Chartwells to host “Thank-Ful” event at all of its 300 campuses

Chartwells Higher Education will host a "Thank-Ful" nationwide event at all of its 300 partner campuses on November 18, 2021 aimed at bringing students together through food, offering thanks and giving back to local communities. As the second of four signature Joy-Ful events, Thank-Ful will bring students together for a Friendsgiving meal, feature give-back projects to fight food insecurity on campus and in local communities, and promote acts of gratitude and thanks for students and staff. As part of Thank-Ful's give-back component, the company will be donating 100 meals at each of its 300 partner schools for students in need.

Read more: Chartwells Higher Education Launches Nationwide Friendsgiving Event, Donates 30,000 Meals to Fight Food Insecurity on College Campuses

  1. District hiring high schoolers at staff rate to fill labor gap

Some Missouri high school students will be paid to work for their district as administrations struggle to find other applicants amid a nationwide labor shortage. Earlier this month, Northwest School District in Missouri hosted a job fair to hire high school students for jobs in food service, childcare, custodial services and maintenance. Each hired student can work a maximum of 19 hours and will be paid the staff rate ranging from $9.75 to $14.68 an hour while getting real-world job experience. “Some of the positions have been short-staffed since last year,” district COO Kim Hawk says. “We just have struggled to find any help at all, and if you drive around and look at the help-wanted signs everywhere, you know the competition is stiff. So, we knew we had to come up with some other plan.”

Read more: Students hired for custodial, cafeteria jobs at Missouri schools amid labor shortage

  1. Rockefeller Center upping its dining game with notable new openings

The onsite dining environment at Rockefeller Center increasingly seems poised to become one of Manhattan’s premier dining destinations, with several of the city’s top restaurants and bars opening concepts at the Midtown complex in the coming months. French bistro Frenchette is debuting a new restaurant this winter and Olmsted, King, and the two-Michelin-starred Atomix are setting up shop in the development next spring while more casual concepts such Other Half Brewery and Brooklyn’s Ace’s Pizza are on track to open later in November and an outpost of Breads Bakery is planned for early next year.

Read more: Will We All Be Eating at Rockefeller Center Next Year?

Bonus: Sustainability remains a priority despite the pandemic

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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