HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Many people have been struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. And despite many food service employees being considered “essential”, their average salary is still far below that of most other occupations.
In a recent survey by Business.org, Maryland was revealed to have the fourth-lowest average salary for restaurant workers in both sit-down restaurants and fast food places, with these employees earning 58% less than the average job.
Even before the pandemic, restaurants were operating on razor-thin margins. And now, restaurants, especially locally-owned restaurants, are having to scrape together everything they can to keep their staff and pay them what they deserve.
“It’s really been a struggle just keeping things afloat now and for the last six months,” said Rachel Long, co-owner of La Trattoria Pizzeria in Hagerstown. “Last year, initially when the pandemic hit, we were doing well. And things did do better. But now, it really took a hit. So we’ve had to budget big time [and] watch food costs.”
Many restaurants like Long’s have had to partially rely on grants from the state in order to recoup their costs and stay open as the economy continues to waver.