P.F. Chang's CEO on worker shortages amid labor slump: 'Still understaffed in some locations'

The popular Asian restaurant chain is seeing a spike in its digital business

P.F. Chang’s, known for its Asian fusion cuisine, is not an exception to the nationwide staffing woes challenging businesses across the board. The restaurant joins many in the industry that are struggling to secure workers. 

Damola Adamolekun, the CEO of P.F. Chang’s joined "Varney & Co." Friday to discuss how the company is navigating the shortage and the spike in digital business as a result of COVID.

"We had to look at ourselves as an industry and make sure that we’re being competitive on pay, being thoughtful about employees as people and making sure that we are attractive places for people to choose to come to work," Adamolekun told FOX Business host Stuart Varney.

The labor shortage is the latest crisis to rock the food and service industry after nearly two years of COVID-related lockdowns, which led to closed dining rooms and shuttered businesses.


"You look at kind of pre-pandemic to now, you know, the labor participation is down materially. It’s down from about 63.5% to 62.3% in the latest jobs report. So that’s almost 2 million people that left the labor force," Adamolekun explained.

A picture of a P.F. Chang's chain.

P.F. Chang's CEO joined FOX Business' "Varney & Co." on the same day the May jobs report was released.  (Getty Images)

The reason for the ongoing worker shortage remains unknown, however many have criticized the abundant amount of government stimulus checks for sluggish labor participation.

"We’re still understaffed in some locations, and it holds us back… so there’s a handful of locations where we’re running limited hours or dinner only or closing on certain days," Adamolekun said. 

Aside from the setbacks behind the scenes, digital ordering has been booming for the restaurant chain, making up nearly a third of its business.

"It wasn’t a pandemic-only trend," Adamolekun told Varney

"This is a permanent change in the way that people behave, the way people interact. They’re more comfortable with digital ordering, pick up [and] delivery," he said.

P.F. Chang’s is preparing to open three new flagship stores.