What’s the solution to the labor problem?

If FSD’s editors had found one tried-and-true answer to this question, we’d be millionaires by now. With a national unemployment rate of 4.2% as of September, the hiring pool is continuing to shrink, and operators tell us potential candidates are being drawn to flashier industries or those that are quicker to hire. And no one quite knows yet exactly what President Donald Trump’s September announcement that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will mean for foodservice, both restaurants and noncommercial.

But because ignoring the labor issue simply isn’t an option, FSDs are putting on their fanciest thinking caps to come up with solutions. We asked leaders in a variety of segments to dream big: If they had the opportunity (but the same budget), how would they reinvent the labor wheel at their operations? Some of the answers may be far-fetched, but hey, change has to start somewhere. You never know what the future job market—and operational needs—may hold.

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