The level of non-compliance in the QSR space is deeply concerning. Over a fifth of the employers do not even pay minimum wages and nearly a fourth don’t grant any leaves apart from weekly offs

In line with FSSAI compliance guidelines, Teamlease Services highlights the need for abiding by regulatory compliance for employee well-being

Companies in the QSR sector should effectively manage regulatory compliance aspects like salary, incentives, statutory bonuses, ESIC, gratuity and leaves to support the sector’s projected upward trajectory

National, April 30, 2024: With India’s food sector undergoing explosive growth, the country’s Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) sector is projected to reach a milestone of USD 38.71 billion by 2029, accompanied by rapid national expansion in the coming years. As QSR brands rapidly scale their operations to meet this rising demand, TeamLease Services Limited, India’s leading staffing conglomerate revolutionizing employment, employability, and ease of doing business, has highlighted the concerning state of non-compliance in this rapidly expanding sector. There is an immediate attention required from industry stakeholders since non-compliance can lead to legal penalties, reputational damage, and operational disruptions for businesses operating in the QSR sector.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is actively addressing food safety issues by educating players in the food services domain about regulatory compliance. It has made it mandatory for restaurants to prominently display food safety boards that list the dos and don’ts regarding hygiene, sanitation, good manufacturing practices (GMP), and other relevant guidelines. Additionally, restaurants are required to employ trained food safety supervisors on their premises. FSSAI is also expediting the registration process of Food Business Operators (FBOs) to ensure strong compliance with its guidelines. Currently, out of the 2.5 million FBOs in the country, only 0.5 million (20%) have an FSSAI license.

From the perspective of managing the workforce effectively in this fast-paced food service industry, it is suggested that companies in the QSR sector must prioritize compliance to ensure the well-being of their employees, maintain customer trust, and sustain long-term success in the industry. The QSR sector is experiencing high attrition rates with a monthly average of 10-40% employee turnover. Around 75% of the workforce has a tenure less than 3 years, with 36% serving for just 1 to 2 years. One of the reasons behind the high attrition rate is the subpar compensation levels and practices as well. The average salary of 88% of the workforce varies between INR 15,000-20,000. It is even more concerning that 12% earns less than INR 15,000 which is less than the minimum wage threshold for many states in India. Additionally, around 64% of the QSR workforce does not receive any incentives.

Alarmingly, 21% of QSRs are non-compliant in terms of statutory benefits as they fail to meet minimum wage requirements. Also, 30% of them neglect to provide statutory bonuses. In the absence of bonuses and incentives, employees may struggle to find the drive to perform at their best. It impacts overall operational efficiency and customer service quality.

23% of QSRs are not compliant with the Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) provision that ensures medical care for employees earning less than Rs.21,000. This oversight compromises employee well-being and reflects a disregard for regulatory obligations.

Gratuity benefits in the sector are also a matter of concern. While 58% of the QSR chains extend gratuity benefits to employees with 5-year tenures, the proportion of eligible employees is significantly low due to high attrition rates.

24% of the surveyed QSRs do not provide any leaves beyond standard weekly offs, potentially contributing to employee burnout and dissatisfaction.

Kartik Narayan, CEO of Staffing, TeamLease Services Limited, said, “As a leading staffing partner, we have witnessed firsthand the impact of non-compliance on both the workforce and business operations. Nearly 75% of QSR employees have tenures less than 3 years, with over a third lasting just 1-2 years. This is further fueled by issues like subpar pay, lack of incentives, and failure to provide statutory benefits. These findings are indeed a wake-up call for the QSR industry.”

“An unmotivated workforce leads to high turnover rates, operational disruption and compromised customer service, thereby affecting the overall profitability. Therefore, the QSR sector must prioritize fair labour practices, competitive compensation, and robust compliance measures. Addressing these workforce challenges is not just an ethical imperative but a strategic business necessity for the industry’s long-term sustainability and success,” he added.

Balasubramanian A, Vice President & Business Head of TeamLease Services Limited, said, “While the QSR industry is undergoing rapid growth, there is a need to uphold compliance standards. There are alarming gaps like failing to provide minimum wage and neglecting statutory bonuses. Also, nearly 24% of QSR businesses do not provide any leaves beyond standard weekly offs, 4 in a month. Only a few of them prioritize employee satisfaction by allowing leave carry-forwards and accommodating extended leaves for personal reasons. This oversight erodes employee morale, and undermines customer trust. These practices largely explain why the average age of employees in the QSR space is in the low 20s. They see this as a first step but definitely not even as a near term let alone a long term career option.

By partnering with experienced staffing and compliance experts and leveraging advanced tools, QSRs can navigate this complex landscape while prioritizing their workforce’s well-being.”

Effectively managing workforce policies on salary, incentives, statutory benefits, and leave entitlements is crucial for sustainable growth. Industry leaders, policymakers, and regulators must collaborate to implement robust compliance measures, fostering an environment that promotes fair labour practices and employee welfare. By upholding ethical standards and creating a positive work environment, QSR businesses can cultivate a motivated workforce and ensure long-term success.

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