As the US is getting back to what used to be “normal”, employers, especially in the food industry are struggling with a weird problem: they cannot find people to work.
Many restaurants & other food service employers are ramping up to capitalize on the increased consumer spending after a year of pandemic, but they are struggling to hire workers despite adding new perks & benefits.
Grocery and restaurant executives say increased unemployment benefits and federal stimulus checks are making it harder to find people willing to work. Meanwhile, Surveys have shown some people say they aren’t working because they worry about spreading or contracting Covid-19.
Linda Iglesias, 29, from Dallas, TX who worked in the restaurant industry as a manager for a major franchise says, she is not going back to restaurant work because “she found better jobs with better security” at Amazon.
Matt Glassman, the owner of the Greyhound Bar & Grill in Los Angeles, said unemployment has made it harder to rehire staff, but added that it’s more complicated than people not wanting to work. Glassman’s restaurant has been closed since last summer and will reopen in May at reduced capacity. For servers and bartenders, fewer patrons means less tips — which means that they’re putting their health at risk while making less money than they would on unemployment. Glassman said he pays servers and bartenders $15 an hour before tips, and that before the pandemic, it wasn’t unusual for a bartender’s hourly wage to come out to $50 or $60 after tips. “Now that number is going to be closer to $25 to $30,” Glassman said.
For now, executives say higher costs for pay and benefits, as well as the hassle of deploying existing staff to new stores, are weighing on operations, potentially preventing them from grabbing more sales.