Business

When the diner returns, the restaurant faces new hurdles: find workers

Miami — all day, Downtown Coffee shop And the restaurant started this year with a lot of attention. January was the busiest month since the pandemic began. “It was like turning on a lamp,” said owner Camilla Ramos.

According to Ramos, the business was so good that the all-day staff almost reached their limits. When she struggled to hire reinforcements to help increase traffic, she was forced to make counterintuitive decisions: she was closed all day during February.

“I couldn’t find a hire,” she said last weekend outside the cafe, which reopened on March 1.

Ramos quickly discovered what full-service restaurant owners across the country are currently experiencing. Worker shortage In the face of a business turnaround, mild weather for outdoor dining has spread nationwide, coming early to South Florida, along with the relaxation of Covid restrictions currently felt throughout the United States.

“I don’t think this has ever happened,” he said. Katie Baton, Chef and partner of two restaurants in Asheville, NC “Everyone in the world is hiring at the same time.”

In a business devastated by mass dismissals and an astonishing number of pandemics, staff shortages seem counterintuitive. Permanent closure..It’s just Restaurant Revitalization FundA $ 28.6 billion grant program to struggle with small restaurants, bars and restaurant groups is preparing to accept applications, and diners who have eaten at home for a year are increasingly being released by vaccines. I feel that.

Employment at a restaurant Is rising every month According to the National Restaurant Association, the number of full-service restaurants in February this year was 20%, or 1.1 million, more than it was a year ago. (Employment at quick service restaurants and fast casual restaurants fell by just 6% over the same period.)

Full-service restaurant owners and chefs say the main reason staff remains stubbornly low is that there are far more jobs available than workers available.

Hugh AchesonA chef with restaurants in Atlanta and Athens, Georgia, is serving food and drink at the new restaurant. Hotel Effie Sandestin, Located in Miramar Beach, Florida. When it opened in February, he said, an online job site was promoting more than 300 cook jobs in the same area. “And those lists were up, for example, for two months,” he said.

Worker knobs even inspire memes on social media.Chef Jeremy Fox Recently advertised Job listings at his three restaurants in Santa Monica, California. The ad includes a picture of Mr Fox in an empty restaurant under the heading “When I’m hiring a cook, and so are all restaurants.”

All Day’s new executive chef, Madison McClaren, joked that he was considering posting on the dating site Tinder. “Responsible cooks want the same thing.”

But fierce competition for workers is the only reason for the shortage of workers.

According to restaurant owners, many ex-employees choose not to re-employ when they can earn about the same or more income from collecting unemployment benefits.

“Sometimes it’s better not to work than to work, and you can’t blame people for wanting to keep it going for as long as possible,” Fox said.

Some have quit the restaurant business in search of higher-paying jobs in other areas. Greg Wright, 34, said he had decided not to return to work as a sous-chef. Marlowe & Sons, Brooklyn, just after the shutdown in March last year. After that, I moved to the Bay Area and started training to become a computer programmer.

“For me,’Do you want to sit here and work in the next two, three, or five years?'” Said Wright. “The answer was’absolutely not.’ . “

Liz Murray, director of human resources and communications for the company that owns Marlow & Sons, said employees left the company for a variety of reasons. Some people moved from New York to their hometown, found a job at a restaurant there, and then stayed there.

Spokesperson Crafted hospitality, The company that runs the chef Tom ColicchioAccording to the restaurant, 80-85% of the group’s kitchen employees have moved from New York City.

Sean Xie is Chief Financial Officer and Managing Partner of a company that operates 13 restaurants in Sichuan. Chengdu taste And Mian, California, Nevada, Washington, Texas, Hawaii. In most of those states, government support and competition from companies like Amazon are “very difficult to compete” for talent without raising salaries and wages to levels that his business can’t support. He said.

“We sometimes close one or two stores just because we don’t have staff,” Xie said. “We want to stay open and even expand.”

Executive Chef and Owner Eric Williams virtueHis staff of 22 employees, a restaurant in the south of Chicago, said it was about half the size of the pre-pandemic. “Recently, people haven’t even appeared in interviews,” he said.

“Suddenly, you need to increase overtime and you run the risk of burning your staff,” Williams said, if he couldn’t hire more help before his business expanded as outdoor dining grew. It was.

The tight job market has helped accelerate the changes restaurant workers sought during closure, such as higher wages and better working conditions. Mr. Button One fair wage, A service worker advocacy group, pays a $ 150 bonus to employees who refer new employees who have been at work for more than 90 days.

He said the starting salary for Mr. Atchison’s Atlanta restaurant kitchen employees was $ 14 to $ 15 per hour, from $ 12 before the pandemic. “People will pay more to walk down the street — and they should,” he said.

Program Director, Mike Traud Department of Food Hospitality Management At Drexel University in Philadelphia, he said the fierce competition for talent is a great opportunity for people to enter the restaurant business. He said this was especially true in the northeast, where coastal restaurants employ it during the tourist season.

“You have more leverage,” he said, “and there are more opportunities to enter a higher level kitchen.”

However, many people may hesitate to start or return to work in a restaurant because of their health risks. Some studies Especially linked to serving customers indoors. Many restaurant owners are also concerned that immediate resumption of indoor meals could lead to a further surge in Covid infections. (This week, the Aspen Institute’s Food and Social Program Safety guidelines We worked with other industry groups to develop it so that diner and restaurant employees can continue to follow. )

Some restaurants, such as Miami’s All Day, still only serve outdoors due to concerns, even if indoor dining restrictions are relaxed. Unvaccinated staff And customers—and opening more tables only puts more stress on staff who have already gone too far.

In Miami, the struggle to find restaurant workers will not end soon. New York restaurant owner, Major food groupHurry to open a place in South Florida, there Population is growing rapidly..

Maki AlinaA popular Italian restaurant in Miami Beach, had to close one day in January due to lack of staff.chef Niven Patel He is the owner of some of the two restaurants in Coral Gables and will open another restaurant this summer. “At our meetings, finding staff every week is a top priority,” he said.

Ramos is pleased that the power of the market has encouraged her to make the changes she wanted to make a better workplace at her all-day cafe. “Previously, I had to pay a generous amount,” she said. “Now we need to charge what we need.”

But even with high salaries, 32-year-old Ramos began looking for potential job seekers among his clients. One new employee is a former real estate agent. The other was a day trader.

“I usually need at least three years of experience, with zero exceptions,” Ramos said. “Now I am” Have you been here several times? I will train you “

Tehal Lao and Rachel Wharton contributed to the report.



When the diner returns, the restaurant faces new hurdles: find workers

Source link When the diner returns, the restaurant faces new hurdles: find workers

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