DWYM: Why it's so hard for restaurants to find good workers

DWYM: Where are the workers?
Posted at 10:03 AM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-27 11:05:50-04

Wonder why your local restaurant doesn’t have enough servers, or why drive-through lines seem to be getting very long?

In many cases, it’s because the restaurant can’t find enough workers.

The battle is on - for workers.

As the economy rebounds, restaurants and other businesses are finding it's hard to find people to work right now.

It's "help wanted," basically everywhere.

"There's tons of opportunities there, and you don't know what might happen," said Meggan Jones, who said she was stunned by how many open positions she found job hunting this spring.

There's so many openings that companies are now boosting pay.

Hardest hit is the restaurant business.

"Everyone in our industry is hiring right now, it’s actually hard to find people to work," said restaurant owner Jose Salazar, who says he is struggling to find chefs and servers for his three restaurants.

Randy Reichelderfer is facing the same fight.

"It's frustrating," Reichelderfer said. "You can't get people to show up. You can't get ... you can't hire people."

To find and keep good employees, restaurants have to offer more and more perks these days.

Chipotle says it has one of the best retention rates in the business because of its college tuition reimbursement program for many of its workers.

The national restaurant association blames 3 factors:

  • People are afraid to work in a close restaurant environment.
  • Workers switching from cooking and serving to driving for Door Dash and Uber Eats.
  • And unemployment benefits that often exceed pay for some jobs.

"In our opinion, it takes away the urgency of coming out and seeking viable employment," said John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association.

That restaurant group hopes the worker pool expands this fall, as benefits finally run out.

Until then, you'll find plenty of openings so don't waste your money.