Lehigh Valley Pa – As we all know, the pandemic has taken a big hit on restaurants but, even with things slowly opening, these restaurants are facing another challenge – a lack of employees.
Although these restaurants are getting busier, their employee base is not matching up.
This is causing Da Vinci’s and Town House to limit capacity.
Da Vinci’s owner Chris Bender said they must close rooms and limit seating.
“Yeah, we’re not going to seat every table just to overburden everyone. Whether it be the server or the kitchen, we cannot do that,” she said.
Town House owner Nathan Matheny is in a similar situation due to staff shortages.
“Well, that’s why we haven’t put out 11 more tables outside and three more tables inside,” he said.
And it is not only putting stress on owners.
Da Vinci’s General Manager Trina Mason said, “We have employees right now that are really multitasking, doing the work and jobs of multiple people.”
Sometimes Matheny must do extra jobs on top of being in charge.
“I was on salad station last Friday,” he said.
Bender has resorted to getting creative.
She said, “We’re trying to make it work. You know, calling up former employees, calling up brothers and sisters of current employees, saying ‘hey can you help?’”
Bender even lowered the hiring age without much success.
If you ask these owners why the hiring pool is so small during a time in which so many have lost their jobs, they both have the same theory.
Matheny said, “Government money makes them not want to work because they’re getting more from the government than what they’d be being paid hourly.”
Although it’s hard to pin down an exact cause with all of the complicated situations the pandemic has created, Bender says it’s gotten worse with each stimulus check.
WTAP contacted other restaurant owners and general managers to see what situations they were facing. Below are the answers we got.
- Over the Moon Pub and Pizza has had no issues in hiring recently.
- Parkersburg Brewing Company is currently fully staffed, but they have had issues with getting employees earlier in the pandemic. The general manager believes this is because of how much people were getting paid through unemployment benefits. The restaurant once had a situation in which multiple interviews were lined up in a day and no one showed up.
- Colombo’s has been able to retain most of its staff, but the owner says he’s seen other restaurants in the area struggling with staffing shortages.
- Rubi’s Pizza and Grill is short-staffed and is struggling to fill those gaps. The owner also believes this is due to stimulus checks.