The Wall Street Journal reports on how, while “US restaurants increasingly are seating and serving customers again, after a year when quarantining and seating restrictions forced many to launch online-only food brands or rely on takeout business … servers, hosts and line cooks aren’t similarly rushing back, restaurant owners say – whether because they are fearful of Covid-19, have moved on to other industries or remain on unemployment benefits.”
According to the story, “Nationwide chains and independent eateries alike said they can’t hire enough workers to staff kitchens and dining rooms, just as Covid-19 restrictions relax and more consumers want to eat out again.”
Some examples of what they’re doing to compensate: “Fast-food operators, including owners of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches restaurants, are offering signing bonuses for recruits. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is offering free college tuition to employees who work at least 15 hours a week after four months on the job. Taco Bell is giving paid family leave to company-store managers. McDonald’s Corp. owners are assessing what pay and benefits its U.S. employees most want, to better pitch the Golden Arches as an employer.”
It isn’t just the restaurant industry, of course … there are a lot of business sectors struggling with similar problems. And I’m hearing this a lot – retailers that are having trouble hiring people despite the relatively high unemployment rate.
I do think there is some level of people not wanting to work because of government benefits, but there also is a measure of feeling unsafe. Which is why getting vaccinated and continuing to observe smart public health policies is so important.
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