Restaurant Owners Offering Incentives As Result Of Worker Shortage

CBS4's Hank Tester has more on the shortage of restaurant workers.

Video Transcript

- And South Florida is on the road to reopening, and it has not been easy for a lot of restaurants. They're having trouble hiring workers to wait tables and more. CBS4's Hank Tester explains why here in South Florida and elsewhere, it's become such a challenge.

HANK TESTER: Talk to anyone who's in the South Florida restaurant business, and the conversation goes right to the issue of the difficulty hiring workers, cooks, waiters, you name it.

LYNN HERNANDEZ: It's bad enough that businesses are limiting their capacity, reducing their operating hours, closing on days they're usually open because there's not enough staff to meet the needs of our guests.

HANK TESTER: Bottom line-- many of the longtime restaurant workers can, in the short term, make more money living off unemployment and other state and federal subsidies during the pandemic.

LYNN HERNANDEZ: It's desperate, Hank. We are competing with the federal unemployment. Some of our workers are-- tell us they're making more money staying at home than returning to work.

HANK TESTER: The issue's not confined to South Florida. It is a nationwide dilemma for restaurant owners. In wide-open Texas--

ZEE AZIZ: They went to construction site or some other jobs, which pay more.

HANK TESTER: Same story in the Midwest-- Indiana, for example. They can't find restaurant workers.

PATRICK TAMM: Hiring to secure new-- new employees has been atrocious. There is a lot of individuals that are seeing some great benefits from unemployment, both state and then also for the first time ever, which we've seen in the last year, federal unemployment.

HANK TESTER: So what to do here in Florida? What's the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association advocating?

LYNN HERNANDEZ: We asked Senator Scott and Senator Rosen to please, please note that the unemployment benefits need to be monitored. We need folks to come back to work.

HANK TESTER: And where to find workers in the meantime? Well, working with high schools, trade schools, even homeless shelters. And--

LYNN HERNANDEZ: Many of our restaurants and hotels are offering some incentives and-- and some competitive rates to-- for folks to come back.

HANK TESTER: Some restaurants are offering signing bonuses. And we tried to get restaurant owners to comment for this story. They all decided they didn't really want to because it looked bad for their business. But they wanted us to remind everybody that they are hiring.

I'm Hank Tester, CBS4 News.