Big Apple restaurants can only afford half of their pre-epidemic indoor capacity – and yet they still don’t have enough help to make it work.
Despite sky-high unemployment and increased vaccination efforts, eateries are being crushed by a shortage of workers on both the kitchen and the floor. This is part of a national hiring crisis in several industries, reported this week by Lisa Fickenscher of The Post.
“It’s as bad as I’ve ever seen in my 17 years in New York,” said Bernard Colin, a fellow in the Upper East Side’s Orsay, La Golu and Bar Italia. He alleged “a lack of greater labor on government aid, where people live in houses and keep their cash in their pockets.”
Workers can receive $ 805 a week between New York State unemployment benefits and federal pandemic unemployment compensation.
Restaurant Group owner Jeremy Vladis, who oversees the new Hachi Maki, Good Enough to Eat and Harvest Kitchen, echoed, “Nobody wants to leave their couch.” The American public has made a habit of doing nothing. “
Others attribute COVID-19 apprehensions and difficulty in hiring the city of employees who had previously worked in restaurants to support their now-stalled show careers, from last year’s exodus.
Stephen Starr, who owns nine Manhattan locations including Vishal Budakan and Clocktower, said, “We had a vacation to places like Lansing, Michigan. Our chef at Electric Lemon [at Hudson Yards] Moved to Milwaukee, where his wife’s family is. “
No one knows more about this problem than Rick Camac – the owner of Tribeca Kitchen on Church Street – and is also the dean of restaurant and hospitality management at the Culinary Education Institute.
The situation is “killing us,” he said. She had to close Tribeca’s Kitchen on Monday and Tuesday because “we can’t find enough people to fill a seven-day week.”
Thanks to his longtime involvement in the restaurant and the role of his teacher, “I am extremely networked in business.” But when he recently trolled a general manager, he used his vast contacts to reach 250 people, saying “we got zero responses,” he said.
Unable to find a suitable host for the three-level dinner, Kemack said, he had to hire a top manager for the reception stand man – “but then he couldn’t oversee our three floors,” Camac said.
Mermaid Inn owner Danny Abrams reopened his fish spot on Amsterdam Avenue, but due to “trouble finding servers, cooks and bowsers”, he was serving only 70 people at a time. “We can easily do 40 more,” he said, but not enough help.
He wants to serve in and out of the house on all of his legally permissible seats, but he is five kitchen workers, two dishwashers, seven servers, a bartender and three bussers.
Another problem is: “We plan to reopen three other Mermaids in the next month and a half, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it.”
Orsez Coleen said, “We tried to work on every possible platform – restaurant job sites, Facebook, whatever. People call, they make appointments – and don’t show up again. We have also thought about “signing bonuses” to entice employees.
But the mega-operator Star defeated him.
Without enough staff, “Our people are working like crazy, working tons of overtime. Eventually there will be consequences. People will burn out, people will leave.
“So we try clever ways to woo people”. We are offering a $ 300 signing bonus at some locations and we may have to expand it. “