Restaurant owners across area struggling to hire back employees

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Restaurant owners across the city and suburbs now want to hire back employees, but are finding the job pool has been diminished.

Deidre Nestor, the general manager of Corcoran’s in Old Town, knows what it takes to run a successful restaurant. The industry that’s been hit incredibly hard by COVID-19 is slowly opening back up, but bringing back staff has been a real struggle.

Nestor would normally have 50 staff on the payroll but had to scale down to 20 employees due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I have so many different ads out if I put up 20 things, I’ll have one person respond ,maybe two and maybe one will show up for an interview.”

Hospitality recruiters said talent is now hard to find.

“I do think people have found more bulletproof industries to work in, that feel safer and more secure,” CEO of One Off Hospitality said. “They’re pretty settled there right now.”

In the month of March, job postings jumped by 100%, according to data from the hospitality employment site Culinary Agents.

“Employers are really going to have to sharpen their game in terms of bringing great employee propositions to the table,” Browne said.

Restaurant owners report staff poaching, workers being lured away by perks like quarterly bonuses, pay increases and more benefits offered to other establishments.

“They’re working longer hours, they’re doing more physical work they used to doing the work of two people instead of doing their own thing even for their sakes,” Nestor said. “I’m hoping more people come back and join us so it makes everyone’s life easier and get on with it really.”

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