Restaurants are still struggling to fill positions
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – As the hospitality and service industries make a comeback, restaurants are still struggling to fill positions.
Restaurants – like Katie’s downtown– see an increase in business as COVID-19 restrictions lift, but feel the pressure to be busy and understaffed.
“If we fill all the tables, we won’t have enough servers for this,” said Michael Cooke, manager at Katie’s.
He said the problem is that there aren’t many applicants, and often the expectations are high.
“Some people have said to us, ‘Hey, I want to be a waiter for $ 20 an hour’. I can’t pay you $ 20 an hour to be a waiter, ”Cooke said. “I’m sorry. Like, I wish I could but it doesn’t, it doesn’t work that way.
Cooke said they are doing well with the employees they have for now, but it’s not easy. Demand in business makes it difficult for the kitchen and the team. He said that several positions are available for the taking; hoping someone will walk through the doors to apply.
Other companies are taking a more aggressive approach by posting at job fairs to attract new employees.
“These companies have had a devastating year with COVID, they are ready to go back to business, but they need talented people to do it,” said Kelly Schulz of New Orleans & Company. “We continue to see people making job offers here today on site and I’ll tell you, a lot of these employers are willing to offer benefits, competitive wages.”
And that’s what the Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts management team does: provide long-term incentive packages and long-term career paths for growth within the company.
“To be honest with you, we are working very hard,” said Zeid Ammari, COO of Creole cuisine restaurant concepts. He said the pandemic was not favorable to the industry and the restaurant group.
“We went from 1,500 to 30 people to 30 people instantly,” Ammari said. “We went from 30 people to 900 people today. “
But now the catering group has to fill 400 positions.
With 20 restaurants across town – like Broussard’s, Cafe Maspero and Flamingo a Go-Go – the group is working to attract new employees by restructuring the pay scale, offering performance bonuses, health insurance, 401K plans and more.
And while there are challenges now, both agree that things are improving.
“It’s been really tough getting people in here, you know,” Cooke said at Katie’s. “We’re lucky to have the people we have here now, because without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. “
Many restaurants also offer login bonus for new employees to help fill positions.
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