Full capacity restaurants struggle to be fully staffed

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“Now Hiring” signs fill restaurant windows across Pennsylvania as many restaurants struggle to recruit enough workers after the pandemic.

STROUDSBURG, Pa .– Although restaurants can now reopen at 100% capacity, many are still not 100% staffed due to a shortage of restaurant workers.

Now Hiring signs fill the windows of restaurants across Pennsylvania, but restaurants aren’t just recruiting. As they return to full capacity on Remembrance Day, many are desperate for workers.

“We have a joke going around now. If someone shows up and they’re actually alive, ‘Great! Take a notepad and a pen and you’re hired, ”said Steve Ertle, general manager of the Baymont Inn lounge in Stroudsburg.

Owners are struggling to adjust to the increasing number of customers. The problem is further exacerbated by the coming summer season.

“The tsunami of people coming out is going to wipe us out even more than COVID is because there are no staff,” Ertle said. “We need people the most now. This is our greatest time of the year. “

Pennsylvania recreation and hospitality jobs increased 83% between April 2020 and April 2021, according to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Businesses large and small are trying to attract potential employees with perks and bonuses.

Applebee is free free aperitifs for job applications at a nationwide hiring event in May.

Wawa is offering a $ 500 signing bonus to new employees and a free hoagie shorti every shift.

The lounge at the Baymont Inn, meanwhile, offers waiters free training at the bar.

“We are offering a lot of money. More money, ”Ertle said. “The money is out there. The salary is there. People just don’t come out.

Ertle testified last summer before the U.S. House Majority Policy Committee on how to help restaurants survive the pandemic.

Now, he said, even those who survive may not overcome the labor shortage.

“I’ve been on the phone with many owners, many managers, listening to them cry and say, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I have a 130 room hotel. I have a cleaning lady, ”he says.

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