So, if you’ve been to any restaurant lately, chances are you’ve see the sign hanging on the door: “Help Wanted.” Perhaps you’ve even seen messages on marquis as you drive by saying things like “$600 Signing Bonus For Servers.” Never have I ever seen anything like this. Further, we’ve got friends who own their own restaurants who are even more puzzled than we as to why people don’t want to work? Their answer is simple: restaurant workers can make more on unemployment than working. Also, with rent and utility pay amnesties still in effect, there is no impetus to make them do any different. And this isn’t speculation. This is what owners are being told by their workers.
Now, an article I read this morning tells a different tale. According to it, For both career and new restaurant workers, the real issue is the pay and the risk of getting COVID. Workers cite not enough pay, the lack of health insurance, and treatment by owners and management as reasons for not coming back to work. Okay, I get the “not enough pay” thing. With restaurants still operating at limited capacity, you can’t get as many tables during a shift as a server, and therefore tips are down. Capacity (or lack thereof) also is going to affect bartenders, cooks, buspersons, etc. However, the risk of getting COVID? C’mon. Let’s just grow up and face some facts. Covid-19 is a virus. It’s never going away. Someone please tell me the last virus we’ve cured. I’ll wait. How have we done against the common cold over the years? The flu? Now the good news is vaccinations are going well, and with the vaccine your resistance to the virus is much greater and your symptoms should you get it will be greatly reduced…just like the flu vaccine. So, let’s drop that. To be fair tho, here’s a recent report from a local TV station.
In terms of health insurance and treatment by management? I worked as a server. I don’t ever remember health insurance being provided. Sorry, that’s just not part of the bargain, nor should it be. If it comes to that, the cost will be passed on to the customer and that will lead to me going out less. And I would never advise someone to go to work for a jerk. That being said, it’s amazing these days how a manager requiring people to do their jobs, without laziness and/or excuses is deemed to be “treating me badly.”
Perhaps an answer to this problem lies somewhere in here: 1. NC Governor Cooper needs to finally get done crippling our economy and open our restaurants and businesses to full capacity. He seems to get off on issuing “Executive Orders,” but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. 2. Restaurant workers need to realize that just because they haven’t had to pay rent, doesn’t mean they will be excused from paying that back rent or rent going forward. You’re going to need to get back to work, so get to it. 3. Restaurant owners/managers…you are under an unbelievable amount of stress, we get it. Perhaps, before you say something to your workers, take a deep breath and think about how you are approaching them as much as why you are.
Are you a restaurant worker? Restaurant owner? What’s the deal in your opinion? What’s it going to take to get everyone back on the same page and working in restaurants again?