Restaurants continue to face some of the worst issues and changes due to COVID and the pandemic, but owners aren’t giving up without a fight.
Pete Mitchell owns Parker’s Grille and Tap Houses in Geneva, Seneca Falls, Newark, Penn Yan and Auburn. He also owns Halsey’s in Geneva and 84 Fall St. in Seneca Falls.
Culinary arts program coordinator at Finger Lakes Community College, Jamie Rotter, has been working in the industry since he was 15 and is now 51. He said he has never seen a shortage like this.
Rotter said many employees are women and childcare is an issue right now. Mitchell said some employees took the time to reevaluate their job satisfaction.
Rotter and Mitchell both think there is more that can be done to help employees want to make a career out of service work, but that just isn’t how it is right now.
Mitchell has a system where he pays people for referring him employees and bases they amount of the employees skill set and how long they stay employed.
He explained that prior to the pandemic, if he needed a shift covered he would have plenty of people to choose from. COVID exposure requiring the quarantine of multiple employees is also an issue.
As restaurants pay their employees more, they also deal with the cost of foods rising, knowing they can’t hike their prices up so high that customers won’t come in.
Restaurants are trying to adapt in ways that help bring more people in.
One way is to offer more outdoor seating for people who may still be nervous of exposure.
Takeout has also been a way to make up for lost revenue, but Mitchell says his restaurants aren’t built for that.
Slimming down the menu has helped to trim costs.
While the struggle still exists, restaurants are slowly but surely finding new ways to operate and adapt to the world we live in today.
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