NYC restaurant owners say they can’t find workers as pandemic restrictions ease


As New York’s eateries get back to normal, one challenge facing the industry has been getting people to come back to work.

Pat Hughes — owner of Hellcat Annie’s and Scruffy Duffy’s in Hell’s Kitchen — held an open call Tuesday looking for servers and bartenders.

“We didn’t get one applicant. Not a single applicant came in,” he said.

Down the street at 44 & X, owner Scott Hart said he’s also having a hard time finding workers.

“My experience is eight out of 10 people that you set up for an interview don’t come in. It’s very common all over — it’s called ghosting,” said Hart.

Restaurant owners point to the additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits due to the pandemic — some recipients max out at $800 dollars per week

“It doesn’t make sense to go back to work,” Hart said of those employees.

While the city’s unemployment rate stands at 11.4%,  about 460,000, there are currently 340,000 job openings, according to the partnership for New York.

The additional $300 in unemployment will run out in September — that’s when eateries hope people will be back to work.

Others point to another reason for the difficulty hiring: After the events of the past year, people are looking for a new career path that provides better quality of life.

The Flatiron School, a tech boot camp in the city, saw a nearly 180% spike in enrollment in 2020.

“As the world gets back to normal, a lot of people are realizing, ‘I don’t want to go back to the old normal, I want a better life and better flexibility,’” said Adam Enbar, founder of the Flatiron school.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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