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.