The issue of rehiring more restaurants is finally on the table-but not all workers have returned
As restrictions in some parts of the country begin to lift, restaurants are clearing terraces or reopening restaurants and recalling employees-but not all employees have returned.
“About 60% [our staff] Lora Pankova, general manager of Cibo Wine Bar in downtown Toronto, said: “They will not come back because they have either found something different to make a living, or they have moved out of the city.”
This restaurant in Toronto’s entertainment district makes it easy to find employees who were eager to work in busy areas before the pandemic.
Pankova said: “We are always visited by people and resumes are constantly coming in.”
But this is a different era. Ontario restaurants prepare to reopen their terraces on June 11, Personnel competition is heating up. After the cancellation of the stay-at-home order in Ontario, Cibo held its first ever job fair last week. Interviews are spaced apart in time, and distances are maintained in empty restaurants.
The interviewee was told on the spot whether he got the job.
“If you like someone… we need to hire them immediately,” Pankova said.
Watch | Tasks for finding restaurant employees:
According to the Labour Force Survey of Statistics Canada, the number of people working in the accommodation and food service industries in May still fell by 364,000 compared with February 2020. Economists expect that with the lifting of restrictions, many lost jobs will be restored, but filling these positions is a new challenge.
When Toronto Italian restaurant Oretta opens its terrace on Friday, there will still be some gaps in its staffing-so management will help serve customers.
“To be honest, I think we will be overwhelmed by applications,” said Alessandro Aureli, the manager of the Oretta bar.
Aureli said that as the pandemic continues, people are reassessing their occupations and lifestyles, while others are worried about their health and safety.
“This means that we have lost some employees,” Aureli said.
“Finding new employees has always been difficult.”
Worker shortage before the pandemic
According to the Canadian restaurant industry organization, before COVID-19, the restaurant industry was already trying to fill more than 60,000 vacant positions and said the pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
Mark von Schellwitz, vice president of the organization’s Western Canada, said the staffing challenges are not limited to Ontario.
“As the restrictions stop and start, and the difficulties of COVID, many of our former employees in British Columbia and Alberta continue to work in other occupations that are not affected by COVID because they cannot cope with the uncertainty,” he said .
Glowbal Group President Emad Yacoub runs nine restaurants in the Vancouver area, including Coast, Black+Blue, Five Sails and The Roof.
He currently has 500 employees, but needs to add 80 immediately. When the capacity expands and the indoor restaurant reopens, he will need another 200.
Yacoub said that he usually hires many international students who can work in Canada to study here, but this is not an option this year.
Find staff across the country
“This is a situation of extreme shortage,” said Yakubu, who is using headhunters to expand his employee search to Toronto and Calgary.
“This year it will cost nearly $150,000 [in] Recruitment fees, recruit people from outside the province. “
In addition, he said that it turns out that this is a “dog-biting world” because some of his employees are being looked for by other employers in front of him.
Yacoub said: “I saw a restaurant owner come in… At the end of the night, they took out their business card and gave it to half of my employees.”
But the industry also has some optimism that increased competition for workers may lead to positive changes in employment conditions.
Watch | Difficulties faced by restaurants in re-hiring:
Paul Grunberg, the owner and operator of several restaurants in the Vancouver area, including Caffe la Tana, Osteria, Savio Volpe and Pepino’s Spaghetti House, had to lay off 60 people in March, and about half of them chose not to return.
“What do people want now? Do they want job security? Do they want medical benefits? Do they want higher wages, higher tips? The good news is-we are listening, we are very clear,” he Say.
But these benefits can be expensive and come with additional costs New minimum wage in British Columbia, New crown pneumonia preventive measures, such as plexiglass, masks, hand sanitizer and additional cleaning supplies—customers should expect to pay more for their meals, Glenberg said.
“If you paid $40 for that steak before COVID, the same steak would be $45.”