Staffing an ongoing issue for local restaurants

A hiring sign at Jimmy Johns on Apalachee Pkwy. Photo courtesy Kyla Sanford.

Tallahassee restaurants are in a hiring surge to fill staffing in multiple positions. These unfilled positions include servers, greeters, cooks and, for some establishments, managers.

Local restaurants and franchises including Brooklyn Pizza, Hobbit American Grill, Island Seafood, Buffalo Wild Wings and Crafty Crab are “urgently hiring” for multiple positions, according to job postings on platforms including Indeed.

According to a survey conducted by 7Shifts, the average tenure for a restaurant employee is one month and 26 days, compared to the “median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.1 years in January 2020,” according to the Bureau of Statistics.

While many blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the loss of numbers in staffing, Jadakiss Anthony, a server and cashier for one of the struggling restaurants, says otherwise.

“At this store particularly, I feel like we have to do everything … We basically are the managers of the store. I feel like I am underpaid for this.”

Many restaurants are experiencing problems with keeping employees motivated, keeping new hires and meeting quotas set by higher ups.

“Corporate gives us unrealistic numbers to consistently meet, which requires us to have less staff working harder who tend to feel unvalued and unappreciated,” said former assistant general manager for Bob Evans restaurants, Ashley Nolte.

There is a new level of understanding that has been established with poorly staffed establishments and their customers. Diners are being asked to compromise their usual standards including limited hours of operations and menu items to accommodate for the lack of staffing in multiple Tallahassee restaurants.

A study conducted by Premise found that “61% of U.S. consumers noted a general decline in service quality at restaurants, meaning more than half of people in the U.S. are seeing the effects of this trend in the workforce.”

These numbers strongly indicate the dissatisfaction consumers are experiencing with dining in as well as the effects poor staffing and work treatment can have on other areas including restaurant profits and the people they attract to work in these spaces.

“Managers get in their feelings and we have to always come and help customers and do manager duties, with $10 an hour plus tips. With tips I probably make less than $15 or $20,” Anthony said.

Restaurants are now required to change the dynamic of the workplace by attracting people to join the team for higher wages and more benefits if they want to be successful.