Restaurants struggle to hire employees after laying off many during the pandemic

Posted at 2:42 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 02:42:54-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla.  — Carmelo LaMotta says while it may be easy to make a pizza, he’s having a hard time finding people to do so.

“We’ve even hired an agency to try to find us employees, but the pool for employees right now is very low, there's not enough people out there,” said Carmelo LaMotta, Chef, and Owner of LaMotta’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant.

LaMotta says he is working overtime to keep up with the influx of customers as we approach the summer season.

“So you’ve got that 50 % that’s sitting at home, and you’ve got the other 50 % that's coming out and doesn’t care, but we still can't find the staff, and now my staff that I have here is multitasking,” said LaMotta.

However, he isn’t the only one Geoff Luebkemann, Senior Vice President with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association says, the entire industry is taking a hit.

“Our industry statewide is about 1.5 million employees and just overnight we laid about off 62% or just about 930,00 employees,” said Geoff Luebkemann, Senior Vice President with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association

A hit that LaMotta says comes from many people making more money staying at home, than returning to work.

“It’s getting tougher and tougher because the more money they keep giving to the people for stimulus checks, they’re going to sit at home and make more money that way,” said LaMotta.

On the other hand, Governor Ron DeSantis says Florida has an abundance of job openings, and people collecting unemployment benefits are going to see some changes coming soon.

“ I mean you go talk to businesses, I mean they wanna hire people, particularly in hospitality, restaurants, all these things. You are going to have to resume at the end of this month, the job searching as part of continuing to receive benefits, and I think that's absolutely appropriate given the underlying strength of our economy,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

In the meantime LaMotta is asking that the next time customers visit a restaurant, please be understanding of the staff's hard work put in to ensure you are getting your money's worth.

“So just be grateful when you go out and thank the servers, the kitchen staff. the people that are there working because if this continues, it's going to be less of that out there,” said LaMotta.