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‘Uncharted territory;’ Restaurants offer signing bonuses, higher pay to attract workers


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    ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — As the weather warms up and more people get the vaccine, restaurants in St. Louis are seeing larger crowds. However, almost every restaurant in the St. Louis area said it’s struggling to hire people and maintain a full staff.

At Guido’s Pizzeria and Tapas, Manager Jen Luksza also works the night-shift as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. Luksza said her team at Guido’s needs all the help they can get.

“We’ve been in business for 32 years and this is unchartered territory,” Luksza said. “It’s something I think ourselves along with other local restaurants are going through.”

In St. Charles County, Kelly Dent owns Shamrock’s Pub and Grill. The county mandate allows her restaurant to serve at 100 percent capacity but Dent said her staff is slammed serving just 50 percent. Recently, the restaurant increased hourly wages from 10 to 14 dollars but interest is still lagging.

“It’s hard to give really good service when you don’t have enough staff to take care of the demand of people coming in,” Dent said.

As competition for qualified staff grows, 54th Street Grill & Bar are upping the ante, offering a $500 sign-on bonus. According to a post online, Marcus Mid Rivers Cinema is also offering a $250 incentive to join their food and beverage team.

Steve Silverman is a Senior Recruiter with First Class Workforce Solutions and finds people to work in hospitality. He said about 20 percent of hospitality workers have left the industry altogether because of the pandemic.

“With the amount of money people are getting either from stimulus or unemployment benefits, they’re almost making more money with unemployment than a general position,” Silverman said. Federal unemployment benefits were extended through September.

News 4 uncovered the Missouri Department of Labor, in most cases, requires at least three work searches a week, proving to the state you’re trying to find a job, in order to receive unemployment benefits. Restaurant owners said that’s likely why people are applying but then don’t show up for interviews.

“You’re putting a lot of effort into the recruitment process and then they don’t even come in,” said Luksza.

If you’re interested in applying – visit this site for more information or call (314) 727-0002 and ask for Steve Silverman at First Class Workforce Solutions.

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