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Restaurants navigate growing worker shortage

Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A growing worker shortage continues to impact industries across the country.

One industry feeling the brunt of it is the restaurant and hospitality industry. Positions are opening faster than employers can fill them.

Lodgic Everyday Kitchen opened last year and is navigating through the challenges of operating in a pandemic.

“It’s that balance point right now of trying to make sure we have enough people to serve the customers that want to be here and be able to deliver on a experience,” said Managing Director, Margaret Ebeling.

Everyday Kitchen is just one of many restaurants offering incentives to attract new workers. “Employers are in a interesting position right now because with the labor shortage we also have to look at being able to give people a livable wage. They deserve that,” said Ebeling.

The Wisconsin Restaurant Association says many businesses are offering cash incentives and better wages to get workers in the door.

“In some parts of the state, we’re seeing a $2 to $5 an hour increase for certain positions and even at those positions they cant find people to apply, much less take a job,” said Kristine Hillmer, WRA President and CEO.

On top of increasing pay, some restaurants are even considering moving away from tipping in hopes of attracting workers who want a guaranteed dollar amount for hourly pay. It’s a controversial approach because some worry it could limit how much workers could make.

“It’s not a one size fits all option but in this environment where we know there’s a supply shortage of workers restaurateurs are trying to be creative and do things differently,” said Hillmer.

It’s unclear how long this labor shortage could last, but many in the industry remain optimistic.

As for customers, The Wisconsin Restaurant Association says when you dine out, bring your patience as businesses are working hard to serve you with minimal support.

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