Restaurants still struggling to hire workers

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The struggle continues for restaurants looking to hire workers. Many of them are in dire need of staff but can’t find employees.

Monday, Lt. Gov. Molly Gray sat down with several restaurants in Chittenden County to hear from them first-hand.

“We can’t find people,” said Cara Tobin, a chief and co-owner of Honey Road in downtown Burlington.

Tobin says it’s been 15 months since the restaurant has had a full staff.

“We have like 15, 18, somewhere in there. And we normally have 40, 41, I think specifically. So, yeah, we’re short by a lot,” she said.

Monday, Tobin spoke with the lieutenant governor about the hiring challenges they’re facing.

“Honey Road is looking for a line cook and they’ve had an application process open and they haven’t had a single applicant. That’s happening in Burlington where we have a lot of young people and qualified, employable staff, so this is a statewide problem,” said Gray, D-Vermont.

Tobin says she’s finding that people no longer want to work in the hospitality industry for a number of reasons, including not feeling comfortable or safe working in public and they want better pay.

Tobin is asking the state to help Honey Road and other restaurants provide the stability of career security to attract and retain more people to the hospitality industry.

She also says Honey Road writing that into their new business plan.

“Better wages, more benefits, more career advancement benefits so that people really feel like they can get into this industry and stay for a long time,” Tobin said. “That’s definitely something that’s important to me is to provide people with-- feeling engaged and feeling that they’re growing as people.”

Gray will be in St. Albans later this week to talk with more businesses about the recovery struggles they’re facing.

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