WASHINGTON — The ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to make it difficult for some industries. You’ve more than likely heard about the need for people to work in restaurants. Fortune reports more than 110,000 restaurants have closed their doors permanently because of the pandemic. But, for those able to reopen after restrictions were lifted, they are still in need of staff.
The restaurant industry has changed forever. Restaurants were hit hard at the start of the pandemic. Forced to close with minimal notice. Since then, getting people to return to what has become an uncertain industry has proven more difficult. Bus Boys and Poets restaurant hope increasing their minimum pay for certain positions will entice people to come back to work.
On any given day, Bus Boys and Poets can see hundreds of customers in any of their multiple locations throughout the region. Since restrictions have been lifted, they’re like many other restaurant groups where they just can’t find people to fill the positions.
In all of their restaurants in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., they've increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour and offer a much more competitive benefits package.
“Historically the restaurant business has been very transient for people, but I think that's changing,” Andy Shallal said.
Shallah said he was made for the restaurant industry, having worked his way up and his focus is making the open positions more attractive.
“We also want to attract the best and the brightest people. And to do that you got to pay them,” Shallal said.
He said despite the uncertainty the industry has presented during the height of the pandemic, the work can still be rewarding no matter your education level and restaurants are focused now more than ever on supporting their staff.
“We have a great, robust package for people that includes healthcare, includes education assistance, includes major sick leave, and includes all kinds of opportunities for folks to be able to work in a job and make it a career and not just not just a transient type of work,” Shallal added.
He added that for people who never want their days to be redundant, the restaurant industry is perfect for you.
“It gives you that sort of constant excitement of interacting with people that I think a lot of people that come into the industry are looking for,” Shallal said.
Shallah also said he thinks for the restaurant industry to be more competitive, tip wages need to end, calling it an outdated practice.