Yeo, who owns Le Café Gourmet in Savannah, says she was forced to close her food one day a week due to the staffing shortage, which she said could be due to increased competition from other restaurants who have reopened following infectious-disease-related shutdowns and are now looking to hire as well.
“Now business is increasing downtown,” Yeo told host Pete Hegseth. “I have to face a really hard situation is not finding the staff.
“Everybody in the town is actually hiring,” she stressed, noting that she is not sure if the shortage is also a result of “not enough people looking for a job.”
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“As a small business it’s really hard for me to compete on that matter,” she went on to stress.
Yeo noted that she has received few applications and has also dealt with people not showing up for job interviews.
When asked if she is in a position to raise wages for employees in an attempt to attract them, Yeo said she has tried, but is not in a position to raise wages as much as bigger companies.
She stressed that “what we are looking for is not just seasonal jobs,” but rather people who are looking to join the team long-term, which Yeo said “is a different job opportunity and a different offer [with] regard [to] other restaurants right now.”
The National Restaurant Association noted that according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, eating and drinking establishments added 175,800 jobs in March on a seasonally-adjusted basis. However, employment is still 1.8 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels.
Yeo pointed out that she is currently operating with “a skeleton crew” while hoping no more employees leave.