Bay Area Restaurants Facing Staffing Shortage Amid COVID-19 Surge

NBC Universal, Inc.

The omicron variant is causing lots of problems.

Outdoor dining is becoming preferred for customers. When some restaurants get packed, service can become a problem as businesses can’t find enough people to hire.

Massimo restaurant in Walnut Creek had a full staff Thursday. Owner Max Wolfe said he now has a reliable team but admitted that getting good workers was a struggle during the pandemic.

“They either don’t show up for the interview. If you interview them and you hire them they don’t show up for the work,” he said.

The problem is Bay Area wide.

According to Amy Cleary, a spokesperson for the Golden Gate Restaurant Association that many businesses, including restaurants are struggling with staffing shortages due to the omicron surge.

Cleary added some restaurants are having to close.

San Jose State Global Strategic Management Professor Robert Chapman Wood said there’s a work shortage because people have options.

“The government has printed up quite a lot of money and that means there’s a lot of money sloshing around and people have a choice of what job they’re going to take. People are nervous about going into restaurants,” he said.

That also means party and convention cancelations are happening a lot and there’s another problem.

Some restaurant owners NBC Bay Area talked to said the omicron variant surge means people want to eat outside and when there’s a staffing shortage, people have to wait.

Wolfe said that he’s optimistic people will come back to the industry he loves.

“I’m just lucky right now to say I’m fully staffed,” he said.

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