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Restaurants are turning to hiring apps as businesses struggle to find staff after COVID shutdowns

Demand has been growing at restaurants since towns and cities started to open up following COVID shutdown orders, but after having to lay-off some employees during the pandemic, many restaurant owners are struggling to find people to fill their positions.

Now, some restaurateurs are turning to on-demand hiring apps, like GigPro, to fill their staffing needs. These type of apps allow managers to pay individuals looking for work at the last-minute.

‘I’ve literally filled gigs at our restaurant within five minutes of posting,’ William Dissen, executive chef and owner of Haymaker in Charlotte, North Carolina, told CNBC.

It also allows managers and potential-hires to try a shift together before being officially hired.

Restaurants across the country have struggled to find employees to match the growing demand following the coronavirus pandemic

Some restaurateurs are now turning to on-demand hiring apps like GigPro to fill last minute needs. The app allows managers to pay the 'gig workers' at higher rates

Some restaurateurs are now turning to on-demand hiring apps like GigPro to fill last minute needs. The app allows managers to pay the ‘gig workers’ at higher rates

It also allows managers and potential-hires to try a shift together before being officially hired

It also allows managers and potential-hires to try a shift together before being officially hired

‘They’ve got a chance to shine, or they’ve got a chance to leave,’ said Matt Bolus, executive chef of The 404 Kitchen in Nashville, who has hired a number of individuals from the app.

Those who are hired for these ‘gigs’ are considered independent contractors, which, Teofilo Reyes, chief program officer at Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a non-profit advocating for restaurant workers, said means they are not protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

He also fears that it may increase the risk of race or gender discrimination, as employers can look at a potential-hire’s profile picture.

But, Bolus said: ‘I think these kinds of applications are just starting and I think they’re possibly going to revolutionize how we all work.’

Restaurants have also begun to offer applicants money just for showing up for an interview, CNBC reports.

‘They’re saying, ‘We will actually give you $50 cash to show up for the interview,’ and then the onus is on the owner of the restaurant to sell them on taking the position,’ said Jean Chick, U.S. restaurant and food service leader at Deloitte.

‘I think there’s been kind of a reckoning in the restaurant industry,’ Dissen added. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, the industry has lost 2.5 million jobs since the pandemic began, and even though restaurants have since added jobs, the unemployment rate for hospitality workers is still above the national average. 

A Panda Express restaurant displays a 'Now Hiring' sign in Tampa, as restaurants face a staffing shortage. About half are operating with 20 percent less staff

A Panda Express restaurant displays a ‘Now Hiring’ sign in Tampa, as restaurants face a staffing shortage. About half are operating with 20 percent less staff

More people are now returning to restaurants as COVID restrictions are lifted

More people are now returning to restaurants as COVID restrictions are lifted

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 1 million job openings in the food service and hospitality industry by the end of March

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 1 million job openings in the food service and hospitality industry by the end of March

About half of all dining establishments are operating with 20 percent less staff, the National Restaurant Association found, and job openings in the food and service industry increased to nearly 1 million by the end of March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many of those who were laid-off from their jobs in the restaurant industry, however, are not coming back.

Some found higher-paying jobs elsewhere, CNBC reports, while others are afraid to return to work or are dissuaded from returning to work as they collect unemployment benefits and stimulus checks.

Mis en Place, a national staffing firm for restaurants, surveyed 2,000 line cooks and found that more than 1/4 of kitchen staff had permanently left the industry.

Some cited relatively low pay and long hours as their reason for leaving, with another 1/3 of the respondents saying they would return to the industry, but 20 percent said they have not found the right opportunity, 7 percent said they were concerned about COVID and 6 percent cited unemployment and stimulus checks as their reason for not returning.

Top House Republicans Kevin McCarthy (top) and Steve Scalise (bottom) both complained about the $300-a-week unemployment benefit saying that's why President Joe Biden's May jobs report was 'lackluster'

Top House Republicans Kevin McCarthy (top) and Steve Scalise (bottom) both complained about the $300-a-week unemployment benefit saying that’s why President Joe Biden’s May jobs report was ‘lackluster’ 

Rep. Elise Stefanik said President Joe Biden's May jobs proved that 'Democrats' socialist economic agenda DOES NOT WORK'

Rep. Elise Stefanik said President Joe Biden’s May jobs proved that ‘Democrats’ socialist economic agenda DOES NOT WORK’ 

In May the U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs under the 675,000 jobs economists predicted, but better than April's showing of 266,000 workers

In May the U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs under the 675,000 jobs economists predicted, but better than April’s showing of 266,000 workers 

The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, while 675,000 had been predicted. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent.

Top Congressional Republicans took to Twitter Friday to criticize those ‘lackluster’ job numbers, with both House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise pointing a finger at the $300-a-week unemployment benefit that conservatives believe have motivated Americans to stay home.  

‘Washington needs to stop paying people NOT to work,’ McCarthy said, while Scalise’s tweet offered, ‘This is what happens when you pay people not to work.’ 

‘As we emerge from the virus, our economy should be booming, but today’s lackluster jobs report shows President Biden’s policies have stalled our recovery,’ McCarthy also said.   

The No. 3 Republican in the House, Rep. Elise Stefanik – who moved into the position last month after anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney was ousted – also complained about the new numbers. 

‘Yet again, President Biden’s jobs report misses the mark – further proof that the Democrats’ socialist economic agenda DOES NOT WORK,’ the New York Republican tweeted.

Biden has said the unemployment benefits will end in September and touted May’s job numbers saying they represented ‘historic progress’ while also pointing out that the new tally was from when far fewer Americans were fully vaccinated, as the number was lower than expected. 

‘America is finally on the move again,’ Biden said Friday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. ‘As we continue this recovery, we’re going to hit some bumps along the way. You can’t reboot the world’s largest economy like flipping on a light switch.’ 


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