PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As restrictions ease and more people go out to eat, restaurants are still having difficulty finding enough employees. People enjoyed happy hour or an early dinner at the Walnut Street Cafe Friday afternoon, but this restaurant, and so many across the city, have a lot of open positions. They’re just not seeing many applicants.
When it comes to the food at the Walnut Street Cafe in University City, there’s a lot to love.READ MORE: Police Searching For Gunmen After Shots Fired Near Chester County High School Football Game
“This food is amazing,” one diner said.
“Not only the food, but the drinks are phenomenal as well,” said another.
Now the restaurant is hoping people also see there’s a lot to love working here.
“We’re looking to fill anything from dishwashers, bussers, servers,” Executive Chef Jack Peterson said.
Peterson says as COVID restrictions ease and more people dine out, he needs to do a lot of hiring.
The restaurant is now even offering a bonus after three months on the job. But Peterson is still finding a lack of people applying.READ MORE: District Attorney Larry Krasner, Mayor Jim Kenney Speak Out On Philadelphia's Ongoing Gun Violence Crisis
“We definitely face some challenges hiring and finding people and getting people to come in for interviews,” he said.
Other places are also offering incentives, like Suraya restaurant in Fishtown, which is offering a starting bonus of $2,000 for line cooks on Day 1.
“When you see right now that they’re offering incentives to get their employees back, they’re just desperate to keep their businesses open,” Robert Palumbo said.
Palumbo is the director of the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Rutgers-Camden. He says there could be a lot of reasons people are not returning to work — some are afraid of COVID, others may need to stay home to take care of their kids.
But many are also pointing to the extra $300 of weekly federal unemployment being offered. Palumbo warns that extra unemployment money will eventually expire.
“They really need to start thinking about going back to work, and if you have an employer that’s offering incentives, take it,” Palumbo said.MORE NEWS: Habitat For Humanity Breaks Ground On Four Montgomery County Homes
President Joe Biden said Friday he does not believe unemployment benefits are contributing to the labor shortage.