Customers are returning to restaurants in San Diego and this has helped increase local sales, but the problem for owners now is to keep workers coming back. Many are hiring, but still struggle to fill critical positions.
âI placed ads on Facebook and Craigslist to hire employees and more specifically kitchen teams and it was a challenge,â said Guillermo Gonzalez, general manager of Casa Don Diego restaurant in Chula Vista.
Gonzalez was forced to make several changes during the pandemic, but he didn’t expect to have such a difficult time recruiting workers.
âI had to increase my offer regarding the rate of pay. I had to increase the salary and offer a little more than before and also offer other incentives like health care, âGonzalez said.
The change increased the cost of doing business for Gonzalez. There are different theories and factors as to why restaurants have recruitment problems. Kitchen work is extremely demanding. Some homeowners are concerned that government benefits will allow young employees to stay at home.
Despite the challenges, there is help for restaurants in difficulty.
âThere have been several grants, incentives and loans that different levels of government have made available to us,â Gonzalez said.
It has received grants from the City of Chula Vista, San Diego County, the State of California, and the Federal Government.
âYou have to be very savvy, you have to act on them very quickly and you have to be very aggressive in the way you secure them, but they are out there,â Gonzalez added.
It took longer than expected, but Gonzalez says sales are back near pre-pandemic levels. Many locals are delighted to be back at their favorite restaurant.
âIt’s just a place where you can get together and be really comfortable, eat great food, feel at home and support Chula Vista,â said Candy Silva, Chula Vista resident and long-time client. dated.
With more customers and employees being vaccinated, Gonzalez hopes filling his staff becomes easier.
The California Restaurant Association estimates that nearly one million restaurant jobs were lost in 2020. Many have returned with the limited reopening of restaurants.