Worker Shortage: Virginia Restaurant Owner Details Brutal Employee Struggles

by Jonathan Howard
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There have been a lot of factors that have led us to the worker shortage. One Virginia restaurant owner detailed his experience.

For Mikey Reisenberg, owner of Korean restaurant Mashita in Harrisonburg, Virginia finding help is a chore. There has been a lot of talk about the worker shortage and for this restaurant that has shown over the last month.

The owner claims that there have been 22 different candidates that have flaked in one way or another. Whether it was before the interview, during the hiring process, or soon after being brought on, Reisenberg says they have skipped out one way or another.

He says they have ditched interviews. Missed their first shift. Some have even quit hours into their first day on the job. This has left Reisenberg looking for answers. He hasn’t found many. It is a two-sided coin with owners and managers claiming folks don’t want to work.

However, workers are saying they just want better wages, benefits, and working conditions. To them, it is a wage shortage, not a worker shortage.

As Reisenberg told The Breeze, he just can’t find people who want to or care to work. In conversations he has had with other business owners the restauranteur says that is the #1 topic.

“Amongst the small business owners that I run into, the biggest thing that we talk about is that no one wants to work. No one cares to work,” he said.

Business Owner Says ‘For Each Person It’s Different’ In Regards to Why They Don’t Want to Work

There are various reasons why the service industry seems to be struggling the most. Customer service can be an unkind business. However, there have been workers that cited long hours, hostile customers, and fears around the COVID-19 pandemic. Reisenberg reflected on those reasons as well.

“You could try and talk about the actual root cause of why the mentality is that people don’t want to work,” he explained. “But I think that it is ever reaching, and for each person it’s different.”

One thing that the business owner is worried about is investing time and money into training employees. He isn’t quite sure how much he has put into the applicants that flaked on him. However, he knows he has lost out.

“I can’t tell you how much money this year that I have wasted because I’ve brought in people that I thought I could train.”

Prices of Ingredients Rising Amid Worker Shortage

One of the issues that Reisenberg and other owners are facing is increased prices on ingredients. The Korean restaurant is no longer serving shiitake mushrooms. The main reason is the price increase. He claims that they took the items off the menu after they went from $15 a case to $30.

While the worker shortage has affected the restaurant in some ways, Reisenberg is expanding Mashita. In fact, he is expanding in a big way. The business will increase capacity 8x as much. From 18 diners to 146. When he compared 2020 to 2021, he said this year was, “amazing.”

Outsider.com