DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)- In April, the Ohio Restaurant Association released data showing that staffing levels at bars and restaurants nationwide are down 10 percent compared to a year ago, a total of 1.2 million missing employees, during a time when restaurants should be rejoicing in increased business.

“It’s a combination of stimulus money and also some people aren’t ready to get out in the workforce yet,” said Brian Johnson, operations manager at 937 Delivers and Yellow Cab Tavern.

After a year of restrictions and guidelines, restaurants should be preparing for a robust patio season now with warmer weather and higher vaccine rates. But it’s proving to be a challenge.

“We should be able to match staffing levels to the amount of customers [and] since we’re not able to do that, it’s creating a negative experience for customers and the staff that is [here]and the business owners as well,” said Johnson.

He asked that customers be more patient when visiting their local restaurants and bars during this staffing shortage.

To attract employees, some places like Lock 27 Brewery in Downtown Dayton are making an offer they hope people can’t refuse.

“We started a bonus benefit where we’re paying $4 an hour extra on top of their regular wages for back of house employees right now,” said Colin Barnhart with Lock 27 Brewery.

According to Barnhart, these benefits will last through the end of October to hopefully attract new employees [and] also help support the ones that have powered through the pandemic.

“It’s been really tough to get a consistent workflow. Every time we start getting the hang of something, [things] changes. We’ve had a lot of employees who have been there with us through it all,” said Barnhart.

Yellow Cab Tavern, 937 Delivers and Lock 27 Brewing are all hiring now. They say contact them for more information.