Dayton restaurants: Employee shortage improves slightly, still in need of workers

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Local businesses are still searching for workers to fill open positions. However, months after the shortage began, some Dayton restaurant owners say they’re seeing some improvement.

Last week, Yellow Cab Tavern and 937 Delivers held a job fair with several restaurants. Around two dozen job seekers showed up and many walked away with a new job.

Yellow Cab co-owner Brian Johnson said that without enough employees, customers may see business models shift at their favorite restaurants.

“You might see a lot more places go for more casual or lesser menus, or more consolidated hours,” Johnson said. “That’s not really ideal, but it’s how markets work.”

Ohio will end pandemic unemployment assistance payments on June 26.

Wheat Penny Owner Liz Valenti said since that announcement, the restaurant’s seen more applications come in.

“We’ve actually had more applicants to positions we’ve had in, especially in the last 10 days,” Valenti said. “So I do think that people are kinda realizing that that unemployment piece is going to come to an end and they’re trying to strategize where they’d like to end up in this market.”

However Johnson said that the employee shortage may be more due to laid off restaurant employees finding new jobs elsewhere.

“A lot of people over the pandemic were forced from the service industry and were forced to retrain to make a living,” Johnson said. “It’s really grueling work, and if you’re able to find a job that is a little slower pace, maybe more in their skillset, why wouldn’t they take it?”

With staff shortages everywhere, even with Ohio health orders lifting June 2, many won’t be able to return to full capacity.

“It’s not as if we’re just going to go open the flood gates and let everybody back,” Valenti said. “We’re still going to manage that process, especially given the fact that we’re down 30% in terms of staffing right now.”

While Ohio is ending pandemic unemployment assistance early, the federal cut off is September 6.

The work search requirement for unemployment has also been reinstated in Ohio.

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