The coronavirus pandemic has affected the service economy.
Despite fewer restrictions than previously, some businesses, including restaurants, are finding it difficult to get back up and running. Although there are “Help Wanted” signs seen outside of businesses, not enough people are filling the positions.
In Troy, the Alibi restaurant, which opened at 3 p.m. Monday, used to be a gangbuster lunch business before the pandemic.
Now, it completes take out only orders with reduced hours all week. Owner Cindy Maier said she tried to open indoor dining a few weeks ago.
“My kitchen just crashed. I only had one line cook and had a pizza cook who was trained helping out a line cook and he had 80 sauté items to cook at one time,” Maier said.
Maier said she knows other businesses are offering different types of incentives such as signing bonuses and even helping with college educations to get anyone to come work for them. It’s something she’s considering.
“We will work with them with schedules. It can be part-time, it can be full-time. I’m a grandma, it can be grandmas. It can be any type of position from everything over 17 years old,” she said.
Wendy Bock, vice president of business advocacy and member engagement with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, warned business owners to expect a long and difficult summer.
“There is kind of some perverse incentives going on with the federal unemployment benefits that seem to be keeping people in on the unemployment rolls and out of the workforce, so competition with these enhance unemployment benefits that is compounding this problem,” Bock said.
“They don’t even come in to ask how much I’m paying per hour, which we pay extremely well,” Maier said.