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‘Labor force is never going to be the same,’ Restaurants, hospitality industry reflecting changing workforce ideals

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 9:41 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Restaurateurs and restaurant owners say it’s great to get diners back in the dining rooms, but without workers and rising costs they’re having to get creative to handle the huge demand.

“I’d love to be able to add instead of taking away shifts but that remains to be seen,” said Chef Susan Spicer.

Mondays and Tuesdays are generally the days where the service industry rests, but Rosedale’s Chef Susan Spicer says staffing levels may trend to even more days off.

“I feel people want to have more control over their own lives and less having to deal with authority or someone else telling them when they have to work,” said Spicer.

She, like other restaurants around town, is advertising great leadership positions and still struggles to fill positions.

“From day one when we shut down in March to I would say it’s just as challenging right now in April of ‘22,” said Chef Eric Cook.

Keeping the dining rooms open for two restaurants, chef Eric Cook says it’s not just employees’ attitudes changing, they’re also fighting to stay competitive with pay.

“When it started the beginning, you know, I made a comment earlier, it’s like restaurants have to learn what we can amputate and still survive… we’re right back to it again. Now we’re like, okay, because no matter how busy the city is, no matter how much tourism is coming in, the cost of doing business now is 60% 65% higher than it was before we started this,” said Cook.

“I think we’re just going to have to adjust that going out to restaurants is not going to be the same and they’re going to have to adjust how they provide the services,” said Tulane law professor, Joel Friedman.

The hospitality industry, according to Tulane labor law professor, Joel Friedman is one of the first indicators of a changing work landscape, especially when many industries are going virtual.

Those who live and breathe the kitchen though, say the hospitality industry, there’s still something special about it.

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