The sign on a the front door of a restaurant in The Villages said it all. “Due to short staffing our new hours of operation will be from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday.”
It was an announcement that Ruby Tuesday at Spanish Springs has trimmed back its service hours.
Culver’s Restaurant at Southern Trace Plaza was forced to shut down it’s dining room and had all of its customers using the drive-through to pick up their Butterburgers and frozen custard.
Restaurant workers are getting harder to find. And it’s a problem not limited to The Villages.
The finger of blame is being pointed straight at the government.
Florida is facing an historic labor challenge as the hospitality industry finds itself competing with state and federal unemployment benefits, said Carol Dover, president and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
“Workers tell us they are making too much money to come back, so restaurants have been forced to limit capacity and close on days they are regularly open. There are few delivery drivers, and we cannot get food, beverages, and supplies. Something needs to change. Florida is open for business, but desperate for workers,” she said.
In a recent letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis, FRLA outlined concerns with state unemployment benefits as a major factor that is preventing the industry from moving forward. The association has asked that the governor reinstate job search requirements for benefits and to work with the appropriate state agency to resolve these critical workforce challenges.
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