Baton Rouge restaurant gives staff day off after working understaffed due to the pandemic

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- Zea Rotisserie and Bar is closing their restaurant on Monday after a busy Mother’s Day weekend and short staff.

Owner Greg Reggio says the one day closing comes after the national shortage of employees in the restaurant industry.

According to the Louisiana Restaurant Association, 1 in 8 restaurants have low staff because of the pandemic.

“On average it’s about ten people per store. So if you look at it, I have ten restaurants, that’s 100 people. Our small company we are looking for 100 people,” Reggio said.

According to Reggio, the lack of applications is because of few reasons:

  • Fear of working in a pandemic
  • Access to unemployment checks
  • Parents unable to work because of the high cost of child care
  • Restaurant workers have left the industry when their jobs shutdown at the start of the pandemic

“People have been working a lot of hours, a lot of long hours,” he said.

Reggio hopes application will begin rolling in as people look for a summer job. He is also leaning on people getting vaccinated and feeling safe to come back and work.

The restaurant is suffering to hire both front and back of the house employees.

“We have tried everything and anything, from signs, to yard signs, to doing online advertising,” Reggio said.

Zea’s continues to ensure COVID-19 safety measures to not only keep customers safe but also their employees.

“If one or two people get sick, that can shutdown the restaurant,” Reggio said. ““We’re very cautious, doing the things, keeping people distance and teaching safety skills. If you are looking for a job, every industry is hiring.”

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