Although the Canadian government has been gradually lifting restrictions, the food industry is experiencing staffing challenge as restaurants reopen. Restaurants are reopening and calling back their staff. However, not all employees are going back to work. Lora Pankova is a general manager of Cibno Wine bar in downtown Toronto. According to her, 60 percent of their staff are not going back to the bar. They have either found something different or have moved out of the city. In fact, the restaurant had never experienced difficulty finding staff before the pandemic.
Restaurants in Ontario will reopen patios on June 11. Therefore, the competition for staff is getting heated. After the government lifted the stay-at-home order, Cibo held its first-ever job fair last week. The management interviewed candidates in a physically distanced setting at the empty restaurant. They also told the hired candidates on the spot if they got the job.
Statistics Canada published results of the labor force survey. It turns out that compared to February 2020, there were still 364,000 fewer people working in the food services and accommodation industry. Economists predict that many job positions will return following the lifting of restrictions. However, they believe that filling these roles might be challenging.
Staffing Challenge after Restaurants Reopen
Oretta bar manager Alessandro Aureli said, “I honestly thought that we were going to be overwhelmed by applications.” It is an Italian restaurant that is planning to open its patio on Friday. The management will have to serve customers, as the staffing is not enough. According to Aureli, there are two possible reasons for the situation. Some people are reassessing their careers and lifestyles, while others are concerned about their health and safety.
As a matter of fact, before the pandemic, the restaurant sector already had trouble filling more than 60,000 vacant positions. The data comes from the industry group Restaurants Canada. According to them, the pandemic has further worsened the situation.