Florida Restaurants Face Labor Shortage as COVID Unemployment Benefits Flow


The federal government is standing in the way of Florida restaurants that are in desperate need of employees as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, and Floridians look to dine out.

“The biggest challenge out there is the federal government and the state government are going to continue with this unemployment, because that is truly creating the incentive to not work right now,” said Bill Casper, who owns 60 McDonald’s restaurants in the Tampa area. “And, how do you blame somebody? You can make more money on unemployment—and so, we’ve got to be at least above that.”

Casper is paying $50 just to get potential employees in the door for an interview. He is also planning to pay new employees significantly higher than Florida’s minimum wage, and called the situation a “perfect storm,” with consumers ready to resume life as normal, but employees unready to return to work.

Star News Education Foundation Journalism ProjectLast week, the Republican-controlled Florida House voted down measures that would have increased unemployment benefits even further. Citing the labor shortage, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week said that he opposes increasing unemployment benefits.

“You see or hear the stories, there’s businesses [that] need more [employees]. You know, our goal is to get people back to work. I think there’s a lot of demand right now,” he said. “I’d like to get that unemployment rate below 4% if we can. But it’s going to take some of these inhibitions being moved off, and us being able to operate all of our industries. But there is demand in the economy for hiring and that’s a good thing; much different than it was a year ago.”

Casper’s McDonald’s restaurants aren’t the only ones suffering through the shortage.

IHOP needs 10,000 new employees as the country begins to reopen, and held a National Recruiting Day on May 19.

Even mom and pop shops are getting creative in their hiring efforts.

Mr. Q Crab House in Hollywood, Florida could not find human employees to serve tables, so it decided on a high-tech solution, purchasing robots to do the job instead.

Joy Wang, owner of Mr. Q., said her former employees from before the pandemic “would rather sit at home and collect unemployment.”

– – –

Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].






Related posts

One Thought to “Florida Restaurants Face Labor Shortage as COVID Unemployment Benefits Flow”

  1. Ms Independent

    Big problem is companies not offering health insurance! My company filed for bankruptcy due to Covid19 and I lost my full time job plus my health insurance and BHO care is an expensive JOKE! Unemployment is not paying me more than my job of 5 years so don’t “assume” all unemployed are “sitting” at home doing nothing. Good paying jobs with benefits are few and far between! Never been in the food industry. Don’t plan to start now. Biden is a job killer.