The sign in a local restaurant read, “Dear valued customers, PLEASE BE KIND. Rest assured we are doing our best coping with challenges in food supply and most importantly HELP. Please be patient and let us know if you want work.” Similar signs about kindness are popping up all around.
It’s a well-intentioned message, one we hope visitors to the area take to heart. This is going to be a major summer season, as a concept known as “revenge travel” is already in full swing in the resort area. People are clearly looking to make up for lost opportunities in 2020 and longer and more frequent vacations appear to be in their plans. We hope with this trend comes an awareness and understanding major issues are plaguing the hospitality industry and it starts with not enough workers.
As much as restaurants want to get back to normal with capacity and spacing restrictions lifted, many will struggle to meet the demands of a surge in business this summer and will likely resort to imposing their own limitations on operations. While it surely beats the alternative – not enough business to survive – the headaches and frustrations are real.
Hotels may not be able to rent out their entire inventory of rooms at times due to housekeeper issues. Lunch shifts will likely be eliminated at some restaurants because the personnel are not available to man the shifts. Weekday closures to give staff time off could be the norm like last season. To get out ahead of the summer rush, businesses are offering unprecedented signing bonuses to land prospective employees in a competitive market.
Our hope is visitors understand there are simply more jobs than employees. It’s going to be the case all summer. We will need to adjust expectations, maintain some perspective and give those in the hospitality industry support. There will be stumbles, but let’s all give them a boost by being reasonable.