Help Wanted: Labor Crisis Shocks California Restaurants

In this Saturday, June 19, 2021, photo, Caroline Styne, owner and wine director at The Lucques Group, standing under umbrella, welcomes back regular customers, Chris Anokute with his wife Jasmine and their 9-month-old son, Phoenix, at the A.O.C. Brentwood restaurant in Los Angeles. Styne has turned away dozens of customers at the company's A.O.C. West Hollywood restaurant because she doesn't have the staff to serve them, leaving seats empty. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(AP) — California restaurants that managed to survive the pandemic are facing a new crisis: finding workers. With the economy officially reopened, owners are eager to fill dining rooms to full capacity but can’t find enough cooks, food servers or kitchen staffers to do the job.

As a result, restaurants are being forced to cut operating hours or leave tables open. Jot Condie of the California Restaurant Association calls it a full-blown crisis.

Restaurant owners and industry insiders blame several factors for the shortage. They include extended federal jobless benefits that have allowed workers to stay home. Other workers moved out of state during the pandemic.


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