© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Restaurant Industry Struggles With Staffing Shortages

Server in an empty restaurant.

The COVID-19 pandemic certainly placed stress on industries across the board but few were hit as severely, and as immediately, as the service industries.

Bars and restaurants were among the first businesses to shutter their doors and many never reopened. According to The National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants and bars closed in the United States, last year.

That's a huge loss of both jobs, an estimated 2.5 million lost and business activity, in the realm of $240 billion dollars.

But fast forward through nearly 14 months of reinvention from the industry, where restaurants are utilizing more takeout options, installing plastic barriers on tables, and limiting capacity - many hope to be returning to some sense of 'normal'.

Sales in March jumped more than 13 percent, to $62 billion, the strongest one-month increase in the past 12 months

Warm weather here in Cleveland, as well as the city hosting an event like the NFL Draft, certainly helps with the increase in business - but some establishments are having trouble in convincing their staff to come back to work.

Reasons are many. Some still fear of COVID-19, others found better work, or perhaps, say some employers, the increased federal unemployment benefits make returning to work simply not worth it.

Today's we'll talk to some local restauranteurs and get the current lay of the land.

Later in the hour we'll learn about a new book from Brandy Schillace, PhD. She's a medical historian who's most recent work, "Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher" follows the life of Clevelander Dr. Robert White, and his many hard to believe medical undertakings.


- Harold Harrison, Chief of Human Resources, Cleveland Metroparks
- Doug Petkovic, Owner and Operator, "Flannery's Pub" and "Mabel's BBQ"
- Karen Small, Owner, "The Flying Fig"

- Brandy Schillace, PhD, Author "Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher"; Editor in Chief, Medical Humanities Journal, BMJ London

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.