Majority of Michigan restaurants still struggling to find workers

(WXYZ) — A new survey from the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association found that the state’s restaurant and hospitality industry has passed a big hurdle, but there’s still a long way to go.

According to the survey, According to the survey, in most cases salaries are up, but staffing is still extremely low. In a restaurant in Commerce Township, they take care of it.

Richard Lindberg, the owner of Gest Omelettes, is still short of two cooks and a waiter at his family restaurant off 14 Mile and Haggerty.

“When you lose a person in the kitchen, it takes a long time to prepare the food and get it through,” Lindberg said.

It triggered a reminder as soon as you walk into the restaurant: “Give us the extra bit of time we need to get things done,” Lindberg said.

The survey received responses from nearly 150 hotel and restaurant owners earlier this month. The MRLA found that 80% still do not have enough staff, although almost all have increased their salaries.

“It’s quite difficult. I have a lot of anxiety, but hey, I’m getting used to it,” said Tom Lin, chef and owner of Szechuan Empire.

During the pandemic, the food service got so sleepy that it expanded its fleet of food trucks to three. It’s now his main source of income outside of delivery, but with skyrocketing gas prices and often no one to transport food to events, he manages several jobs himself.

In addition to increasing his salary, Lin also had to increase menu prices, but only once. According to the survey, 87% of restaurants had to raise their prices.

“I had to do it, I had no choice. It was either that or the doors closed,” Lindberg said.

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, and it’s a chance for restaurants to fill up and cash in. But many places in Commerce Township are still operating with reduced hours due to a lack of staff.

Samer Yousif, the owner of TopUp Burgers, needs to hire three more workers. Right now, it’s breaking even.

“The hardest part is finding stuff. That you can’t even find anymore. You know the boxes for burgers, the boxes for subs,” he said.

Surprisingly, most owners we spoke to say they’re optimistic about the future, as their businesses survived – and in some cases – started during the height of the pandemic.

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