It’s always chaos for restaurateurs, workers

Last month, I saw that two very good and trendy restaurants in Metro Detroit had to close on a weekend night because they didn’t have enough staff.

If these places – which are known for paying staff well, having good food and reasonable hours – can’t have enough staff to be open on some of their busiest days, that’s probably the tip of the iceberg. regarding the staffing issues that are always plagued by restaurants.

I think it makes sense for a restaurant owner or manager to close rather than trying to deliver without the proper number of staff. However, not all companies are able to do this. Some operating with a reduced staff risk a hectic dinner service.

In recent days we have heard reports from restaurants in northern Michigan that this summer customers have been ruder than they have ever been and that this needs to stop.

“My staff have been taking a BEAT all week. Last night was our last straw,” Larah Moore wrote on Facebook on July 24. kitchen early due to an abundance of rude customers.

“My staff started to crumble physically and mentally,” Moore told Newsweek, adding that East Park was understaffed and there was a big event in Charlevoix last month, the decades-old Venetian Festival. .

This was the first I had heard of this in over a decade of restaurant coverage. Still, I wasn’t totally surprised. It reminded me of vitriol restaurant and bar workers faced when they had to enforce mask rules in 2020.

Located about 40 minutes south of East Park, Short’s Brewing used the East Park incident to remind customers they said “enough is enough” in the summer of 2020 when similar tensions and attitudes appeared.

“Summer business brings back customers who swear, yell, laugh at us, insult us, put us down, make us cry and threaten negative reviews or never come back,” read a statement posted on Facebook last Thursday. “Spoiler alert: this year they are more relentless than ever.”

I can see how a person can go from Jekyll to Hyde in any of these situations. You are on vacation in the north and maybe there are only a limited number of places to eat within a short distance. As you walk in an employee says it’s an hour wait even though you can see empty tables.

It’s frustrating, especially if you add hunger to the mix. Menu prices are also rising, so it’s easy to want to complain about slow service when it costs more than ever.

However, I’d rather be told to come back in an hour for a table than be seated where the waiters are stressed, the kitchen overwhelmed and the management pulled in all directions. The number of tables and chairs in a building does not reflect what the people working at that time can handle.

Be patient. Like a concert whose tickets are sold out, sometimes there just isn’t enough room at that time.

It’s August and we’re in brackish waters between summer vacation and back to school, which could mean some restaurants are losing staff when they need them most.

Is the solution to pay employees more? That may not be enough.

Survey results released by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association in the spring found that nearly all restaurants surveyed had raised wages in the past year, but 80% said they did not. still lacked the staff needed to meet customer demand.

After:Survey says staffing still down, wages and menu prices up at Michigan restaurants

Still, many want to see Michigan’s minimum wage and tipping minimum wage increase. A voter-initiated law that would raise the minimum wage and give workers paid sick leave was making its way through the legislature. Opponents of the wage increase say it could lead to “an immediate economic decimation of full-service restaurants.”

On Friday, a Michigan judge, Douglas Shapiro, issued a stay that postponed the initiative to February.

“We hope the State of Michigan will seek a full stay of Justice Shapiro’s decision in the Court of Appeals and that ultimately a decision will be reached that will put Michigan restaurants on a reliable path to recovery. complete, which includes operating on tip credit like 42 others currently do,” MRLA President and CEO Justin Winslow said in a statement, adding that it “leaves a reeling industry unsure of its future and unable to make informed decisions to regain stability”.

What I’m saying is that all of these factors – a possible pay rise for restaurateurs, the stress of being one of the few employees on the floor, and the fact that a restaurant might need to temporarily close at any time – affect us diners; we are not immune to these issues and need to plan accordingly.

We can add fuel to the fire by being a “fool,” or we can enter into a culinary experience with patience and understanding.

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Twitter: @melodybaetens

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