Struggling local businesses look for creative solutions to bring in more employees

Desperate and creative are two words that can be used to describe some local businesses who are struggling to stay open because of staff shortages. Things may be reopening, but the struggle is real for business owners.

"We’re stuck right now, dead in the water," Erini Restaurant owner Nickolas Fifis lamented.

Fifis hopes the big, bold "Hiring" letters catch the eye. Originally put up along I-95 to get ahead of his restaurant’s staffing issues, he says it’s now a cry for help.

"It’s crushing for me. We have, like, 20 tables in the back of the restaurant. They’re just collecting dust, because we don’t even have the servers to serve them or the cooks to cook for them," Fifis described his situation.

One of the countless businesses coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic with serious staffing shortages as the country reopens, the Ewing restaurant is now offering a $500 finder’s fee for people who only refer someone to work there and a $200 signing bonus.

If it sounds familiar, signs for similar incentives are popping up in local Wawas. New hires for certain positions will be offered $500 to fill thousands of openings. An employee told FOX 29 staffing shortages led to a Somers Point location closing until June.

"I’m doing whatever it takes, working six and seven days a week," Village Catering and Cottage Green Banquet facility owner Anthony Giannone, remarked.

Giannone says people are flooding in to reschedule events, but they don’t have enough people to pull them all off.

"It’s a major dilemma and then you’re burning your help out because they can only do so much as a human being," Giannone explained.

"The feedback we’ve been getting is why would I go to work when I’m making more money sitting home and doing nothing," Fifis added.

Monday, President Joe Biden says unemployed Americans that are offered a job must take it or they could lose benefits for work.

Some lawmakers blamed last week’s disappointing job report on his decision to offer expanded unemployment benefits through August.

"I fear for the summer," Fifis stated.



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