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Restaurant workers call for change within industry

Former and current employees blame lack of respect, low wages for staffing shortages
Samantha Cherry left her position with a restaurant due to her pregnancy, but she is currently...
Samantha Cherry left her position with a restaurant due to her pregnancy, but she is currently looking for another job within the service industry.(Tony Geftos)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 6:44 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A recent survey shows restaurant owners across Ohio are concerned about staffing shortages. Some of those who left the industry are explaining to 13abc why they got out.

“We are overworked, understaffed, underpaid,” says Samantha Cherry, a former bartender and server. “The people who are willing to work are burnt out. You know, we’re trying our best, but we’re just all very burned out.”

Cherry says she left her job at a restaurant due to her pregnancy, but she is not on unemployment and she is currently looking for another position in the service industry.

Poll results published June 8, 2021, by the Ohio Restaurant Association shows 91% of food service operators in the Buckeye State rank staffing shortages among their top three concerns. It also states, “An overwhelming majority of restaurateurs feel that $300 per week additional federal unemployment insurance is the cause of the staffing shortage.”

A recent poll by the Ohio Restaurant Association shows "An overwhelming majority of...
A recent poll by the Ohio Restaurant Association shows "An overwhelming majority of restaurateurs feel that $300 per week additional federal unemployment insurance is the cause of the staffing shortage."(Tony Geftos)

“A respect thing. Sometimes the service industry workers are not respected,” adds Eli Synder, who left the food service industry to try other work, but returned to restaurant work. “Sometimes people make you feel like the bar industry or restaurant industry isn’t a life. it isn’t a real job or something like that.”

Snyder says a steady paycheck rather than lower tipped wages would held bring employees to the restaurant business. The ORA survey showed additional potential solutions including bonuses, an emphasis on culture and opportunities, and marketing the industry as a career.

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