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NYC Restaurants Struggle to Rehire Staffers Amid Reopenings Push

Plus, NYC taqueria chain Tacombi expands to Miami — and more intel

A red and white help wanted sign hangs in the window Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Restaurants are struggling with staffing shortages

NYC restaurants have been flooding Instagram in recent weeks with posts calling for staff applications to fill just about every position in the kitchen and dining room. And it’s not just restaurants in the city that are having trouble staffing up: Many owners and chefs across the country are struggling to finally rehire full staffs now that vaccines are more widely available and state reopenings are underway, the New York Times reports.

Tom Colicchio’s Crafted Hospitality said that 80 to 85 percent of the company’s kitchen employees left NYC during the pandemic, according to the Times. Liz Murray, the director of human resources and communications for Andrew Tarlow’s Brooklyn restaurant empire, tells the Times that some of their employees also decamped from New York City during the pandemic. One former sous chef with the company switched careers and started training to become a computer programmer.

According to data from the National Restaurant Association cited in the report, staffing levels at full-service restaurants in February were 20 percent lower than the same time period one year ago. Chefs and owners mainly attribute the staffing decline to an influx of job availabilities without people to fill the positions, according to the report. But there are upsides to the staffing shortage: Some are predicting that the hiring issues will be a boon for restaurant workers, with establishments offering higher pay and more incentives to keep staffers with the company.

In other news

Queens Together, a newly formed restaurant association, donated 200 meals prepared by 10 member restaurants — including La Adelita, Rice x Beans, Nneji, and Bareburger — to feed approximately 240 people displaced by an eight-alarm fire in Jackson Heights. The meal donation was made possible by contributions the organization had collected for its food relief initiatives throughout the pandemic. — Caroline Shin, contributor

— The NYC exodus to Miami continues. Taqueria chain Tacombi has signed leases for two new locations in South Florida to open later this year, Commercial Observer reports.

— Comedian and Five Leaves restaurant staffer Rachel Williams has launched an outdoor stand-up comedy series for patrons at Greenpoint Beer and Ale Company.

— The New York Pizza Festival on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is going virtual this year, streaming free pizza content on Facebook and YouTube from Saturday, April 24 through Sunday, April 25.

— West Village hot spot Nami Nori is adding weekend brunch to the menu starting this Saturday, according to a spokesperson. Brunch items include mochi madeleines with coconut and pandan; mango mimosas; and brunch temaki sets including an everything smoked salmon, tomato, and onion cream option.

— It’s gorgeous: