PHILDEPHIA (WPVI) -- Restaurant operators in the Philadelphia area say the tables have turned since the beginning of the pandemic. From not having enough customers to not having enough workers to serve them.
They're hoping to attract more workers for the busy summer season.
On Saturday at LaScala's Fire in Villanova, Montgomery County, plenty of tables were filled.
But the staff was far from it at all four locations.
"We are hiring all positions, dishwashers, hostesses, bussers, and I can probably fill four to six of every position for every restaurant," said regional manager Chris Borrelle.
And because so many restaurants are desperate for employees, he says it can turn into a wage war.
"One restaurant needs help so bad they'll go a dollar more. And then we have to go a dollar, and we go back and forth. The employees really are the ones in control of the situation right now," added Borrelle.
Since then are so many open positions, workers have to learn everyone else's jobs. From running the hostess stand to making drinks and making and serving food.
They say it can get hectic.
"It can get to the point where if there are only one or two bussers on, you have to bus your table to be able to flip it for the next person," said serve Carlton Morrissey.
While he lives a few minutes from the Glassboro, N.J. location, he works two days a week in Villanova because of the staffing situation.
He says through the days of takeout only and limited capacity, he's stuck with LaScala's because he likes the environment and his co-workers.
Over the past few months, he says things have picked up.
The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association says some restaurants have had to cut back their operating hours.
Director of operations and strategy Ben Fileccia says more and more restaurants are now offering bonuses, higher wages, and benefits.
"I think everybody's stepping up their game. With so many options for people to go to work, these potential employees are taking their time and seeing what the best fit is for them," said Fileccia.
Restaurants Action News spoke with say they're also willing to be more flexible with workers' hours to get people in the door and working for what they expect to be a busy summer.
Help Wanted: restaurants looking to hire as business picks up
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