WARWICK, R.I. (WJAR) — Multiple restaurants in Rhode Island are offering people financial incentives to work, amid difficulties hiring full staff ahead of the summer.
"It's tight. I think anybody in our industry that says it isn't would be lying," said Sienna Restaurants president and co-owner, Anthony Tarro.
Tarro said they will be giving bonuses to current employees, while also offering incentives to people who come to work for them for a certain period of time.
"We're working it off of 13-week periods. So, if you come on board with us and you work for six weeks, you are going to get half of that incentive," explained Tarro. "The incentive goes from $500 for entry-level employees for 13 weeks up to $2,500 for general managers and executive chefs."
Tarro said there is already a shortage in the market for employees. With restaurants now upping their pay, it has become quite competitive to find staff.
"If we have to break even or loose a small amount of money during this period of time, if that's what we have to do, we'll do it. We have a greater responsibility than to just ourselves. We have 100 employees that rely on our operation being open every single day. We can't fail them," said Tarro.
But they are not the only restaurant group trying to add money to pay checks as a way to encourage people to apply.
Boat House general manager Lou Capodilupo said Newport Restaurant Group is having a difficult time hiring some seasonal positions, too.
"We need about 30 line cooks that we would typically already have hired at this point in time," said Capodilupo.
Capodilupo said they are offering an incentive too, something he has never seen before in the industry.
"This is a brand-new thing, but it's something with the pandemic and the lack of applicants that we're having," said Capodilupo.
Tarro said he worries if people do not react to what is happening, it will be a tough summer for restaurants who aren't along the coast.
"I think the federal government and state and local officials need to take a look at all of these benefits that are being provided to people. It's an incentive not to come back to work," said Tarro.