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Hawaii’s hospitality industry battles labor shortage

Hospitality Labor Shortage
Hospitality Labor Shortage

Hawaii reportedly has a labor shortage in its hospitality industry, forcing restaurateurs to seek inventive staffing solutions. Among them is Mikiya Wagyu Shabu House, set to open in June, with more than 50 open positions.

The management team offers competitive salaries, flexible schedules, and added perks to attract potential employees. This approach reflects the challenges facing, both small and large enterprises throughout Hawaii’s hospitality industry.

Restaurant proprietor Jack Zhang must fill positions ranging from general manager to waitstaff and cooks. If there are insufficient workers by opening day, Zhang plans to enlist the aid of friends and family.

Several businesses in Hawaii have struggled to find employees since the pandemic began, despite offering competitive wages and benefits. Another hiring crunch is expected this summer, forcing many to prepare for possible staff shortages.

One key hurdle in recruitment is a limited applicant pool, which requires learning about job opportunities mainly through referrals and word of mouth. Zhang highlights issues such as a shrinking candidate pool, high turnover rates, and living costs contributing to the labor shortage.

Access to potential job candidates remains limited without effective advertisement and recruitment methods.

Hawaii’s innovative solutions to hospitality labor shortage

Zhang stresses the need for innovative solutions, revised hiring strategies, and addressing the high cost of living as crucial steps to overcome this issue.

In response to the crisis, Zhang’s short-term solution is to use staff from his other restaurant. This option, however, may not be available to all struggling businesses. Meanwhile, The Hawaii Chamber of Commerce is considering revising regulations that increase local businesses‘ operational costs to build a more robust workforce.

The summer hiring season brings further challenges, such as balancing vacation schedules, addressing childcare issues, and managing increased operational costs. Nevertheless, buoyed by his passion for the business, Zhang plans to open two more restaurants in Honolulu next year.

To mitigate potential employment issues, Zhang considers solutions like flexible shifts and providing childcare options for his employees. He also plans to examine resource distribution and cost-saving innovations to offset increased operating costs. With his dedication to providing excellent service and a love for the food industry, Zhang navigates these challenges and plans for expansion.

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