San francisco restaurants

San Francisco restaurants face staff shortages as reopening continues

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — As the Bay Area continues to reopen and more people feel safe to eat again, many restaurants are facing staff shortages.

With more bars reopening in San Francisco, which is now in the yellow tier, many owners are forced to compete for employees.

North Beach is normally crowded every weekend. We are seeing a lot more people going out and dining again probably because more people are getting their shots, but as business picks up the owners here say many employees now have to fill multiple roles in the restaurant.

“The weekends are definitely very good, very busy. People feel more comfortable getting vaccinated,” said Francesco Covucci.

Francesco Covucci is the owner of the California Fish Market restaurant in the North Beach district of San Francisco.

As he sees business picking up here and at his three other restaurants in town, he says the need for more staff is greater than ever.

“The bus boy is currently floor manager. You know the server is a bartender and a food runner and a cocktail runner and that’s the main challenge right now,” Covucci said.

Covucci says its staff has shrunk by about 25% since the pandemic and needs up to 25 additional staff between its four restaurants.

Other restaurant owners like John Konstin Jr., owner of John’s Grill near Market and Ellis streets, have also been busy trying to rehire staff.

“We called a lot of people from our original team to ask if they would like to come back and fill the position that is opening up. We found that a lot of people have actually left San Francisco and a lot of people are still hesitant given that the coronavirus is still with us,” Konstin Jr said.

However, Konstin Jr. says he was lucky to bring back many of his longtime employees and prepare for expansion.

“We’re cleaning up our second and third floors and slowly looking to bring in bigger parties,” Konstin Jr.

With many other restaurants looking to do the same in the coming months when the state is set to fully reopen, some fear staff shortages will continue.

In addition to some of the current hiring challenges, more bars in San Francisco are also reopening this week due to the new yellow tier status, so as you can imagine owners say it’s getting more competitive to find and maintain a shrinking pool of employees.