As jobs become available again, South Florida hospitality leaders finding new employees difficult to come by

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – The hospitality industry is rebounding, especially in South Florida.

The problem is, right now, there aren’t enough people taking jobs that are available.

Concerns are continuing to grow for people working in South Florida’s hospitality industry as their businesses are beginning to rebound, but they can’t hire enough staff to keep up.

“If we don’t have the ability to properly staff our businesses then there’s not going to be the same type of customer service and the amount of services we can actually offer during this pandemic,” said Heiko Dobrikow, General Manager of Riverside Hotel and Executive Vice President of Las Olas Company. “It was just interesting to see that there was a slow demand of folks wanting to come back into the workplace.”

Hospitality expert Scott Berman said the recovery has been fast, with the number of visitors in our area jumping up significantly in 2021 as more people begin to get comfortable venturing out.

“The reality is hotels are labor-intensive entities and therefore staffing and ramping up for the newfound demand has been a challenge,” said Berman. “For the last eight weeks, greater Miami has seen an occupancy above 80%.”

But staffing has continued to be a problem, and as hotels and restaurants begin seeing more and more people come in the door, they are struggling to keep up.

So places like Mr. Q Crab House in Hollywood are getting creative to fill the gaps.

“We’ve been struggling along, it’s not too bad,” said Mr. Q Crab House manager Shaheen Maleki. “We make it work. But we decided that these three little robots over here would help us out.”

The robots, named Peanut, Bevis And Butthead, help do everything from leading customers to their table to singing them happy birthday.

As for why this shortage of employees is happening, there are a few reasons.

A big one is that unemployment benefits and stimulus checks have been pretty easy to come by, and some people just aren’t motivated to get back to these sorts of jobs yet.

There are also hundreds of thousands of workers who normally come from out of state, or even out of the country, to work in the South Florida hospitality industry, but many of them haven’t come back since the pandemic ended.

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