In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant industry is experiencing a staff shortage. To incentivize new workers, a Tampa, Florida-area McDonald’s location is offering people $50 just to come in for an interview.
Blake Casper owns that location and about 60 others in the area and says that a unique combination of increased customer demand and staffing difficulties has not been seen in decades.
“It’s a perfect storm right now,” Casper told Business Insider. “You’ve got a lot of people with a lot of money, and they’re out there shopping. And then, on the flip side, we’re scrambling for help.”
Regular checkin to how the labor market is right now… pic.twitter.com/pPq6zbCiah
— Dan Nunn (@danyay) April 15, 2021
“Regular check in to see how the labor market is right now,” he wrote.
Casper is also considering raising wages from $12 an hour to $13 in order to attract more employees.
With extended unemployment benefits in effect, Casper thinks that a higher wage is needed to demonstrate the value of the job to potential employees. Other factors may be playing a role, too.
“I think there is a fear element,” Credit Suisse analyst Lauren Silberman told Insider. “Because these are frontline workers, and we’re still in the midst of a pandemic.”
McDonald’s is not the only company facing this problem. In addition to an interview incentive, restaurants are also using other strategies to attract and retain the best talent.
“We do see businesses re-evaluating their benefits packages,” Alice Cheng, CEO of hospitality industry job search engine Culinary Agents, said during an appearance on the Eater’s Digest podcast. “That may include things like flexible scheduling, childcare, those types of things. A little more longer-term. We do see people offering retention bonuses for more near term, signing bonuses in certain situations, or referral bonuses, like giving their existing employees bonuses if they bring on one of their friends or they help recruit for them and then that person stays on for X amount of time.”
These may prove to be the better methods in the long run. Casper, who hired 115 workers for his locations in one week in April, said he has actually had more luck attracting people through signing bonuses, referral programs, and applications-by-text.