BROOKLINE, Mass. – If you are having difficulty getting a reservation at your favorite restaurant, it may have something to do with the continuing shortage of staff. Massachusetts restaurants are finding ways to make it work without enough people working.
This means that some places still cannot seat all the tables, reducing available reservations. More and more establishments are now offering customers without reservations the option of ordering and paying via a table app.
âThe guest will order as if they were ordering takeout online,â said Josh Ziskin, chef and owner of the Punch Bowl at Brookline. âThen we have the support staff, like food runners and bussers, who can bring food and drink right to the table without a waiter. “
Ziskin, who also owns La Morra at Brookline and Heritage of Sherborn, said the serverless experience is not ideal but an option not to turn guests away. He said Heritage of Sherborn now regularly uses the Toast app in situations where people don’t have reservations. You will be able to order directly in the kitchen after scanning a QR code on your phone.
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âWe have to keep the lights on. It’s hard to say no. Where do you draw the line between service and experience? Ziskin asked.
Ziskin told Boston 25 News that he has a particular difficulty hiring staff in his suburb of Sherborn because it is not accessible by public transportation.
âWe went from college to high school,â he said. “It’s just a battle to attract people.”
Bob Luz, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, said the end of several unemployment benefit programs in early September had not increased the workforce as some had hoped. He told Boston 25 News that many restaurants were also planning that children returning to school for full-time in-person learning would bring more staff on board.
âA lot of women have left the workplace, and we think it has a lot to do with schools being so inconsistent with their schedules,â Luz told Boston 25 News. âWe thought we would hopefully see a resurgence of women coming back. This does not happen.
Luz highlighted another factor that he believes plays a role in staffing levels. He said the combination of baby boomers retiring at a high rate and generations below them with less of a population entering the workforce contributes to current shortages.
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