Restaurants trying to find workers as restrictions ease

HONOLULU — Hawaii restaurants are trying to find workers as COVID-19 capacity and social distancing rules that have been in place for much of the pandemic are lifted.

Restaurants and bars can operate at 100% capacity beginning Dec. 1.

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“We still are facing an ongoing labor shortage,” said Ryan Tanaka, Hawaii Restaurant Association’s incoming chair.

Finding line cooks and other back of the house employees is one of the biggest challenges, but there are other logistical issues involved with filling dining rooms, KHON-TV reported.

“There’s a supply chain disruption that’s happening worldwide,” Tanaka said. “So it’s still going to take some time for us to ramp up.”

Many restaurants are already getting reservations for large parties over the holiday season.

“I think we can actually add 10 to 15 more tables. It also depends how much tables we can put together for the larger parties,” said Korie Sasano of Side Street Inn. “So it’s really going back to the old ways of how we used to do things.”

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But they need the staff to accommodate those parties.

“Before we’ve done fliers and posted on social media, word of mouth, referral programs for employees,” Sasano said. “So hopefully we try that again, and we can get more people coming in.”

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