An ad for a Vancouver restaurant offering an annual salary of $50,000 for a new dishwasher has sparked renewed discussion about labor shortages in the province’s hospitality sector.
In August, Handi Grill Advertised An hourly wage of $25 for the job, citing the “effect of the labor shortage.” Dishwashing is an entry-level position whose salary is normally around the minimum wage.
“I think it shows how desperate our industry is right now to attract labor,” Mark von Schelwitz, Western Canada vice president of Restaurants Canada, told Granthshala News.
Handy Grill has since removed the ad posted on both Indeed.com and WorkBC, and while it declined a request for comment on the story, a spokesperson told Granthshala News that the position has been filled.
Granthshala Restaurant Group CEO Imad Yacoub suspected the ad was an “outright” sign of frustration. He acknowledged that the sector was facing a labor shortage, but suggested that such high wages for entry-level work would not be sustainable for anyone.
“If you’re making $50,000 as a dishwasher—that’s entry work—what are you going to pay your second cook? What are you going to pay your first cook? Sous chef?” He asked. “Forget what they’re making, how much is the consumer willing to pay for the food?
“If the consumer is willing to spend $80 on a plate of salmon, we’re willing to transfer the money to the employees. That’s not going to happen.”
Granthshala has 10 restaurants in the Vancouver area and more on the way.
Jacobs said that resumes submitted have increased since Ottawa set the Canada Emergency Response Benefit expiration date, but Granthshala still needs dishwashers, which it currently has. Recruitment At an hourly rate of $17.
According to Restaurants Canada, there were about 60,000 vacancies in B.C.’s restaurant sector before the pandemic — a number that has more than doubled to 130,000 since then.
Nine out of 10 restaurants also say they could use more staff, it reports.
The reduction is due to several factors, von Schelwitz said, including the shrinking demographic of young workers, migration to other occupations during the pandemic and CERB.
Capital Economics economist Stephen Brown agreed. He said that the example of Handi Grill is a well-known story of labor shortage across the country, which reaches its peak in summers.
The hope is that the closure of federal unemployment support could bring workers back, he said.
“I think the reality is, it’s not going to be that helpful … until immigration starts again, there’s not going to be a supply for these jobs.”
Brown said recalling workers would be a “difficult challenge” for restaurants, as the demand for the service exceeds the supply of workers.
Restaurants can be cautious about raising wages, he explained, lest they end up with a net profit of too few employees, all of whom will have to pay them more.
“Some restaurants can afford to do this, high-end restaurants … prices and risk losing customers.”
This is likely to be a “wait-and-see” scenario, he said, and small restaurants need to find new ways to attract workers or capacity that replaces them.