INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce started a campaign to encourage customers to practice patience as they dine out.
Robin Miller, CEO of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, said they are distributing posters and buttons to restaurants across Pinellas County. The campaign encourages kindness, compassion and patience when visiting local businesses.
Matthew Loder, CEO of the Original Crabby Bill's in Indian Rocks Beach, said his restaurant is short about 30 employees. The restaurant reduced its hours to adjust to the shortage of employees.
"We don't do breakfast right now. We're only doing breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays," said Loder.
Loder said despite the labor shortage, his restaurant is staying busy.
"We're doing record numbers. Our record year was 2019. We're surpassing those numbers. The challenge is staffing and getting enough people to come and work, but we're overcoming it," said Loder.
Crabby Bill's has a sign on its doors asking customers to "practice patience" as they dine.
"It's just reminding people to be patient and to be more accepting of a little bit longer wait. People are doing their very best they can," said Loder.
Miller said the labor shortage has happened for several reasons. She said some may not feel safe returning to work while others may have switched industries to survive last year.
"We do have a percentage of people on unemployment. However, we have people that have not sent their kids back to school, they may be a single parent. There may be a transportation factor because of COVID. They may have lost their car or may be sharing a car," said Miller.
Loder said he usually operates with about 185 employees. His restaurant is looking to hire.
"There is a crisis of labor going on. We're doing our very best. We don't want our guests to unnecessarily take it out on our people who are here working. They are doing the best they can under the circumstances being short-handed," said Loder.