HOLMES BEACH, Fla. — A restaurant owner on Anna Maria Island is looking to hire more than a dozen employees.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association said restaurants across the state of Florida are having trouble hiring new employees.
Buddy Foy, Jr. and his wife operate The Chateau Anna Maria in Holmes Beach. The restaurant was featured on "The Food Network" last year.
It opened in December and is located inside the Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club.
"We don't have staff, but we have demand. I didn't think filling restaurant jobs would be an issue. I really did not see that coming," said Foy.
Foy said he wants to hire about 16 employees. The positions include servers, dishwashers, chefs and bussers.
He is offering incentives to bring in new employees including a $250 referral fee.
"Referral fee not only to employees, but we're also offering to anyone. We have fishermen and friends in the area, we're saying if you find us a waiter or waitress, we'll pay you a referral fee. If you find us a chef, we'll pay you a referral fee," said Foy.
Foy said they are also offering new employees busy shifts during the day or evening. Typically newer employees are placed on a slower shift. Foy said the restaurant is consistently busy with customers, especially on the weekends.
"Everyone is getting an even playing field because we have offered up the best shifts to everybody," Foy said.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association told ABC Action News last week, restaurant owners statewide believe increased unemployment benefits have made it tougher to hire new staff.
Others argue people have switched industries to survive last year.
On Tuesday, the governor extended the work search requirement waiver until May 29. It means people on unemployment do not have to prove that they are actively searching for work.
Foy said if anyone is interested in applying for a job please visit their website: http://thechateauami.com.
"Shoot us an email," said Foy.