Tampa Bay restaurants struggle to find employees

Precinct Pizza is looking to hire
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Posted at 10:12 PM, Nov 17, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — A local pizza shop has been struggling to find employees for at least the past six months.

Rick Drury has operated Precinct Pizza on Cross Creek Blvd. for more than 4 years. He is adding another location in downtown Tampa and wants to hire at least 30 people at the new location. He hopes to open the downtown location in the next few weeks, but said he is struggling to hire staff.

"I can't find staff to come into work, no one applies for jobs anymore, no one comes in. I think some of it was due to COVID initially, but now that the vaccine is readily available, I don’t believe that anymore," said Rick Drury, owner of Precinct Pizza.

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On Sunday, Drury said he closed the pizza shop early because of a lack of staff.

"No one came in and we couldn’t do it physically just exhausted, needed a break. We just shut it down, no choice," said Drury.

ABC Action News has reported on several stories about business owners struggling to find employees in the hospitality and restaurant industry.

According to the National Restaurant Association, a national survey of restaurant operators indicated although the industry has added back many of the jobs lost during the pandemic, 78% of operators say their restaurant doesn’t have enough employees to support current customer demand. The National Restaurant Association Research Group conducted the COVID-19 Restaurant Impact Survey of 4,000 restaurant operators Sept. 7-15, 2021.

"This is definitely unprecedented times. There’s nothing like this before," said Drury.

Drury said he offers his employees flexible schedules.

"Flexible scheduling, we work around everyone else’s schedule, very flexible scheduling. We offer pretty competitive pay and definitely give bonuses to people when I can," said Drury.

Anyone interested in applying for a job may stop by Precinct Pizza at 10970 Cross Creek Blvd. Tampa, Florida, or call (813) 982-0911.