Daylee Public House was forced to cancel a planned grand
due to lack of staffing.
— Daylee Public House/Simply Irresistible Catering owner Megan
Day didn’t foresee it as an issue.
than three years after starting the successful catering
business, Day eyed opening a new restaurant and bar which
specializes in its lunch service. Her intention was to have the
grand opening of the Daylee Public House, 453 W. Main Street, in
a shortage of kitchen staff has led to Day putting off the grand
opening event until a later date, though the restaurant and bar
is open for appetizers and drinks.
didn’t know it’d be this difficult,” Day said of the
employee shortage. “I’ve done things in a bit of a different
way than most restaurants that would have an opening day or a
soft opening; people tend to wait until they’re fully staffed.
But I’ve little by little added more things with the help of a
few people; there’s a tradition between me and my dad. But
other than that, I had no idea it’d be this difficult.”
isn’t alone in experiencing the issue, either. It’s been the
same problem at Meli Bar & Restaurant, 294 W. Main Street.
co-owner Llazar Konda said since opening a year and a half ago,
not only has he experienced a higher-than-usual turnover rate,
but also a lack of people applying to work at the restaurant and
low on staff in general,” Konda said. “It’s unbelievable
at times; there’s nothing you can do about it. Some people
just don’t take it seriously. I’ve done this for 23 years; I
have been a server, a bartender, have worked in kitchens and now
own my own place.
always been dedicated to this and unfortunately not a lot of
people take this seriously. You can make a lot of money by doing
it right, you can make a good living with this.”
trend isn’t new to the industry, Wisconsin Restaurant
Association President and CEO Ed Lump said.
been going on for some time,” Lump said. “It’s been more
difficult to hire people these days. A lot of the reason is
because there’s a labor shortage. It’s not just in our
this is an industry that needs a lot of people, it requires a
lot of people to provide the service people are accustomed to
and it is becoming more of a problem.
to data provided by www.restaurant.org,
there were 12,170 businesses to eat and drink at in Wisconsin in
2015. With an estimated 270,200 restaurant and food service jobs
in the state this year and new businesses continuing to open, an
emphasis has been placed on filling those vacant roles.
as Day and Konda have found out, it hasn’t been easy.
restaurant business is thriving and is doing very well in the
state and the country,” Lump said. “The economy is getting
better, gas prices are lower and you have more disposable
income. People are feeling better, are spending more money and
business is up, dates and celebrations are up.
owners have to recognize that and adjust their wage scale to the
reality of our economy. It has nothing to do with the law,
it’s just that when you have a shorter supply, you pay more
for the product.”
said aside from the economic standpoint, part of the problem is
some younger employees’ lack of desire to work diligently.
think part of it has to do with our society and where we are
today,” Konda said. “People take things for granted. I think
it has to do with the newer generation. In 22 years, I never
missed a shift, never called in, I have been dedicated to make a
living off of it.
just don’t have an answer, it’s very frustrating. I’ve
been here a year and a half and am still looking for staff.”
added that he has hopes of expanding and opening up new
restaurant, but remains wary because of the staffing issues.
to make a change
said to try and curb the issue, she’s reached out to culinary
students enrolled at schools such as Waukesha County Technical
College, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Carroll University
to obtain her desired kitchen staff of as many as eight
I first opened I had one staff member, which was great in
helping get the freezer restocked,” Day said. “Once we felt
comfortable and opened the bar, we unveiled some bar snacks.
I’ve been more on the mindset on unveiling things little by
little and making sure customers are enjoying everything.
of pushing it, I’m taking a different approach of slowly
opening. I want to make sure that I have a solid staff
then, there’s no guarantee when her new restaurant and bar
will be fully staffed in the kitchen and fully operational.
still up in the air until we get a full kitchen, but the sooner
the better,” Day said of rescheduling the grand opening.