Virginia Beach restaurants face worker shortages ahead of Fourth of July weekend

Dough Boys Pizza
Fourth of July crowds
Posted at 10:45 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 23:49:03-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Fourth of July weekend is expected to get very busy at the Oceanfront. Some restaurant managers say they will appreciate customers' patience this weekend as they continue to deal with staff shortages.

"Every restaurant right now is struggling with staff, so if it takes a couple of minutes extra longer than you’re used to, just try to understand staff is working really hard to get to you as best as we can and as fast as we can," said Amber Kostka, the general manager of Stockpot Restaurant.

Restaurant owners and managers say they are grateful for this weekend’s large crowds but say it will be tough.

"We’ll get through this weekend, but people are going to be on overtime and they’re going to be tired," said George Kotarides, the owner of Dough Boys Pizza.

The general manager of Stockpot says employees have had to learn how to do different jobs.

"We have been struggling with getting fully staffed. People are working in positions they might not usually. People who work in the back are coming out and helping us run food," Kostka said.

Joshua Schmincke is a tourist from Baltimore. He says he understands the worker shortage because he also works in the hospitality business.

"I work in a restaurant industry. I’m always patient, and I always give a good gratuity amount because I know they work hard and they deserve it."

Dough Boys Pizza is looking to hire 25 workers. The owner says he’s optimistic about this weekend.

"I’d say nervous excitement. We’re always anticipating a big crowd for the Fourth of July weekend," Kotarides said.

Kotarides says he thinks the problem lies within unemployment benefits.

"A person is smart to stay home and collect a check. I think it's more of a government issue, maybe more of a political mistake to have these benefits to be extended so long. It doesn’t feel like we have a pandemic; it feels like we should be back to normal," Kotarides said.

Stockpot offers servers a starting pay of $9.25 an hour and is offering incentives for people to work at the restaurant.

Related: Staffing challenges remain at Virginia Beach Oceanfront

"We offer a signing bonus if you come on and stay and make it through at least 60 days," Kostka said.

Restaurant owners and managers say the Fourth of July weekend is normally their busiest weekend during the summer.