COSTA MESA (CBSLA) — Mother's Day reservations are quickly being booked at Southern California restaurants as families prepare to celebrate.
The holiday is a much-needed day off for many weary moms who have been cooking up a storm, facilitating online learning and working from home since the pandemic began.
But the question remains: Are businesses ready for the rush?
At Newport Rib Company in Costa Mesa, co-owner John Ursini said ramping up staff to pre-pandemic levels is a universal problem.
"It's getting everybody to work," he said. "People want to get out and they're finally feeling the vaccines are working. They finally feel like it's time to go, so now it's just a matter of making sure we have enough staff to make sure everything works."
Quattro Cafe in South Coast Plaza is also in desperate need of help.
Before the pandemic, a job listing for the restaurant would attract dozens of applicants. Now, General Manager Domenico Grillo said it has become difficult to get even a few people to apply.
"People they're used to making minimum wage, [then] they make more money with unemployment so they decide to stay home," he said. "This is the main reason."
"When you're sitting at home making 16 dollars an hour on unemployment or you can go to work making 14 dollars an hour, I get it," Ursini said.
Some restaurants have started offering incentives to new hires, from signing bonuses to gift cards.
At Quattro, Grillo said employees are taking on more than they used to.
"I have one person doing pastry, making bread, making breadsticks then when they finish that, go to the salads, make the salads, sometimes go to the pizza," he said.
One in six restaurants across the country have gone out of business since the pandemic began.
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