Chef: Jacksonville's Restaurant Industry Faces Worker Shortage

Apr 12, 2021

Jacksonville restaurant owners are facing a new problem. Now that customers are coming back, some eateries are having trouble finding enough staff.

Chef Richard Robinson of Pink Salt Restaurant and Wine Bar, a Carribean style restaurant in San Marco, is short about 4 or 5 cooks.  Robinson told First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross Monday that he suspects unemployment benefit extensions - along with stimulus checks -are keeping some workers at home. 

“I’ve had employees that I’ve called back when we reopened the restaurant, ‘Hey, you wanna come back? We have benefits, we’ve got 401K benefits; we’re doing a starting bonus of 250 dollars’ and people are like, ‘Absolutely not.’”

Another problem is the number of unqualified workers who are applying for jobs in the food service industry.

Richardson said some can be trained, but others find the work not to their liking.  Training and then losing workers, he says, is both time-consuming and expensive.

The full interview with Richardson can be heard on Monday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, which encores at 8 p.m. on WJCT News 89.9.

Michelle Corum can be reached at, 904-358-6308 or on Twitter at @MCorumonME.