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Despite fully loosened COVID-19 restrictions restaurants and hotels in Michigan are still struggling

Posted at 9:46 AM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 09:46:18-04

LANSING, Mich. — Business is better than at the height of the pandemic but many local restaurants and hotels are still struggling.

The worker shortage is hitting the hospitality industry hard, leaving many restaurants closed and hotel rooms empty. The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released a statewide survey Wednesday that shows nine out of 10 restaurants and almost every hotel is dealing with inadequate staffing.

Justin Winsow, MRLA's president and CEO

“Despite the anecdotal stories of industry recovery, the data confirms the challenges businesses are facing tied to workforce inflationary pressures. And the re-emergence of covid-19 variants are staggering," said Justin Winsow who serves as MRLA's president and CEO.

The data also shows that 81% of hotels are limiting the number of rooms in use for the same reason.

“It's become clear that the nature and speed of this return have placed an enormous pressure on the industry and its supply chain," he said. "Almost 90 percent of respondents are operating with inadequate staffing right now to meet consumer demand. Nearly 80 percent of restaurant and hotel operators reported having to reduce hours.”

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Local restaurants are struggling to find workers as well.

Tyler Voller, recruiter for Cottage Inn Pizza

"A lot of people are able to potentially collect unemployment for longer than they were able to previously, so we've done everything from changing store hours, we've moved managers around, we've changed to [paying] a higher rate so we can compete with unemployment or other competitors," said Tyler Voller who works for Cottage Inn Pizza as a recruiter.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association found that restaurants and hotels are trying to meet the demand that exceeds even pre-pandemic levels, with 100,000 fewer workers.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association found that restaurants and hotels are trying to meet the demand that exceeds even pre-pandemic levels, with 100,000 fewer workers.

"95% of restaurant and hotel respondents have increased wages to meet this challenge in 2021, with more than half increasing wages by more than 10 percent this year. That is more than twice as much as any other industry right now," Winsow said in a statement.

The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association is pushing for help for the hospitality industry from government leaders. They hope to work with Governor Whitmer on legislation to lend the industry more support.

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Elle Meyers

Elle Meyers

6:12 PM, Apr 12, 2021

State Capitol

Neighborhood Reporter

Elle Meyers

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