VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the sunny days continue, people are taking advantage of the weather and enjoying their favourite patio, but the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA) warns a shortage staff across the region may mean longer waits.
Ian Tostenson with the BCRFA says a lack of staff is affecting service in the Lower Mainland, especially as restaurants deal with more tables during patio season.
He says the shortage is particularly felt in Vancouver, where patios gain popularity during the summer months.
According to the BCRFA, the region is having to deal with a high number of retirements while not enough people to replace them.
“We have a lot of people retiring in the population of British Columbia,” Tostenson says. “For every three people that retire, we are replacing with just two people.”
He says shortages may mean longer waits when eating at patios or restaurants having to simply their menus.
“We have seen their hours change, so later openings and earlier closings. In some cases, restaurants are closing on Mondays and Tuesdays because they just can’t find the labour.”
Some restaurants may also move into “fast-fine dinning,” Tostenson says to avoid table service.
He says the shortages are so substantial that it will take several years for the restaurant industry to recover.
“If you get to a patio and they seem busy, it’s because they are. Just be patient,” he says. “The restaurant industry will do everything it can to make sure they serve the customers and provide an enjoyable experience.”