Staffing issues continue for restaurants that are slowly climbing out of a pandemic-sized crater, and the latest example is Lord Fletcher's in the west metro canceling its popular Sunday brunch.
In an announcement posted to social media, Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge, nestled on the shore of Lake Minnetonka in Spring Park, announced that its Sunday brunch on Father's Day will be its last. The popular lakeside restaurant cites a "lack of staffing necessary to provide you with the highest quality of service."
Eater profiled the struggles to fully staff restaurants in May, noting that many workers still fear for their safety despite vaccinations being on the rise, in addition to fewer customers resulting in fewer tips – making the risk of returning to work less worthwhile. Eater added:
"Even with vaccinations on the rise, plenty of people remain scared to go back to grueling restaurant jobs. A February study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that line cooks had the highest mortality rate during the height of the pandemic in the U.S."
The Washingtonian spoke with a restaurant leader in May who believes extended unemployment benefits are keeping laid-off restaurant workers at home, while others took different jobs when restaurants were shut down for indoor service and they've come to enjoy the less grueling industries.
Unemployment benefits started as an extra $600/week last year before dipping to $300 extra per week, and those benefits are set to continue through early September. Republicans have called on Gov. Tim Walz to end the federal unemployment benefits as nearly two dozen other states have.
U.S. Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber and Michelle Fischbach said in a letter to Walz it’s time to “allow the economy to roar back to life.”
"Small businesses across Minnesota are desperately seeking workers but cannot compete with these federal payments," U.S. Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Tom Emmer, Pete Stauber and Michelle Fischbach wrote in a letter to Walz in May. “It is time to get Minnesotans back to work by not paying them to stay home."
Hospitality Minnesota surveyed hundreds of business owners in May and 83% described their jobs situation as "tight," while just 25% of foodservice operators said labor availability was good or they weren't hiring at all.
In late May, a spokesperson for Hospitality Minnesota told Minnesota Reformer that 25,000 jobs are needed to meet the combined demand at hotels and restaurants in Minnesota.
Bring Me The News has reached out to Lord Fletcher's about its specific struggle to maintain sufficient staffing levels.