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PG restaurants looking for workers as industry reopens

The B.C. Restaurants and Food Services Association stated the industry is facing a severe labor shortage.

The group estimates they are short between 35 to 45,000 front- and back-of-the-house positions.

President Ian Tostenson has some advice for anyone in the north looking to get their foot in the door.

“I would just head down and go to the local restaurant and meet the owner or general manager and just say I would love to work here and get some experience and I guarantee anybody that does that would get a job because we are in so much need.”

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“Before the pandemic, we had about 20,000 vacancies in our kitchens for cooks and chefs and that was really when we looked at the research that we did was a direct result of the people leaving the industry as they got older and or we were graduating enough people to handle the economy.”

He added while the shortage is a problem in places like Prince George, it can be shored up quickly given the amount of post-secondary students looking for work.

“You have the university (UNBC) so that helps a lot and once university starts up again and the kids head back to class this will help a lot but definitely in a geographical broad sense it’s all throughout the province.”

In addition, Tostenson is quite pleased bars and restaurants can serve liquor until midnight once again.

“That has more of an effect than I even thought myself. There are a lot of people who like to go out later and stay out later. We estimate that could be 25 to 30% of a day’s receipts in that extra two hours.”

Tostenson expects the industry to operate at near-normal capacity as the province enters Step 3, which could be as soon as July 1st.

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