The staff crunch at eateries is so bad that restaurateurs have had to cut back their operating hours
By Rebecca Lynne Tan, The Straits Times, 10 Jul 2011
Do not be surprised the next time you go into your favourite restaurant and see its owner clearing tables.
Restaurateurs here are facing such severe service staff crunches that some are having to double as runners, delivering food to tables and helping to clear them.
Some have also had to limit operating hours or close off seating sections to cope with the manpower shortage.
When LifeStyle visited newly opened bistro-restaurant The Dempsey Brasserie in Dempsey Hill two weeks ago, the owners were seen pouring drinks behind the bar counter and clearing tables.
Opening hours have been cut too – it is open only for dinner on weeknights, but all day on weekends.
Says the restaurant’s co-owner Terence Tan, 40: ‘I can’t even begin to open for breakfast or lunch on weekdays – we just don’t have the capacity to, in spite of having advertised for staff.’
Over at two-week-old eatery Wild Oats at Punggol Park, its chef-owner Willin Low, 39, had to enlist the help of five friends last weekend to clear tables and serve food. The group, which included bankers and marketing managers, worked an average of five hours each night over Saturday, Sunday and Monday night.
Chef Low says: ‘We probably need about 15 service staff to run our Punggol Park outlet smoothly, but that weekend, we had only eight wait staff.’
He adds that he had to close a third of the 300-seater restaurant because of his staff shortage.
F&B players blame it on the tight labour market.