A Florida steakhouse owner has become a full-time chef due to lack of staff.
Bubba’s Roadhouse cooked 400 steaks on Father’s Day, but had to close the day after because it was out of staff.
The lack of staff meant that Bubba’s had to take items off the menu and do it without a hostess at the door.
A staff shortage at a Florida steakhouse has forced the owner to become a full-time chef responsible for preparing about 200 steaks a day.
Jay Johnson, owner of Bubba’s Roadhouse and Saloon in Cape Coral, told Insider in an interview that he works eight hours a day seven days a week to fill in the gaps in his workforce. There should be twelve people working in the kitchen, but there are only nine.
“I was also the meat cutter for five months and worked one night at the real cooking,” Johnson said, adding that he just hired an 18-year-old girl and taught her how to cut meat.
The biggest challenge for Bubba’s is staying open and taking care of customers, Johnson said. The steakhouse had to close Monday because no employees were available after Johnson adjusted the schedule so that all staff worked on Father’s Day – one of the restaurant’s busiest days.
“Customers definitely suffer when we’re understaffed,” Johnson said. “We have a slower service and that has consequences for the guests.”
On weekends and busy days, Bubba’s cooks about 200 steaks, as well as other dishes, Johnson said. On Father’s Day, the restaurant produced up to 400 steaks, he added.
The Ministry of Labour says Florida’s minimum wage is $10 an hour, while tipping workers must receive $6.98 an hour, according to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association† Johnson pays his kitchen staff $13 an hour and his front desk staff $7 in tips, but said they can earn between $150 and $200 per day, while bartenders can earn up to $400 per day. Everyone is paid for overtime, he added.
The lack of staff meant that Bubba’s had to take several items off the menu on some nights and operate without a hostess to greet guests at the door, Johnson said.
Bubba’s staff are exhausted from the six-day schedule — one employee even left because they were burned out, Johnson said. Other workers left because they returned to college, moved to cities, and some were fired for being unsuitable for Bubbas, he added.
Johnson said the labor shortage for him has improved in recent months, but Bubba’s is still not fully staffed, which still makes it a challenge.
“I’d be happy if I could get out of the kitchen every day,” Johnson said.
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