California's reopening marred by employee shortage

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
California's reopening marred by employee shortage
Despite California reopening its economy, one problem persists -- a need for workers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Despite plans for California's reopening, one problem persists, a need for workers.

At The Lark Bar in San Francisco's Financial District bartenders were making specialty cocktails Monday night as patrons sat outside enjoying themselves. Owners tell us that business is picking up.

"This past weekend was a sure sign of things to come, it was packed in San Francisco," says owner Brian Sheehy who went on to say, "We had lines outside the door from the start!"

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The concern now is having the staff to serve those patrons. Brian Sheehy and Doug Dalton own 12 San Francisco and Berkeley cocktail bars including The Lark Bar, Local Edition, and Pagan Idol. They had 220 employees working for them pre-pandemic but now just 70 as only four of their locations have opened back up.

"With everybody hiring at the same time that has led to this massive requirement for a lot of hospitality workers," says Dalton.

While much has been made about unemployment benefits, many of Dalton and Sheehy's employees have left the Bay Area for locations with cheaper rents in other states. Both owners believe that their staff will eventually return to the Bay but admit that finding new workers is a challenge.

This isn't just a restaurant and bar thing though. Brentwood public parks are maintained by Terracare Associates. They need 22 landscapers ASAP and are offering signing bonuses.

"$250 to anyone who gives a referral and $750 sign-on bonus. This seems to be the worst labor shortage that we've had in ten years," says Kris Dasso of Terracare Associates.

At Form Fitness Palo Alto, the same issue, a lack of workers. To the point where the youth are stepping up.

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"Post high school, college students are the ones filling in most of these gaps," says owner Sassan Golafshan. "That's really the only area where I've had success finding candidates, it's a short-term fix but at least it gets us up and running," says Golafshan.

Everyone hoping for a comeback of patrons but also a comeback of employees so that when these bars fill up, there is a full staff here to serve them.

If you're interested in landscaping work at Terracare Associates you should go to

If you're interested in fitness work at Form Fitness Palo Alto you should email

If you're interested in trying to work at one of Sheehy and Dalton's bars you go to

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