'It's impacting us': Restaurant interviewees and new hires 'ghosting' Bay Area employers

ByMelanie Woodrow KGO logo
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Restaurant interviewees and new hires 'ghosting' employers
An unwelcomed trend in the dating world is seeping into the restaurant hiring process. It's called "ghosting."

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An unwelcomed trend in the dating world is seeping into the restaurant hiring process. It's called "ghosting."

Restaurant owners say interviewees or recent hires are disappearing without a trace.

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As San Francisco's Bluestem Brasserie prepares to re-open post-pandemic, we caught up with owner Stacy Jed on the road with her dog Conrad, shopping for restaurant supplies.

"So far we've hired back probably half the team members that we need, but one thing we have noticed in the interview process is a lot of ghosting," said Jed.

Ghosting is a term typically reserved for dating, where someone ends all communication without warning or explanation.

Jed says she's been ghosted repeatedly recently in the interview process from entry level positions all the way up to management.

"'Maybe he's out of town, oh shoot maybe something happened to them?' No," said Jed with a laugh.

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Many San Francisco restaurants and bars have reopened, but as coronavirus numbers have been up and down, so has business for some.

She says it could be someone she's sourced from Indeed or Craigslist. The only time she doesn't see it happening is if it's been a recommendation by someone she knows.

As for why?

"Maybe the realization of going back to work is a little overwhelming. Maybe they're looking at multiple opportunities and as soon as they find one they start right away and they just discard anyone else they've been talking to," said Jed.

"It's certainly happening more often so it's impacting us pretty substantially," she continued.

Bob Partrite is Chief Operating Officer of Simco Restaurants, a portfolio of five restaurants. He says ghosting is nothing new.

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"It's kind of always been there in our industry. Employees will get a different job, get a job down the street that might pay a little bit more money and just kind of blow off unfortunately," said Partrite.

Partrite says it's relatively easy for employees in the industry to get jobs. That kind of availability contributes to moving around, much like dating.

"I always like to say a no is better than a maybe, a ghosting feels like a maybe like perhaps they'll come back or maybe they didn't get the message, but at the end of the day if they're interested they would have gotten back to you right away so we'll just take that maybe as a no," said Jed.

And just as loyalty lends itself to exclusivity, treating employees exceptionally well may be the antidote to ghosting.

Employers at a coffee shop and café on Townsend Street both said they've escaped the trend by retaining the same team year after year.