Options Available for Unemployed Hospitality Workers During COVID-19 Crisis

While employees in most every industry are experiencing challenges during the coronavirus crisis, hospitality workers have been among the hardest-hit by business closures. And there’s no guarantee there will be enough restaurant and hotel jobs to fill even when businesses begin to reopen. What are some options these unemployed waiters, hosts and line cooks can consider?

According to Derek Williamson, CEO of HigherMe, a recruiting platform that helps retail and service employers find, screen and hire employees, there are a few options available to hospitality workers right away.

“Becoming a delivery driver — either through a third-party app or in-house — is an option as hospitality and restaurant staff already have knowledge about food safety and how to handle orders,” Williamson says. “There have also been reports that unemployed chefs are being hired privately as families want help cooking or have someone else to do their grocery shopping.”

Jobs in senior living communities also are options for unemployed hospitality workers. Since many of these facilities are actively recruiting and hiring, according to James Balda, president and CEO of Argentum, a trade association for senior living communities. Argentum recently partnered with the American Seniors Housing Association to launch Senior Living FastMatch, a resource to help workers who have been displaced due to COVID-19 find jobs in the senior living sector.

“Hospitality, restaurant and retail workers are particularly impacted by the current crisis, and Argentum has been working with the American Hotel & Lodging Association to help connect these workers with senior living,” Balda explains. “They bring skills and experience that are a strong fit for many senior living positions, such as concierges, dining professionals and housekeepers,”

Brightview Senior Living, which operates senior living communities in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia, also has been working to connect with hospitality workers. Many of the available positions are in the dining and hospitality realm, which Ron Bryan, vice president of human resources, says most of today’s displaced hospitality workers likely are qualified to fill.

“COVID-19 won’t be over until there’s a vaccine, so businesses will experience rolling shutdown and disruptions,” he predicts. “Restaurants need to invest in training their staffs, so everyone can jump in to work multiple rolls when the next wave comes. The labor market was already tight, but workers will want to feel supported by their employer more than ever,” Williamson concludes.

(Article written by Kathleen Furore)