Like a lot of restaurants these days, the Philadelphia-based Starr Restaurant group, which owns 30 restaurants along the East Coast, is short of workers. The traditional methods of finding cooks and servers—advertising, help wanted signs, offering current employees bounties for bringing in friends—aren’t working. So this past Saturday, Starr staffers went out into Rittenhouse Square, one of the city’s largest public parks, in a quest for new workers.
CBS3 captured footage of servers in black pants and white shirts carrying silver trays of mineral water, along with cards with further information about job openings that could also be redeemed for a glass of wine at Starr restaurants. New employees will also be rewarded with $300 signing bonuses.
“Being the popular restaurant group that we are, we’ve never had difficulties getting employees before,” Randi Sirkin, Starr’s vice president of creative services, told CBS3. “But due to the shortage these days, we’re resorting to whatever tactics it takes. A little bribery, we’re trying to think outside the box.”
But based on what other restaurants are offering these days (as reported by Eater), $300 is starting to look like peanuts.
Starr’s properties range from fine dining restaurants to burger and wing joints, including a soon-to-open Baja Mexican spot. Its website shows 75 open positions throughout the chain, only nine of which are in Philadelphia. (I’m assuming, though, that they want more than one sous chef, line cook, or server.) None of the listings make any mention of how much the people in these jobs will be paid, which, given that restaurant employment is a workers’ market these days, seems to be a significant omission.
But if you’re looking for a job in a Starr restaurant, make sure you get that glass of wine just for saying you’re interested. Otherwise, I think you’re getting robbed.