A restaurant owner is paying his teen workers to do their homework before their shifts, in an attempt to retain them during the labor shortage

A waitress cleans a glass
Hospitality businesses have been hit hard by the labor shortage. Westend61/Getty Images
  • An Arkansas restaurant owner is paying his young teen workers to do their homework, KARK reported.
  • The move aims to retain workers amid a nationwide labor shortage in the US.
  • Many business owners have been recruiting minors as a way to tackle the problem.

An Arkansas restaurant owner is giving his student employees an extra hour’s pay to allow them time to do their homework.

The move to retain workers at Xplore Lakeside in Hot Springs Village comes amid the fallout from the ongoing labor shortage.

Owner Greg Jones told KARK, a local news outlet, that its restaurant group is down to about 20 employees and staff have tried everything they can to garner more applications.

“We’ve tried employee referrals, thousands of dollars of online ads and newspapers,” he told the outlet. But nothing seemed to work.

A tight labor market has left many business owners struggling to hire workers. As an alternative, franchisees, including those at McDonald’s and Burger King have begun employing teenagers as young as 14 to fill vacant positions.

Some workers in the retail and restaurant sector who lost jobs during the pandemic have since found new roles elsewhere, or don’t want to go back because they’ve been put off by demanding customers and low pay.

Back in Arkansas, Jones said he too hires many student workers. He told KARK that with more hours added to their schedule, students said it had became difficult to juggle both work and school.

So his executive chef came up with an idea he hoped would encourage more of his employees to stay and also attract new ones.

“I said ‘How about I make you a deal, you guys can sit upstairs for an hour before your shift starts on the clock, do your schoolwork, I’ll feed you and then when you’re done with your hour you can come downstairs’,” the chef told KARK.

He added that the new strategy has already helped the restaurant retain two student employees.

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