Restaurants are not having much luck recruiting new help ahead of the statewide lifting of restrictions planned for May 31.By Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While the lifting of mitigation orders is great news for businesses in getting more customers in the door, it could also be a struggle in getting enough employees to serve them.

“It’s been extremely tough,” said Bridgeville Walnut Grille General Manager Brittany Sawyer.

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With capacity limits about to be a thing of the past, restaurants like Walnut Grill in Bridgeville are stepping up their game to try to make sure they are fully staffed and ready to handle the crowds.

“We’ve offered incentives, tried different search engines, job tools, everything like that,” said Sawyer.

However, Sawyer said they haven’t had a lot of luck. About a month ago, they started offering new employees a $100 sign-on bonus, among other things.

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“We also did an employee incentive that if they brought somebody in, they stay for 90 days, they get a $250 bonus in their paycheck,” said Sawyer.

On this Cinco de Mayo, which is the busiest day of the year for nearby Moe’s Southwest Grill, the owner actually had to close his Robinson Township store and bring those workers to the Bridgeville location, because he didn’t have enough staff to run both restaurants. He, too, is now trying to attract employees with incentives.

“We’ve historically given a $2,000 per year tuition reimbursement to any college student. We’ve increased that to $6,000,” said Moe’s Southwest Grille Pittsburgh Franchise Owner Michael Geiger. “We are now offering every employee both new and existing on the anniversary of their hire date after you’ve been with us for one year we will buy you the latest model iPhone.”

Pittsburgh icon Primanti’s is also joining the incentive bandwagon. They’re currently offering a $300 signing bonus for new hires.

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In the meantime, Sawyer is asking everyone to be patient. Once restaurants open to 100% capacity on Memorial Day, service could be a little slower if staffing is still down, but they say they’ll do the best they can to control the flow.