December 2, 2023

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CEO says restaurants ‘can’t compete’ with ‘virtual working’ trend

CEO says restaurants ‘can’t compete’ with ‘virtual working’ trend

Sergio’s Restaurants president and CEO Carlos Gazitua argued on Wednesday that the food and retail industries “can’t compete” with the new “virtual working” trend.

Speaking on “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Wednesday, he also noted that the new trend has forced his industry to “look at automation and robotics as a tool” to offset pressure. 

The president and CEO of the restaurants serving up Cuban food in Florida stressed that the worker shortage coupled with the new trend has been bad for business and further complicates the situation.

“We’re still 1.5 million shy of a workforce since 2020,” Gazitua said, noting that he also can’t compete with the new remote work trend.

“We just can’t get the workforce back into our industry,” he stressed. 


Earlier this month it was revealed that Americans continued to quit their jobs at a rapid pace in April, emphasizing how persistent turmoil in the labor market has made it difficult for employers to fill open positions.

The Labor Department said 4.4 million Americans, or about 2.9% of the workforce, quit their jobs in April. That’s down slightly from the high of 4.5 million recorded in March, but well above the pre-pandemic level of about 3.6 million.

Meanwhile, the number of job openings fell slightly to 11.4 million by the end of April – the second-highest level on record, but below the upwardly revised figure of 11.8 million in March. There is a gap of roughly 5.46 million between openings and the number of available workers, suggesting the labor market is still extremely tight. That is below the difference of about 5.6 million in March.

The data emphasizes how newly empowered workers are quitting their jobs in favor of better wages, working conditions and hours as businesses lure new workers with higher salaries – a new trend dubbed the “Great Resignation.” As a result, Americans’ incomes are rising across the board as employers have ramped up hiring to offset the losses. 

Remote work

File photo of a remote worker. (Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The highest inflation in decades, however, has eroded the pay gains for many workers: The Labor Department reported last month that average hourly earnings for all employees actually declined 2.6% in April from the same month a year ago when factoring in the impact of rising consumer prices.

The inflation data for May will be released on Friday. 

Gazitua argued that he doesn’t believe the situation will change in the foreseeable future. 

“Right now dishwashers are getting paid $18, $20 an hour [and I] can’t find anyone wanting to come want do that,” he told host Neil Cavuto. 

“We are looking at this as a long-term problem unless a recession hits or we’re seeing people across the borders that are going to get short-term visas to help fill this gap.”

Gazitua went on to say that he thinks “virtual working is here to stay” and noted that working from home saves people money, which is a big enticement.

He argued that remote work coupled with soaring inflation has been contributing to his labor shortage. 


“People are saving money not going into their cars to drive to work for us,” Gazitua said, arguing that the combination of time, convenience and money is proving to be very difficult for the industry.

FOX Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.