Help wanted: Restaurant owner working 115 hours per week
A restaurant owner on the South Shore says he has well-paying positions to offer the right workers - but, he says he can't find any, and as a result, he is working double shifts every day to keep his business afloat.
“I have to work seven days (a week),” said Pierre Ménard, the owner of restaurant Le Célébrité on Tashereau Blvd. in St-Hubert. “I start at 4:45am in the morning and sometimes I finish at around 1am or 2am in the evening.”
During the 115 total hours he worked last week, Ménard played the roles of chef, dishwasher, manager, and administrator, answering phones with one hand, while flipping burgers with the spatula in the other.
He says all the hours are taking a serious toll on his personal life.
“I work with my wife, and that’s the only way we can be together,” he said in an interview with CJAD 800 News. “We don’t have any time for friends.”
The family owned restaurant is trying to fill eight positions, and is offering $18/hour for server and cooking jobs.
But Ménard says he hasn't gotten any bites.
“It’s getting worse and worse every year,” he said. “I’ve been in the restaurant business for 40 years and the last five years have been very hard because we (can’t) find anybody to work.”
Having a short staff hasn’t prevented Ménard and the few dedicated employees that he does have from providing a quality experience to their guests.
“He’s a hard worker, he’s very friendly, he’s a fantastic cook, and he puts up with a lot,” said Linda Govan, a regular customer who spoke with CJAD 800 on Tuesday morning.
Govan and her husband dine at Le Celebrite 2-3 times per week, and applauded Ménard’s hard work and dedication.
“The customers come first,” said Bill Govan. “He’s got a high standard, just the way he works.”
But, Ménard says that high standard isn’t being met but some of the workers he has been able to hire in recent months.
“They don’t want to work Saturday night, they don’t want to work Sunday because they have friends, they have a child,” he said. “I think young people now take their life before work.”
As for when he thinks he’ll get a break, Ménard is unsure if relief will come.
“The only thing I have to do is work and hope somebody is going to come and help me work,” he said.